NCAA Football Betting Favorite: Arkansas -13
They might not be getting the attention that other teams are getting, but the Arkansas Razorbacks are 9-1 and still in the BCS Championship race. Their lone loss was at Alabama this year, and the Razorbacks seem to be building momentum as the season moves along. Dan Mullen and Mississippi State haven’t had the season they had hoped for, but the Bulldogs are still a dangerous opponent. The Razorbacks are 7-0 at home this year. Can they keep that perfect home record and stay in the race for the national title?
Mississippi State has taken a bit of a step backward this year, largely due to their inconsistency on offense. Chris Relf is listed as questionable for this weekend, so Tyler Russell may be getting the start at quarterback. Chad Bumphis is the best play maker on this Bulldogs team, but he only has 22 receptions this year. The team needs to get him more involved in the offense. Vick Ballard is averaging 5.7 yards per carry this year, and he has seven rushing touchdowns. The Bulldogs are scoring just 25.8 points per game in 2011.
Mississippi State’s defense has kept them in the game almost all the time this year. Last week they allowed only 24 points to a very talented Alabama offense. The secondary has shutdown opponents on a consistent basis this year, while the front seven has struggled against the run at times. The Bulldogs are giving up 19.2 points per game this season.
Tyler Wilson has been outstanding in his first season as the starting quarterback at Arkansas. Wilson has thrown for 2,850 yards, and he already has 18 touchdown passes compared to just five interceptions. It doesn’t hurt that he has a terrific group of wide receivers. Jarius Wright leads the way with 53 receptions and ten touchdowns. Dennis Johnson is healthy again this year, and he has been terrific in keeping the team balanced on offense. Johnson is averaging 6.6 yards per carry this season. Arkansas is averaging 39 points per contest this year.
The Razorbacks defense isn’t dominating, but they have done a good job keeping the opponent out of the end zone this year. The front seven is good at putting pressure on the opposing quarterback, but they do give up quite a few yards on the ground. Tramain Thomas leads an opportunistic secondary that has exceeded expectations this year.
Both defenses are better than most people realize. The Bulldogs secondary should hold down the Razorbacks passing game. At the same time, I don’t see Mississippi State putting up too many points here.
Free College Football Pick: Under 53.5
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