Mississippi State vs. Georgia Odds and Pick: How to Bet This Large SEC Spread on Saturday (Nov. 21)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Stetson Bennett.
- Stetson Bennett and the Georgia Bulldogs will host KJ Costello and the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday. In a battle of SEC bulldogs, which team will have the upper hand?
- Roberto Arguello breaks it down with a betting pick and updated odds below.
Mississippi State vs. Georgia Odds
|Mississippi State Odds||+24.5 [BET NOW]|
|Georgia Odds||-24.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||N/A [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||44.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
Mississippi State travels to Athens on Saturday to take on Georgia in the SEC’s battle of bulldogs.
Georgia sits as massive 25-point favorites as it looks to bounce back after a cancellation and a 44-28 loss at home to Florida. Mississippi State won its first game since Week 1 against Vanderbilt in its outing but is also coming off a cancellation last week.
With quarterback uncertainty for both teams and potential rust from missing action last week, you should take the points and Mississippi State to cover on the road.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
Mississippi State started the season with an impressive 44-34 win over LSU in Death Valley, as Stanford graduate transfer KJ Costello threw for an SEC record 623 yards. It has been downhill since then, though, as the Bulldogs went 0-4 in October before beating winless Vanderbilt in their last game two weeks ago.
Costello was injured at Alabama on Oct. 31 and should make his return on Saturday after missing the Vanderbilt game. However, even when Costello was healthy, freshman Will Rogers split reps with him at quarterback in three straight games. I expect both players to see snaps this week.
LSU played man defense and was torched by Costello in the SEC’s first week. Since then, the vast majority of defensive snaps in each game have featured zone coverage with just a three-man rush against head coach Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense. Mississippi State has scored over 14 points just once in those five games — it scored 24 against Vanderbilt with the help of two turnovers inside the 30-yard line.
Mississippi State not only will face a talented Georgia team on Saturday, but it also has to overcome 14 transfers and four opt-outs. Some notable opt-outs who have meaningfully contributed include running back Kylin Hill, defensive lineman Nathan Pickering and safety Marcus Murphy. This leaves Mississippi State with just under 65 players on the roster.
Despite the struggles on offense, Mississippi State’s defense has impressed this season. It enters this game third in yards allowed per game among SEC defenses and has allowed over 28 points just once (against Alabama) since Week 1.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has noted this tendency among Mississippi State’s opponents to play zone, but he insists that his team will stick to its own style of defense as a staunch supporter of man-to-man coverage. Smart wants to keep the offense guessing as to whether or not up to six pass-rushers will be coming on any given play.
Georgia will need players to step up with All-SEC-caliber defensive lineman Jordan Davis and defensive back Richard LeCounte both out this week.
Georgia has dominated most teams in the SEC thus far but has been swept in its two top-tier matchups against Florida and Alabama. The Bulldogs have been elite defensively but were overmatched in those two games. Additionally, Georgia’s offense hasn’t shown the firepower necessary to compete with the SEC’s elite.
After Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman opted out of the season in early September, Georgia has rotated through a quarterback carousel. Freshman D’Wan Mathis started the opener but was benched as junior college transfer Stetson Bennett stepped up and impressed against Arkansas.
Bennett impressed with a QBR over 88 in his first three appearances (50 is average), understandably dropped his QBR to 61 at Alabama and now has struggled in his last two starts with a QBR under 35 against Kentucky and Florida. Bennett suffered a shoulder injury against Florida, and his status for Saturday against Mississippi State is unknown.
Regardless, it appears that Georgia’s other transfer quarterback, former five-star recruit JT Daniels from USC, is in line to make his first start.
Daniels suffered an ACL injury in Week 1 of 2019, and then-freshman Kedon Slovis stepped up and claimed his starting role in Los Angeles. It’s unclear why Daniels has yet to throw a pass in a Georgia game, but many believe he was still working back into form after the injury and is finally physically ready to play.
Betting Analysis & Pick
While Georgia should easily win this game, it’s beneficial to take the 25 points and run with Mississippi State, which has featured strong defense all season. I like its chances of slowing down Georgia’s rushing offense to force the quarterbacks to beat it.
Daniels was a highly-touted recruit, but his play as a freshman (albeit on a coaching staff that was promptly fired after the season) was disappointing. He hasn’t played in a game in over a year and has played just one game in 20 months.
I expect Daniels to be somewhat rusty and am not sure the offense is tailored to his strengths — the offense was designed with a running quarterback in mind (Jamie Newman), and Daniels may be hesitant to run the football coming off such a serious injury.
Furthermore, if Georgia does anything other than sit back and drop eight defensively against a poor Mississippi State offensive line, it will be a gift for Leach’s team. Costello has as big an arm as anyone in the country and boasts the ability to make all the throws when he sees someone open, but he struggles to read defenses well and make decisions accordingly.
If Georgia plays man against Costello, his level of play will rise. The absences of LeCounte and Davis defensively will be further exacerbated if Georgia does so, as well.
I will gladly take the 25 points and run with Mississippi State’s defense and hope that the offense can provide some scoring. This is just too many points to lay with a Georgia offense that hasn’t proven it can beat good defenses.
Pick: Mississippi State +25 (down to +24)