Liberty vs. Ole Miss Odds, Picks, Predictions: College Football Betting Guide to The Hugh Freeze Game

Liberty vs. Ole Miss Odds, Picks, Predictions: College Football Betting Guide to The Hugh Freeze Game article feature image
Credit:

James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: Hugh Freeze.

  • Ole Miss faces Liberty and a familiar face in Hugh Freeze on Saturday.
  • The Rebels' offense is explosive, while the last high-major game the Flames played, they nearly beat Syracuse on the road.
  • Collin Wilson previews the game and offers up his best bet.

Liberty vs. Ole Miss Odds

Saturday, Nov. 6
12 p.m. ET
SEC Network
Liberty Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+9.5
-115
66.5
-115o / -105u
+280
Ole Miss Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-9.5
-105
66.5
-115o / -105u
-365
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Vaught-Hemingway Stadium could be the scene for fire and brimstone in a Sodom and Gomorrah-type act when ex-Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze returns to town to face his former team.

While the SEC fan base quickly uses the phrase, “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’,” Freeze took his role as a head coach in the biggest conference to a level that reaches levels not seen since the days of Hosea and Gomer.

In July 2017, Freeze resigned after the athletic director leaked that he had used a school-provided cell phone to call numbers associated with female escorts.

This information was exposed because of a lawsuit former coach Houston Nutt had filed for a smear campaign in his departure. This sequence of events put an end to a crescendo of what Ole Miss had done on the field, beating Alabama during the regular season twice and making four straight post-season appearances, including a Sugar Bowl victory.

Freeze has since become a self-proclaimed reborn Christian while making waves with the Liberty football program. The school moved from FCS to FBS in 2017 and has deep pockets to continue ongoing facility upgrades while maintaining a high-quality coaching staff.

Still, the storylines never end when it comes to Freeze. A herniated disk in 2019 had the head coach calling plays from a hospital bed in the press box.

Coaching from a hospital bed, @CoachHughFreeze gets @LibertyFootball fired up to take on @CuseFootball. #TougherTogether pic.twitter.com/f5IPQmESpZ

— Game On LU (@GameOnLU) August 31, 2019

Freeze will return to town to take on the Rebels under new management with Lane Kiffin.

After a brutal schedule in the month of October, the Rebels took a loss at Auburn in Week 9. The defeat moved Ole Miss out of the New Year’s Six and the Duke’s Mayo Bowl in Brett McMurphy’s most recent bowl projections.

The injury status of several key players will be the handicap in this game, as Matt Corral did not practice on Monday. A trio of starting wide receivers was unavailable during various parts of the Auburn loss, while half of the offensive line deals with injury.

With Ole Miss staring at Texas A&M in Week 11, this game sets up perfectly for the Hugh Freeze redemption story.


Liberty Flames

Isaiah 44:22 may be specific to the current state of Freeze, saying,

“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”

The verse isn’t so much about a redemption tour for Freeze, but for the Liberty offense.

In 2020, the Flames did not lose a game until the week of Thanksgiving but have suffered two losses to Syracuse and Louisiana Monroe already this season.

The main culprit has been Havoc allowed.

Incredible. pic.twitter.com/s8QQ5NfSWn

— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) October 17, 2021

The Liberty offensive line had issues in 2020 with tackles for loss allowed, and those have continued throughout this season.

Pressure allowed has made a steep jump from 18% to 33% over the past year.

Quarterback Malik Willis threw an uncharacteristic six interceptions in back-to-back weeks against Middle Tennessee and UL-Monroe. Willis is still one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, averaging 5.5 yards after contact and creating 55 missed tackles this season.

On top of the ground game, Willis has already exceeded his 2020 total for passing touchdowns.

Malik Willis DIME 🎯

QB1 in 2022 Draft? 🤔pic.twitter.com/ao8cTIuwaM

— PFF (@PFF) October 30, 2021

While the offensive line is the handicap for Liberty on one side of the ball, defending the trench has been an issue on the defensive side. The Flames rank 51st in Defensive Rushing Success Rate and 82nd in Line Yards.

Liberty runs a strict 4-2-5 defense under defensive coordinator Scott Symons. Led by linebacker Storey Jackson, the Flames blitz on just 17% of snaps. Liberty does have a rank in the top 25 in opponent third-down conversions, playing stellar defense in passing downs.

Symons mentioned that the ability to eliminate extended plays by Corral is the biggest key to the defensive game plan.

The Flames defense is top-10 in Passing Success Rate and Havoc, which may lead to a heavy dose of the Ole Miss rushing attack. Liberty will be undersized against an SEC offensive line, but stopping the rush is a must if it wants to pull off the outright upset.

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Ole Miss Rebels

Head coach Lane Kiffin is well aware of how prepared the Ole Miss roster must before this non-SEC game. He described his battles against Freeze when Kiffin served as offensive coordinator at Alabama, praising his opposition for being fresh and ready on game day.

Although Kiffin has had brief interactions with Freeze, his brother worked as an assistant under Freeze at Ole Miss and is vital in understanding how Liberty will prepare for this game.

The status of Corral will be the story heading into Saturday, as the one-time Heisman frontrunner was injured against Auburn and carted off the field only to return to the game in the second half.

Kiffin understood that Corral’s competitiveness is what led to the quarterback’s return, but that’s not always a good characteristic in terms of health in the long term.

The Matt Corral leg injury at Auburn pic.twitter.com/WfLN4CJquJ

— Patrick Greenfield (@PCGreenfield) October 30, 2021

Backup freshman Luke Altmyer came in relief of Corral and fired off a perfect 5-of-5 passes for just 18 yards. None of the passes were beyond nine yards or logged as turnover-worthy plays. As for Altmyer’s wheels, only one scramble attempt produced eight yards.

The freshman is expected to get the bulk of the snaps behind an offensive line that ranks 29th in pass blocking.

With a handful of wide receivers hobbled with injury, it’s safe to assume this game falls on the ground with Jerrion Ealy and Snoop Conner.

Snoop Conner for the 13 yard TD.

His 10th rushing TD on the season pic.twitter.com/9GxVKNIXMj

— TeeJay (@TJOxley1) October 31, 2021

The Ole Miss offense is looking to expose the undersized front seven of Liberty through the run game, but the defense must step up in this nonconference game.

Ole Miss continues to struggle on defense in Success Rate, more so on the ground with a rank of 119th against the rush and a mark of 110th in Line Yards.

More importantly, teams are pushing the Rebels to the red zone and scoring as many points as possible. In 31 red-zone scores against Ole Miss, 26 have been touchdowns. That’s a bad combination against a Liberty offense that ranks sixth in Finishing Drives.


Liberty vs. Ole Miss Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Liberty and Ole Miss match up statistically:

Liberty Offense vs. Ole Miss Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 21 119
Line Yards 12 110
Pass Success 14 92
Pass Blocking** 33 68
Big Play 76 81
Havoc 68 94
Finishing Drives 6 100
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Ole Miss Offense vs. Liberty Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 1 51
Line Yards 5 82
Pass Success 28 7
Pass Blocking** 29 14
Big Play 5 85
Havoc 31 6
Finishing Drives 26 37
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 56 72
Coverage 33 44
Middle 8 10 67
SP+ Special Teams 97 26
Plays per Minute 96 2
Rush Rate 59.4% (35) 59.2% (37)

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


Liberty vs. Ole Miss Betting Pick

Both teams are going to pick up large gains on the ground. There’s no answer in the Liberty front seven for Conner and Ealy, but the Flames have been above average against the explosive run and rank 37th in Defensive Finishing Drives.

The handicap in this game comes down to whether or not Liberty’s offensive attack can keep this a one-possession game.

The weakness of the Flames is the offensive line, but the Ole Miss defensive line is 68th in pass rush and 43rd in Stuff Rate. Without an intimidating defensive interior, Willis will be able to make plays for Liberty.

The Action Network projection makes the side Ole Miss -10 and the total 68.5, both in line with the current market offering.

Liberty is one of the best teams in the nation in putting points on the board in scoring opportunities, but the lack of defense for Ole Miss in the red zone is the difference-maker here.

With Corral questionable for this game and Texas A&M on deck, there’s no reason to think that Altmyer couldn’t get the start for the Rebels. This is not a Flames secondary that Kiffin will want to test with a freshman quarterback.

If there’s anything to learn from the book of Hosea, it’s that the Lord loves all of his children just like we gamblers love to bet on all 130 of our expanding FBS teams.

Look to take Liberty and the points, backing Hugh Freeze in his biblical-esque return to Oxford.

Pick: Liberty +9 or Better

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