Georgia vs Mississippi State Odds, Picks: How to Bet SEC Clash
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett.
Georgia vs Mississippi State Odds
-110o / -110u
|Mississippi State Odds|
-110o / -110u
Georgia heads to Starkville on the heels of a massive, season-defining win over Tennessee to take on a Mississippi State team that just broke a small losing streak with a win over Auburn in overtime.
Kirby Smart’s outfit is the reigning national champions, of course, and squarely in the running for another title this season. The offense has stepped forward from last season’s efforts, and the defense is still excellent, if not historic.
Mississippi State is a classic Mike Leach team: it barely tries to run the ball, and quarterback Will Rogers operates a pure, uncut Air Raid offense.
Defensive coordinator Zach Arnett is well-regarded and has this unit hanging around the top-30 range. However, the team has laid a few eggs on the road and has dropped a few winnable games.
As Stuckey pointed out earlier this week, Mike Leach is 16-7 since 2005 as an underdog of 14 or more.
Should you back Leach with this trend or side with the national champs? Let’s take a deeper look at this battle of Bulldogs.
Georgia’s late-September swoon — defined as beating Kent State by only 17 and Missouri by only four — is now long in the rearview mirror. The champs are ascendant, demolishing Florida and Tennessee in back-to-back contests.
The offense is excellent, even with some depth issues at wide receiver. The Bulldogs don’t create too many explosive plays — only 109th in that metric — but drive the ball (2nd in Success Rate), protect it (15th in Havoc Allowed) and finish drives (6th in Finishing Drives).
The running back rotation is crystallizing, with Daijun Edwards and Kenny McIntosh receiving the lion’s share of carries in recent weeks. Kendall Milton could factor into the picture as well, returning from injury to tote the rock a handful of times against Tennessee.
The backfield might not have the same home run threats of star-studded rosters of recent vintage, but Georgia is second overall in the country in rush success rate and will be perfectly happy to pound the ball.
The pass game has taken a leap this year, with Stetson Bennett’s continued development and the two mutants at tight end. Again, the Success Rate is incredible, ranking first in the country when passing the ball but 124th in explosive pass plays.
This offense won’t look to push the ball down the field, but it moves the chains at will, so it’s hard to argue with results.
The defense is still spectacular, ranking first in defensive SP+. Its performance against Tennessee was one for the ages, completely annihilating a cheat-code offense that had been unstoppable in SEC play.
Defensive lineman Jalen Carter returned from injury last week, and just in time. The all-galaxy interior lineman had a sack and two TFLs and was instrumental in allowing Georgia to whip Tennessee up front — it shut down the running game and pressured Hendon Hooker nonstop — without needing to commit extra numbers to the box.
It’s fair to wonder if Georgia might have reached a level in the last two years where they know they can pick their spots, like a great NBA team. Did the Dawgs need to play their A-game to beat Samford, Kent State and Missouri? No. Did they leave points on the table in September? Probably.
But have they looked like the best team in the country over the past month, as we have approached and now entered the playoff discussion? Absolutely.
The Starkville Bulldogs must feel weird at this point — they're a strong team at 6-3 in the toughest division in the sport and are regarded as a top-30 outfit by advanced metrics.
Yet, somehow, this team might feel like a disappointment.
We saw the Bulldogs' potential in the opening two weeks, as they dismantled game efforts from Memphis and Arizona.
Then they tripped up on the road at LSU, struggling entirely to move the ball. Then they rallied midseason to destroy Arkansas and Texas A&M, then dropped another baffler with a miserable showing against Kentucky with a clearly diminished Will Levis.
They got blown out by Alabama, as is their recent tradition under Leach, then almost frittered away a large lead at home to Auburn, eventually escaping a wild one in overtime.
This team is good. It's had some really strong performances. But it’s also not hard to squint and see some improved efforts and execution that results in an 8-1 record instead of 6-3.
The offense is predictably one-sided for a Mike Leach team. It's dead last in the country in rush rate. It's 40th in Success Rate when it runs passing plays and 130th in explosiveness.
Rogers is the quarterback, a third-year starter as the distributor in this dink-and-dunk directive. Rogers has thrown for 2,912 yards, good for sixth in FBS, and has 26 touchdowns to only five interceptions. He has a multitude of targets, with four receivers over 300 yards and eight over 200.
The defense has been solid. The pass defense is the strength, and it aligns with Georgia’s strengths. Mississippi State is vulnerable to explosive passes, ranking 99th in that metric, but it's good at stopping teams from moving the chains via passing, ranking 13th in Success Rate against the pass.
Georgia would be smart to pass only when necessary. Mississippi State’s porous rush defense ranks 95th in EPA, 81st in Success Rate and 92nd in explosive rushes. Georgia will be able to move the ball at will on the ground.
Georgia vs Mississippi State Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Georgia and Mississippi State match up statistically:
Georgia Offense vs. Mississippi State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Mississippi State Offense vs. Georgia Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||3||28|
|Seconds per Play||28.8 (111)||25.4 (44)|
|Rush Rate||49.8% (90)||31.4% (130)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Georgia vs Mississippi State Betting Pick
Mississippi State is a fine unit but one that's prone to coming out flat and underperforming.
Last week against Auburn, Leach lost his cool with his team’s effort and was seen folding up chairs on the sideline because he thought his team didn’t deserve to sit down when it wasn’t participating.
Of course, the Bulldogs could tap into the same effort they used when they whipped Arkansas and Texas A&M. That unknown is part of the fun of betting on a Leach-coached team.
In addition to effort, I also worry about a one-sided Leach offense against Kirby Smart’s defense. The two have met only once in the SEC — during the COVID-19 season of 2020 — and Georgia won, 31-24.
But Nick Saban has now put three complete shutdowns of this offense on film, and Georgia just showed it has the pieces to demolish a perfectly good passing offense.
Georgia could cover this spread even without those factors — play a clean defensive game, run the hell out of the ball and leave town with, say, a 31-14 win.
When you factor in that Georgia could be ascending into playoff mode, we haven’t seen Kirby take a real crack at this offense the way Saban has, and the inconsistencies of Leach’s teams, I’ll choose to lay the points.
I’ll take Georgia at anything under the key number of 17.