Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State Odds, Picks, Predictions: First-Half Bet to Make

Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State Odds, Picks, Predictions: First-Half Bet to Make article feature image

Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images. Pictured: Matt Corral.

  • Ole Miss and Mississippi State face off in the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving Day.
  • The Rebels have won three in a row while the Bulldogs have notched two wins in a row.
  • Collin Wilson previews the game and offers up his best bet.

Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State Odds

Thursday, Nov. 25
7:30 p.m. ET
Ole Miss Odds
-110o / -110u
Mississippi State Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The Butterfly Effect is a theory that small things can have non-linear impacts on a complex system. Quite simply, does a butterfly flapping its wings cause a typhoon elsewhere on the globe?

This theory was perfectly laid out in a key scene of the movie "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," but in our world of college football, we call this the Egg Bowl.

During the 2019 Egg Bowl, Matt Corral led the final drive of the game, resulting in a touchdown pass to Elijah Moore, who subsequently decided to urinate like a bulldog at the back of the end zone.

The excessive celebration penalty forced a longer game-tying point-after attempt that was missed. Ole Miss then fired head coach Matt Luke with a 4-8 record. Mississippi State made a bowl as a 6-6 team, keeping a 6-6 Toledo team from going to a bowl.

Ole Miss soon hired Lane Kiffin as head coach, and Bulldogs head coach Joe Moorhead was fired after an embarrassing loss in the Music City Bowl in which members of the roster fought with each other.

Mike Leach was then lured away from Pullman, leaving Washington State to hire Nick Rolovich out of Hawai'i, as the Rainbow Warriors dusted off the Todd Graham resume to return to coaching.

A simple hike of the leg by Elijah Moore changed the entire landscape of college football, making this one of the best Thanksgiving Day traditions.

Ole Miss Rebels

The stakes could not be higher for Kiffin and the Rebels in their campaign to land a Sugar Bowl invite. Only road losses to Alabama and Auburn are on a schedule that had no bye weeks through the month of October and November.

The offense continued a cohesive mix of success and explosiveness against Vanderbilt, posting 24 first-half points. Corral has not taken off from the pocket nearly as many times since the Tennessee game, where 30 rushing attempts limited the quarterback's mobility with an ankle injury.

Corral ➡️ Drummond pic.twitter.com/SLKov0aQeo

— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) November 21, 2021

The health status continues to improve for Corral and a stable of weapons on offense. Wide receiver Jonathan Mingo returned for a catch against Vanderbilt, while Dontario Drummond generated 10 targets and a touchdown against the Commodores.

Kiffin runs a strict 11 personnel offense that starts with zone read to a trio of electric running backs, but Corral's mobility is what drives a rank of second in Rushing Success Rate and ninth in big-play percentage.

Give credit to co-defensive coordinators Chris Partridge and DJ Durkin for improvement of the defensive statistics.

A 3-3-5 scheme in 2020 led to bottom-10 ranks in FBS in almost every defensive category, but a scheme change to a dime secondary has made a vast improvement.

The 2-3-6 and 3-2-6 scheme has led to a top-25 rank in coverage and a mark of 12th in passing downs explosiveness. These small tweaks, including an upgrade in tackling, have led to a top-five rank in defensive pass expected points.

Ole Miss still gives up plenty of yards, but the secondary has seen massive improvement.

What an interception by Prince. #OleMisspic.twitter.com/IDCFnSB7dp

— Brad Logan (@BradLoganCOTE) November 21, 2021

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Head coach Mike Leach has proven the Air Raid offense that once dominated Big 12 play can exist in the SEC.

Winners of three of the last four conference games, sophomore quarterback Will Rogers was a local Mississippi three-star product, who committed to the Bulldogs early in high school.

A 34:8 touchdown-to-interception ratio with a minimal 1.8% turnover-worthy play percentage has shown what a dominant Leach offense can achieve, even breaking records posted by former Bulldog Dak Prescott.

Will Rogers broke Dak Prescott’s records for passing yards and TDs in a season today 👏

(via @SECNetwork)pic.twitter.com/sxua9PErX8

— SI College Football (@si_ncaafb) November 20, 2021

Mississippi State throws out of the empty-back 10 formation set on 72% of snaps, giving extra emphasis to a top-10 rank in Passing Success Rate and pass blocking.

The Bulldogs have one of the most methodical offenses in the nation with a rank in the top 20 in 10-plus play drives, three-plus minute drives and two-plus first down drives.

After multiple years of learning the 3-3-5 from the great Rocky Long at San Diego State, defensive coordinator Zach Arnett brought the scheme to Starkville last season.

The scheme often confuses opposing quarterbacks and dominates in eliminating explosive plays. Mississippi State is 19th in big-play prevention, a measurement of 12-plus yard rushing attempts and 20-plus yard passing attempts.

If there has been a layer of vulnerability, it's catching the Mississippi State defense off guard in early downs, as the Bulldogs own a rank of 103rd in defending explosiveness on standard downs.

Arnett rarely calls blitz with more than four defenders, which may give Heisman candidate Matt Corral just enough time to find empty pockets on the field.

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Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State Matchup Analysis

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

Ole Miss Offense vs. Mississippi State Defense
Rush Success240
Line Yards2427
Pass Success2949
Pass Blocking**39100
Big Play969
Finishing Drives5978
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Mississippi State Offense vs. Ole Miss Defense
Rush Success116123
Line Yards85118
Pass Success692
Pass Blocking**623
Big Play10784
Finishing Drives4286
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling7550
Middle 84844
SP+ Special Teams27125
Plays per Minute390
Rush Rate57.7% (44)27.9% (130)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State Betting Pick

The first meeting of these two head coaches took place on Thanksgiving weekend in 2020, with Ole Miss winning by a touchdown and posting an 83% post-game win expectancy.

A Bulldogs fumble in the first quarter gave the Rebels a touchdown drive starting at the Mississippi State 16-yard line. That play would be the difference in a contest featuring both Corral and Rogers.

There is reason to believe this game will play out much of the same, as Mississippi State elected to pass on 63-of-78 offensive plays, while the balanced Ole Miss attack doubled the national average in explosive drives.

These two offenses will attack with a different tempo — Ole Miss ranks third in plays per minute while Mississippi State sits 90th.

Each offense has the advantage in scoring opportunities over the opposing defense, but a large gap exists in the special reams department. Specifically, the punt game has been unkind to the Bulldogs, who own a rank of 102nd in punt return efficiency and 129th in punt efficiency.

The Action Network projection makes this game a pick with a total of 61, both right at the current market numbers.

There are a number of items that point to Ole Miss winning this edition of the Egg Bowl. The biggest concern on the Rebels defense is an opponent that can run the ball effectively, an area Mississippi State can't expose.

Standard Downs Success Rate is an area that heavily favors the Rebels offense with a rank of 10th against a Bulldogs defense that is outside the top 100.

These teams also move at a different pace in terms of Success Rate during the game. Ole Miss is a top-10 team in point differential through the first half of football games, while Mississippi State has a negative point differential in the first quarter of games this season.

That 2021 full season statistic was apparent in last year's Egg Bowl, as Ole Miss led Mississippi State, 14-0, after the first quarter.

This game will come down to the wire, but expect the Bulldogs to score on multiple possessions before the methodical Air Raid puts points on the board.

Pick: Ole Miss 1H ML

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