Mississippi State vs. Alabama Betting Odds & Picks: Expect Plenty of Points in SEC Showdown
Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images. Pictured: Bryce Young (Alabama)
- Mike Leach and the Mississippi State Bulldogs travel to Tuscaloosa to take on Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday night.
- The Crimson Tide are looking to take out their frustration as three-touchdown favorites after losing to Tennessee last week.
- Read on for Cooper Van Tatenhove's full betting preview and pick for Mississippi State vs. Alabama.
Mississippi State vs. Alabama Odds
Bryant-Denny Stadium is the site of a matchup between two SEC West opponents coming off losing efforts as road favorites last week.
Alabama looks to rebound from a shocking last-minute defeat to Tennessee while Mississippi State is looking for answers after only scoring 17 points against Kentucky.
Despite a loss in Week 7, Alabama still controls its own destiny en route to another trip to the SEC Championship game.
Nick Saban has never lost two games in a row and will look to extend his 14-game winning streak against Mississippi State on Saturday night.
On the other side, Mississippi State is only 6-7 when coming off a loss under Mike Leach.
How both teams perform in this matchup will do a lot to determine the trajectory both teams will be on for the remainder of the season.
After putting together impressive wins against Texas A&M and Arkansas, Mississippi State hit a bump in the road last week against Kentucky.
Defensively, the Bulldogs were outmatched up front and gave up five yards per rush for a total of 239 yards.
The inability to stop the run is nothing new for a Bulldogs team that ranks outside the top 100 in Rushing Success and Line Yards.
However, Mississippi State has been able to make up for this inefficiency with its passing game. The Bulldogs rank 17th nationally in Passing Success Rate at 48.2% and as a result, Will Rogers ranks third in the country in passing yards.
It has been blatantly apparent that this Mississippi State strength is also where Alabama has shown to be the weakest defensively. The Crimson Tide give up a 1.46 Explosiveness ranking against the pass on defense.
Additionally, Alabama ranks 123rd in the country in percentage of yards gained on first and second down, a statistic Mississippi State ranks 40th in offensively.
This tendency to give up explosive plays early in possessions is a weakness for Alabama that Leach and his Air Raid offensive will be able to exploit.
Alabama's lack of continuity in the secondary was on full display last week as it gave up 385 yards through the air.
Even though much of the conversation will be about what Mississippi State will look to do through the air, the Bulldogs have also been able to supplement their passing attack on the ground this season.
The Bulldogs rank inside the top 30 in both Rushing Success and Line Yards. This balanced attack has made Mississippi State an extremely efficient offense.
The Bulldogs have averaged 4.9 points per scoring opportunity, which has resulted in them being ranked 11th nationally in Finishing Drives.
Look for the Bulldogs to have a some offensive success against Alabama, a team that has given up at least 20 points to each of its past three SEC opponents.
There is no one better in the country at bouncing back from a loss than Saban, who is 9-1 in his career following a loss in the regular season.
At the forefront of Saban’s coaching this week will have to be penalties. The Tide rank No. 1 in the country in penalties and have racked up 66 total, including 17 in last week’s loss.
Those penalties negate a lot of the impressive things the Tide have been able to put together this year, particularly on offense.
Even with its rate of penalty yards, Alabama still has an offense that ranks 24th nationally in Success Rate at 45.8% and 18th in Passing Success.
The Tide have been consistently effective through the air, positing a 44% Success Rate on passing downs to go with a 1.62 Explosiveness ranking passing.
What should truly worry Mississippi State defensive coordinator Zach Arnett is Alabama's ability to also have success on the ground.
The Crimson Tide have been able to average 1.5 second-level yards per rush with an additional 2.9 open-field yards per rush. This successful ground attack can be attributed to the success of their offensive line and unique rushing ability of quarterback Bryce Young.
Alabama should be able to run the ball early and often to balance out its already successful passing game against Mississippi State.
Mississippi State ranks 86th nationally in Defensive Success Rate against the run. Additionally, the Bulldogs rank outside the top 90 in EPA/Rush on defense. These statistical shortcomings will be a welcome sight for Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.
Mississippi State vs. Alabama Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Mississippi State and Alabama match up statistically:
Mississippi State Offense vs. Alabama Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Alabama Offense vs. Mississippi State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||7||21|
|Seconds per Play||26.9 (75)||26.0 (58)|
|Rush Rate||33.3% (130)||51.7% (77)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Mississippi State vs. Alabama Betting Pick
This matchup is strength on strength when you look at the offensive side of the ball. Mississippi State has the passing game necessary to put stress on an already exposed Crimson Tide secondary.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs will be out-matched up front, which will result in another balanced and efficient performance from Young and the Alabama offense.
I don't believe Mississippi State will ultimately be able to match the production of the Alabama offense. However, I do think the Bulldogs will take advantage of a Crimson Tide defense that is still licking its wounds and help put this game over the total of 60.5.