Mississippi State vs. Auburn College Football Odds & Picks: Bo Nix To Lead Tigers Cover

Mississippi State vs. Auburn College Football Odds & Picks: Bo Nix To Lead Tigers Cover article feature image
Credit:

Credit: Wesley Hitt, Getty. Bo Nix runs for a touchdown against Arkansas.

  • Auburn (-5.5) is favored at home on Saturday against Mississippi State.
  • Mike Leach's air raid attack takes on Bo Nix and the Tigers offense.
  • Tanner McGrath breaks down his best bet for the game below.

Mississippi State vs. Auburn Odds

Saturday, Nov. 13
12 p.m. ET
ESPN
Mississippi State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+5.5
-105
50
-110o / -110u
+180
Auburn Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-5.5
-115
50
-110o / -110u
-220
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

This SEC battle will have no shortage of features to watch. From Mike Leach’s air-raid offense to Bo Nix SZN, I’m expect something crazy to happen on Saturday afternoon.

Moreover, both teams are coming off of a loss and swill be hungry to find an SEC win.

Despite their record, however, the Bulldogs have managed to cover in four of their last five games, including an outright win over Texas A&M as seven-point underdogs.

 

Mississippi State Has Efficient Offense

Everyone knows what Leach can do. His teams pass the ball more than any team in the nation (72.5% of plays) but with a very low average depth of target (5.6) and a high completion percentage (74.8%).

I think fans forget how efficient this offensive style is. The Bulldogs feature a true three-down offense which ranks 21st in Standard Downs Success Rate, sixth in Passing Downs Success Rate and ninth in Offensive Success Rate.

The offensive line has been good at protecting Rogers, too. The team ranks sixth in Pass Blocking and 12th in preventing Havoc.

While the defense has been similarly efficient — ranking inside the top 40 in Line Yards, Rush Success Rate and Pass Success Rate — neither unit has translated that success into results.

In the SEC, the Bulldogs rank 12th in points per game (28.0) and ninth in points per game allowed (25.3). State doesn’t bend but they do break, ranking 50th in Finishing Drives on offense and 70th on defense.

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Auburn Will Rely On Nix

This is a talented, well-balanced Auburn team.

The Tigers are the third-best scoring defense in the SEC and rank among the top-30 teams in Rush Success Rate, Line Yards, PFF’s coverage grades and PFF’s tackling grades.

Their issue is on passing plays. The Tigers rank 111th in Defensive Pass Success Rate and 90th in Defensive Passing Downs Success Rate. That doesn’t bode well when matching up against Mississippi State.

Nix is putting together the season of his career, completing more passes than ever (60.3%) for more adjusted yards per attempt than ever (7.0) with a better touchdown-to-interception ratio than ever (9:3).

He also has the support to be successful. The offensive line ranks inside the top 20 in Line Yards and the ground game ranks inside the top 25 in Rush Success Rate.

Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter have driven the attack, compiling close to 1300 yards and 10 touchdowns between them at over six yards per carry.

However, Auburn has struggled against talented defenses. It managed 4.6 yards per play against Penn State, 4.4 against Georgia and 3.2 against Texas A&M.

The Tigers should have an easier time against the Bulldogs this week.


Mississippi State vs. Auburn Matchup Analysis

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

Mississippi State Offense vs. Auburn Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 112 23
Line Yards 76 22
Pass Success 9 111
Pass Blocking** 6 30
Big Play 37 92
Havoc 12 54
Finishing Drives 50 31
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Auburn Offense vs. Mississippi State Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 23 36
Line Yards 19 39
Pass Success 67 25
Pass Blocking** 32 95
Big Play 25 43
Havoc 10 94
Finishing Drives 54 70
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 54 27
Coverage 38 28
Middle 8 66 91
SP+ Special Teams 124 24
Plays per Minute 93 42
Rush Rate 28.4% (130) 49.8% (98)

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


Mississippi State vs. Auburn Betting Pick

Nix is college football’s big mystery. He plays like Cam Newton at times and like Kodi Burns at others.

The key to the puzzle might be location. Here are Nix’s home/road splits as the Auburn QB:

  • Home: 63.1% completion, 7.7 YPA, 21:2 TD-to-INT, 141.5 Rate, 3.9 YPC, 11 Rush TDs
  • Road: 55.5% completion, 5.8 YPA, 12:12 TD-to-INT, 107.6 Rate, 2.7 YPC, 7 Rush TDs

When Nix goes, this whole offense tends to go. In losses, Nix has a 54.7% completion percentage and a 6:12 touchdown-to-interception ratio, but those numbers jump to 63.1% and 31:4 in wins.

Predictably, the offense performs well at home. In Nix’s career, Auburn is 10-6 ATS in home games and 7-6 ATS in road games.

If Nix plays well, as I expect him to, Auburn should drop 35 on the Bulldogs’ below-average scoring defense.

Auburn covers this number, though I wouldn’t play the Tigers at a touchdown or more.

Pick: Auburn -5.5 (-105 | Play to -6.5)

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