Mississippi State vs LSU Odds, Prediction & Picks | Saturday SEC Betting Guide
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: LSU’s Jayden Daniels.
Mississippi State vs LSU Odds
The 2023 season did not start off as expected for LSU as it suffered a blowout loss in Camping World Stadium to Florida State. The Tigers carried a lead into the second half, only to see the Seminoles bully their way to 21 points in the fourth quarter for a comfortable 45-24 victory.
LSU regrouped with a 72-10 rout of Grambling State in Week 2.
Mississippi State entered the season with the lowest expectations of all teams in the SEC West because head coach Zach Arnett implemented a change in offensive philosophy. After spending years in Mike Leach's Air Raid scheme, the Bulldogs now run the ball as much as any other team at 63% of all snaps.
Miss State dominated Southeastern Louisiana in the opener before needing overtime to beat Arizona in Starkville in Week 2.
With two games in their new offensive system under their belt, the Bulldogs will look to ramp up the intensity against a Tigers team looking to start conference play on a high note.
Find a betting pick, preview and prediction for LSU vs Mississippi State below.
New Mississippi State offensive coordinator Kevin Barbay had previous stops at Appalachian State, Central Michigan and Stephen F. Austin. Each of those programs utilized a heavy rush attack, similar to what Mississippi State has displayed through two games this season.
The Bulldogs averaged just 4.3 yards per play on rushing attempts versus Arizona, recording only one explosive run in the process. Jo'Quavious Marks has been the bell cow with 24 rushes for 123 yards against the Wildcats.
Despite the change in scheme, quarterback Will Rogers has been fantastic through two games.
— Mississippi State Football (@HailStateFB) September 10, 2023
Rogers has thrown five touchdowns and no interceptions this season, posting just a single turnover-worthy play. Receiver Lideatrick "Tulu" Griffin has been the most dangerous weapon on the team with 11 targets and 4.1 yards per route run.
Despite the scheme change, Mississippi State is still a low-risk offense similar to that of the Air Raid era, continuing to rank among the top 30 in Havoc Allowed. However, ranks of 16th in Offensive Quality Drives and 48th in Finishing Drives indicate there have been points left on the table for the Bulldogs offense.
Arnett is in his second season calling the 3-3-5 scheme in Starkville, and the Bulldogs have been excellent in creating chaos by ranking ninth in Havoc, thanks to 14 passes defensed and 12 tackles for loss.
Linebacker Jett Johnson has been clutch, leading the team in tackles and trailing only Nathaniel Watson in creating pressures.
Mississippi State ranks 14th in hard-stop rate, an indicator of defensive domination by causing a turnover, creating a three-and-out or obtaining a fourth-down stop.
The LSU offense and defense have been on different paths through eight quarters this season. The good is wrapped up into an offense that's among the top 20 in Havoc Allowed, Quality Drives and pass explosives.
Jayden Daniels has yet to post a turnover-worthy play and has generated six touchdown passes while dodging 22 pressures.
Brian Thomas Jr. and Kyren Lacy have emerged as dangerous targets behind Malik Nabers. Thomas averages an impressive 3.2 yards per route and has caught three touchdowns in just two games.
Long 75-yard touchdown pass from Jaylen Daniels to Brian Thomas Jr. for #LSU.
Just a little late.
— Lincoln Heimbach (@LincHeimbachTSP) September 4, 2023
The offense has shown plenty of fluidity for coordinator Mike Denbrock, but the challenges come on defense.
Defensive tackle Maason Smith returned to action against Grambling, recording a single pressure and tackle in 35 snaps. Grambling gashed the Tigers on the ground early, a product of the defense starting in the dime package, per head coach Brian Kelly.
Grambling generated seven runs of at least 12 yards for an average of 5.9 yards per play. The LSU defense did catch up after the first few series, but there are plenty of questions after getting dominated by Florida State in the opener.
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how LSU and Mississippi State match up statistically:
LSU Offense vs. Mississippi State Defense
Mississippi State Offense vs. LSU Defense
Pace of Play / Other
|Special Teams SP+||49||94|
|Seconds per Play||23.8 (18)||28.4 (87)|
|Rush Rate||51.4% (76)||62.9% (9)|
Mississippi State vs LSU
Betting Pick & Prediction
Both defenses have significant question marks entering this SEC matchup.
Arizona gained well above the national average in available yards in Starkville, posting two methodical drives and two explosive drives. The Bulldogs allowed Arizona to average six yards per play on standard downs, creating short distances on third- and fourth-down attempts.
Mississippi State ranks 120th in Defensive Finishing Drives, allowing 5.2 points to opponents that cross the 40-yard line. Considering the Bulldogs have produced one of the lowest pressure rates in the FBS, LSU's offensive line will protect Daniels on all throws.
The Bulldogs offense will see similar success against an LSU defense that ranks 110th in Defensive Finishing Drives.
The Tigers have generated pressure from the defensive line, but LSU has allowed a large sum of explosive plays. Coordinator Matt House must build better fundamentals from the defense, which ranks 114th in tackling with a broken-tackle rate that's near dead last in the FBS.
The Action Network projection calls for LSU -8 on the spread with a total of 63. Considering the poor tackling and penchant for giving up explosives, a full-game over bet is in play with consideration to the first half.
Grambling slashed the LSU defense on scripted plays for a score on the first two drives, so a new-look Mississippi State squad should execute at the same level.
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