Auburn vs. Mississippi State Odds & Picks: Bet Bulldogs To Keep Things Close in Saturday Battle
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Gus Malzahn )left) and Zakoby McClain (right).
- The Auburn Tigers (5-4) travel to Starkville on Saturday to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs (2-6).
- Despite their last-place standing in the SEC West, the Bulldogs have played their best stretch of football in the last three games under head coach Mike Leach.
- Mike Bainbridge previews Saturday's matchup and gives his betting pick below.
Auburn vs. Mississippi State Odds
|Auburn Odds||-6.5 [BET NOW]|
|Mississippi State Odds||+6.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-245/+195 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||49.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Thursday at 9:45 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today.|
If there is a coach in college football that desperately needs a win, it’s Guz Malzahn. His Auburn Tigers (5-4) travel to Starkville to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs (2-6) in a key Saturday contest.
Losers of two consecutive games, Malzahn is facing a .500 record with a loss that will not bode well for his standing with the Auburn faithful, despite winning two-thirds of the games he has coached at Auburn.
A loss to a 2-6 rebuilding team with a first-year head coach would likely further the conversation the school’s administration is likely having about his $21.5 million buyout.
Despite their last-place standing in the SEC West and back-to-back losses, the Bulldogs have played their best stretch of football in the last three games under head coach Mike Leach.
With the youth movement taking over and some disgruntled veterans no longer with the team, it appears as though the pirate ship is now back on course for Leach, even though the wins haven’t come just yet.
The Tigers are littered with injuries to some key components on both sides of the ball. Neither offensive tackle is 100 percent, and it has already been confirmed they will be without Alec Jackson for a second consecutive week. The same goes for running backs Tank Bigsby and D.J. Williams, who are limited, though expected to play, per Malzahn.
That will put more on the shoulders of quarterback Bo Nix, who was far from perfect last week against Texas A&M. However, he was one of the main reasons the Tigers were in the contest, scoring a pair of rushing touchdowns.
Nix should find success against this Mississippi State secondary that ranks 79th in coverage, according to Pro Football Focus, and 11th in the SEC, allowing 273 yards per game through the air.
Defensively, the Tigers will again be without linebacker K.J. Britt, and nickelback Christian Tutt is questionable after being limited in practice all week but is expected to travel with the team.
Auburn has been gashed on the ground of late, allowing over five yards per attempt in each of the last three games, but that shouldn’t be much of a deterrent against an MSU team that simply doesn’t run the ball.
This has been a different MSU team since the proposed “roster purge” suggested by Leach after the 41-0 blowout loss to Alabama back on Halloween.
The Bulldogs followed that up with a win against Vanderbilt before narrow losses to Georgia and Ole Miss in which Mississippi State had chances to win both in the fourth quarter.
Turning to freshman quarterback Will Rogers has paid dividends during that stretch. He is completing more than 73% of his passes, with five touchdowns in the last three games. More importantly, he has zero interceptions.
If there are yards to be had against this Auburn defense, it is through the air, where the Tigers defense ranks 111th in Passing Success Rate and has allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete more than 65% of their throws.
Auburn has been good at defending the deep ball — only allowing 12 passing plays of 30 yards or more — but that isn’t much of a concern against an Air Raid offense that will methodically move the ball down the field with the short passing game.
On defense, the Bulldogs are stout against the run, allowing just 3.28 yards per carry. Senior linebacker Erroll Thompson leads with a team-high 74 tackles, with five games of 10 or more.
Betting Analysis & Pick
This is a classic case of siding with motivation here.
You have an Auburn team beaten soundly in its last two games, with a head coach on the hot seat, facing a hungry Mississippi State team still fighting for a bowl berth with a number of their younger players now in prominent roles.
Auburn has defeated three teams by more than a touchdown, but the previous time was on Nov. 21 against Tennessee in a game that was at home and featured a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown.
The Tigers were actually outgained in total yards by a considerable margin that day, too. Back the Bulldogs keeping this contest close at home and possibly winning outright.
Pick: Mississippi State +6.5.