The #1 team in the country, the Alabama Crimson Tide are going to put their perfect season on the line on Saturday night against another team that is rising quickly as an undefeated squad, the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Kickoff for this college football betting battle will take place at 8:30 p.m. ET.
The Tide are favored by a whopping 24 points, and they are hoping to put aside another team that is quietly contending for the BCS National Championship and the SEC West crown. Remember that Alabama had some unfinished business last year in spite of its national title, as it didn’t win the SEC or the SEC West. Mississippi State is looking for the biggest win in its school’s history.
1. Why Mississippi State will cover the spread: Mississippi State will cover the spread in this one if its offense finds a way to poke some holes in this Alabama defense with some big plays. WR Chad Bumphis is capable of some long ones, and he is averaging 16.5 yards per reception this year. RB LaDarius Perkins is averaging 5.8 yards per carry and has eight rushing touchdowns as well. These two are going to be the featured skill players that have to carry the Bulldogs to the cover.
2. Why Alabama will cover the spread: Alabama will cover the spread if it forces QB Tyler Russell into some mistakes. Those mistakes don’t necessarily have to be turnovers, though it would certainly help. Russell has only been picked off once this entire season, and he generally takes good care of the pigskin. However, his 60.1 completion percentage is suspect, and against this defense, you can expect that number to get slashed. The Tide have to keep Russell uncomfortable in the pocket and force some errant throws to cover a number this big against a fellow Top 15 ranked team.
3. Total Talk: Bama’s defense was “gashed” last week by its own standards for a whopping 13 points against the Tennessee Volunteers, and that’s why the Tide have now played back to back ‘over’ contests. Teams are still only averaging 8.3 points per game against the Crimson Tide this year. Mississippi State is quietly outscoring teams 36.7-14.4, and the squad ranks in the Top 30 in the nation in a ton of stats on both sides of the ball.
4. Betting Trends for BAMA/MSU: The Bulldogs have lost four games in a row in this series, including dropping three of the last four from an ATS standpoint. However, when you look back at it, they have lost to Alabama by an average of 22.5 points per game over the course of the last four seasons, and there are a ton of teams that can’t say that. MSU has covered three in a row coming into this one, while the Crimson Tide have covered two straight after failing to cover two games against massive point spreads consecutively against Florida Atlantic and Ole Miss.
Alabama 31 – Mississippi State 14