Mississippi State Bulldogs
(7-2, 5-4 ATS)
Alabama Crimson Tide
(7-2, 5-4 ATS)
Both the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide have identical records both SU and ATS this year, but the two aren’t necessarily on a level playing field according to the oddsmakers on Saturday. They’ll meet in a bitter NCAA football betting rivalry in the SEC this weekend.
The Bulldogs have put together one of the most surprising seasons in the country this year, and there is reason to believe that HC Dan Mullen could be coaching this game to earn National Coach of the Year honors. MSU has already gone on the road this year and beaten the Florida Gators, and it has taken out the Georgia Bulldogs at home as well. Beating teams in the SEC West has been hard this season, but both the Auburn Tigers and LSU Tigers had an awful time trying to beat it. Of course, this was before we knew that all three teams were going to be ranked in the Top 20 in the middle of November… QB Chris Relf has done well this year, throwing for 913 yards and rushing for 495 more, accounting for nine total TDs. However, this team belongs to RB Vick Ballard. Even though Ballard only has 93 carries this year, he is averaging 6.8 yards per tote and has 13 scores. Defensively, the Dogs rank No. 9 in major college football at 17.0 points per game.
Something was definitely wrong this year for the Crimson Tide, and it has shown once and for all now. The LSU Tigers knocked them off last week to end their national championship dreams, but a spot in a BCS bowl game is definitely there for the taking. The Tide have three home games left this year, and they are 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS on the campaign there. However, RB Mark Ingram looks a shell of the man that won the Heisman Trophy last season, and it is a real harm to Alabama. He has rumbled for 641 yards and nine TDs this year, but obviously, these are nothing like the 1,700+ yards that he had last year. WR Julio Jones has finally shown up as a monster this year, and he has 55 catches, 758 yards, and four TDs. Defensively, Alabama is slumping in spite of the fact that it ranks No. 17 in the country in total ‘D’ at 307.1 yards per game and No. 5 in scoring at 13.8 points per game. The key is going to be whether HC Nick Saban can get his men up for these next two games, as there is no doubt that they’ll be alive for the Iron Bowl against the Auburn Tigers, especially if they are the No. 1 team in the land.
Though conventional wisdom suggests that the Tide are going to come out and just roll the Bulldogs due to the fact that they are angry, but we aren’t so sure. The game after losing to the South Carolina Gamecocks, the Ole Miss Rebels challenged Alabama. Mississippi State might do the same as well. This is a boatload of points to be giving a team that could still legitimately challenge for a BCS bowl spot as well.
NCAA Football Free Pick: Mississippi State Bulldogs +13