NCAAF Odds, Picks for Middle Tennessee vs. Missouri
Ed Zurga/Getty Images. Pictured: Missouri’s Brady Cook.
Middle Tennessee vs. Missouri Odds
Middle Tennessee, a week after being pulverized by Alabama, hits the road for another SEC tilt. This time, it faces the Missouri Tigers.
Mizzou started the year with a relatively easy win over FCS South Dakota. Middle Tennessee will be a step up, but this is still a game Missouri fans expect to win on their way toward bowl eligibility.
Missouri isn't on the same level as Alabama, but this game could have a similar result as MTSU’s Week 1 bout. Let’s take a look at the matchup and make a betting prediction for Middle Tennessee vs. Missouri.
Week 1 didn't go as planned for Middle Tennessee. The Crimson Tide jumped on them from the start and cruised to a 56-7 victory.
Middle Tennessee put up a 20th-percentile EPA per Play against Alabama’s defense and failed to move the ball for most of the game.
Unfortunately for MTSU, that's nothing new for the Blue Raiders. Last year, they finished 98th in Offensive Success Rate and 104th in Finishing Drives. They were an atrocious rushing team and finished 117th in Rushing Success Rate, but their passing game made up for it — slightly — at 74th.
Looking forward to 2023, only five starters return to MTSU’s offense.
Quarterback Nicholas Vattiato is tasked with improving the passing game, but he averaged only four yards per pass attempt and -0.21 EPA per Play against Alabama.
The Middle Tennessee defense was at least a respectable unit at the G5 level last year. It finished 96th in SP+ but was 51st in Success Rate. Its production came largely from the run defense, which ranked 31st in Success Rate, compared to 80th against the pass.
This season, the Raiders lost their best defensive lineman in Jordan Ferguson but returned eight starters. Still, this is barely a top-100 defense.
The Tigers beat South Dakota rather handily to open the season. They put up a 96th-percentile performance in Success Rate and held the Coyotes to a 16th-percentile Success Rate.
The Mizzou offense was clicking on all cylinders against a defense that ranks in the top 30 at the FCS level. Missouri had an 85th percentile EPA per dropback and an 82nd percentile EPA per rush.
Their offense struggled for much of last year and finished as the 74th-best offense by SP+. It finished 84th in Success Rate, ranking 94th in Rushing Success and 70th in Passing Success.
Seven starters return on offense, including quarterback Brady Cook and leading rusher Cody Schrader. With a veteran offensive line, Mizzou should be improved offensively.
The Missouri defense is the undisputed best unit in this game. This is legitimately a top-25 defense that finished last year ranked 19th in SP+. In 2022, it was 27th in Defensive Success Rate and 10th in Havoc generated.
Missouri's defense returns eight starters, and I expect it to at least perform at a similar level.
Middle Tennessee vs Missouri
Betting Pick & Prediction
I’m relatively confident Middle Tennessee won't be able to score much against the Tigers.
The outcome of this game, in relation to the spread, almost entirely comes down to Missouri's offense. If the Tigers perform on just an average level, I believe they'll cover this spread with ease.
Fortunately for them, Middle Tennessee should struggle to get stops (again) as Mizzou races toward 40 points.
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