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Arkansas vs. Mississippi State Odds, Picks: Betting Value on Over/Under

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Photo by Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Caleb Ducking & Jamire Calvin (Mississippi State)

  • The Arkansas Razorbacks take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs in Saturday SEC college football action.
  • The line has been moving toward the Bulldogs all week, and they're now -9.5 favorites, according to updated odds.
  • Check out Tanner McGrath's full betting analysis and pick for Arkansas vs. Mississippi State below.

Arkansas vs. Mississippi State Odds

Saturday, Oct. 8
12 p.m. ET
SEC Network
Arkansas Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+9.5
-110
57.5
-110o / -110u
+275
Mississippi State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-9.5
-110
57.5
-110o / -110u
-350
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

This was going to be an awesome game. I took win totals over on both of these SEC teams entering the season. This was going to be a big-time showdown.

Unfortunately, quarterback KJ Jefferson is likely out due to a concussion. The Hogs are coming off back-to-back tough losses. There were injuries in the secondary the week before they have to play Mike Leach’s Air Raid offensive attack.

The spread has been steamed up over nine points because of the news. This has turned from an incredible matchup to a potential blowout.

But we know that Sammy “Covers” Pittman is 11-5 ATS coaching as an underdog. Arkansas will not lie down.

All that being said, which team has the edge?


Arkansas Razorbacks

The season-ending injury to safety Jalen Catalon could prove catastrophic.

The Razorbacks were already 123rd in PFF’s Tackling grades and 124th in PFF’s Coverage grades. They’re allowing a whopping 290 passing yards per game, the fifth-worst in the nation.

Arkansas is also dead last in Explosiveness Allowed and 101st in Passing Downs Success Rate Allowed.

None of this bodes well against Leach’s offense.

For what it’s worth, Arkansas has been impressive in forcing Passing Downs. The Razorbacks’ defense is forcing Passing Downs on 37% of snaps, which is 13th in the nation.

Arkansas just can’t stop them. The Razorbacks are 108th in opponent third-down conversion rate (46.2%).

This doesn’t even bring into account the offense, which would be in massive trouble if Jefferson is out.

We’ll likely see backup quarterback Cade Fortin, a three-star (per 247) or four-star (per ESPN) recruit out of Georgia who originally committed to North Carolina but transferred to Arkansas from South Florida, surprisingly as a walk-on.

Fortin hasn’t played much, but we know he’s got a half-decent arm and is a dual-threat quarterback himself.

If Jefferson can play, or Fortin ends up being a solid quarterback, this Bulldogs defense is exploitable. Plus, whoever plays should have plenty of time to run or throw behind an offensive line that’s 24th in Line Yards and fourth in PFF’s Pass Blocking grades.


Mississippi State Bulldogs

I love Will Rogers.

Rogers is in the third year of Leach’s system and is thriving. Both his 7.3 YPA and his 6.3:1 TD-to-INT ratio (19 TDs, 3 INTs) would be career highs. He’s on pace to throw for 4,500 yards and almost 50 touchdowns.

Those numbers will inevitably regress toward the mean, especially as the Bulldogs face more SEC defenses.

But it doesn’t take away from how impressive this start has been.

Mississippi State should be able to take advantage of the Arkansas defense. The Air Raid has always been uber-efficient in Standard Downs, and that story is the same this year (22nd in Success Rate, seventh in percentage of plays in Standard Downs).

But now Rogers can do this:

Will Rogers can fill it up through the air 😮‍💨 pic.twitter.com/EW64UsgTQl

— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) October 1, 2022

And the Bulldogs will take advantage of the Razorbacks’ deficiencies against explosive passing plays.

The defense is the issue, though. Mississippi State is very weak in the front seven. The Bulldogs rank outside the top 100 in Rush Success Rate Allowed, Defensive Line Yards and Pass Rush. They also rank 85th in PFF’s Tackling grades.

This would be a much bigger problem against Jefferson — although Fortin is nearly as big (6-foot-3, 223 pounds).

The Bulldogs’ secondary is actually good. They lost just one starter, returned two-time All-SEC cornerback Emmanuel Forbes and added three impact transfers. The Bulldogs are 15th in PFF’s Coverage grades as a result.

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Arkansas vs. Mississippi State Matchup Analysis

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

Arkansas Offense vs. Mississippi State Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 69 99
Line Yards 24 99
Pass Success 47 41
Pass Blocking** 4 123
Havoc 62 76
Finishing Drives 59 93
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Mississippi State Offense vs. Arkansas Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 83 95
Line Yards 41 108
Pass Success 13 37
Pass Blocking** 35 27
Havoc 67 28
Finishing Drives 11 35
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 123 85
PFF Coverage 124 15
SP+ Special Teams 100 7
Seconds per Play 23.8 (23) 27.4 (86)
Rush Rate 65.7% (6) 32.5% (130)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Arkansas vs. Mississippi State Betting Pick

Fortin may have some upside, but this is still a non-scholarship quarterback on his third school.

I don’t know how much you can expect out of him, especially through the air against a good secondary.

On the other side, Mississippi State isn’t going to play fast. The Bulldogs are 86th in seconds per play and despite Rogers’ ability to throw the deep ball, the Bulldogs still want to keep it underneath, only ranking 126th in Passing Explosiveness.

The under continues to take sharp money and is dropping considerably. We’re in for a lower-scoring game, and I’d play the under at 58 or better.

Pick: Under 58.5 (Play to 58)

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