College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Kentucky vs Mississippi State: Betting Guide to SEC Clash

College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Kentucky vs Mississippi State: Betting Guide to SEC Clash article feature image

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  • Kentucky and Mississippi State duel in an SEC clash.
  • Mark Stoops has never beat Mississippi State in Starksville.
  • Keg breaks down the game and offers up his pick.

Kentucky vs. Mississippi State Odds

Saturday, Oct. 30
7 p.m. ET
SEC Network
Kentucky Odds
-105o / -115u
Mississippi State Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Growing up an SEC fan, specifically a Kentucky fan, you're told everything means more in the SEC. But you're told even more how much stronger the SEC West is than the East, and no SEC West fan will let you forget it.

Saturday could potentially set up as a significant talking point for that crowd as Kentucky — at the peak of its best start since the 1950s — heads to Starkville to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs in what has been a down year for the program.

Kentucky is coming off a much-needed bye week following a tough, physical loss to Georgia, the current best team in the country.

However, I doubt there was much relaxation for the Cats as they will look to do something that they haven't done since 2008, and something Mark Stoops has never done: beat Mississippi State in Starkville.

This is a big part of why this spread is so close in my opinion. Kentucky has been dominant against everyone except Georgia, but something about playing in Starkville has plagued Stoops even in his best years.

Will this be the year Stoops finally gets past the Bulldogs in Starkville?

Kentucky Wildcats

Kentucky Offense

Will Levis has 1,327 passing yards (189.6 yards per game), is completing 67.2% of his passes and has tossed 13 touchdown passes and six interceptions this season.

He's also helped out on the ground with 175 rushing yards (25.0 YPG) on 50 carries and three rushing touchdowns.

The most crucial part of this game for Levis will be preventing turnovers — he doesn't need to set career highs and complete 90% of his passes to beat the Bulldogs, but interceptions will lose this game for the Cats.

Kentucky ranks 26th in the country in rushing yards per game (205) and is 17th in the country in yards per carry (5.4).

While the stats on paper indicate the Bulldogs are one of the best against the run, it's important to look at who they've played. The closest team to Kentucky that the Bulldogs have seen was Texas A&M and in that game, State allowed them to record 5.06 yards per carry and 162 total rushing yards.

That is without mentioning that quarterback Zach Calzada was still learning the offense.

With elite running backs Chris Rodriguez Jr. and Kavosiey Smoke, look for this Kentucky rushing attack to give the Bulldogs problems.

Kentucky Defense

The Kentucky defense has been one of the best in the country, limiting opponents to just 318 yards and 18 points per game.

However, its strong suit has been stopping the run, which won't mean much this week against a Mississippi State team that only rushes the ball on 24% of its plays.

The Wildcats will need to stop State via their secondary, which they have the ability to do. Kentucky ranks second in the country in Passing Down Explosiveness Allowed.

Their most significant risk will be in the Success Rate. If the Bulldogs can achieve first downs while moving the ball, it will spell a long day for Kentucky.

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Mississippi State Bulldogs

Mississippi State Offense

Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers has completed 73.5% of passes for 2,546 yards with 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions. It's worth noting, five of those picks have been thrown in the past two games.

With an Air Raid attack, the running game is almost non-existent for the Bulldogs. Their lead rusher has only recorded 207 yards on the ground so far this season and as a team, they have just 341 yards on the ground.

Mississippi State Defense

The Bulldogs' defense is giving up an average of 93 rush yards per game, but as I stated earlier, I think those numbers are somewhat skewed. They gave up 150+ to both Alabama and A&M.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs' defense is giving up 234 yards through the air, with their secondary totaling seven interceptions on the season.

Kentucky vs. Mississippi State Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Kentucky and Mississippi State match up statistically:

Kentucky Offense vs. Mississippi State Defense
Rush Success4127
Line Yards525
Pass Success8029
Pass Blocking**8102
Big Play3943
Finishing Drives659
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Mississippi State Offense vs. Kentucky Defense
Rush Success11153
Line Yards5538
Pass Success10115
Pass Blocking**975
Big Play7173
Finishing Drives5374
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling2887
Middle 87492
SP+ Special Teams63110
Plays per Minute10479
Rush Rate58.5% (40)24.9% (130)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

Kentucky vs. Mississippi State Betting Pick

Kentucky is not only 0-4 at Mississippi State under Stoops, but it has been outscored, 143-58.

Stoops is 1-2 vs. MSU in games immediately after bye weeks. The last time the Cats faced MSU after a bye, Kentucky was obliterated, 45-7, in 2017.

Kentucky is 6-1 due mainly to an excellent defense, allowing just 196.9 passing yards per game. That's a number I believe it'll be able to achieve or better this week in Starkville.

This Kentucky team is one of the best, not only that Stoops has had, but one of the best in the school's history. It's good enough to overcome the Bulldogs in Starkville finally.

I have Kentucky ML at -110 and would bet it up to -125. If it gets higher than that, I feel comfortable on the spread as high as -2.5 (-105).

Given Stoops' history in Starkville, I feel much more comfortable leaving points out of this one if at all possible.

Pick: Kentucky ML -125 or better

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