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LSU vs. Miss State Free Football Pick with Analysis

Betting Line: LSU -3.5 at 5 Dimes

Total 48.5 at SBG Global

9/15/11

Last season Miss State was 9-4 with a Bowl win over Michigan 52-14. Of their 4 losses, Two were close, a 3 point loss to eventual National Champ Auburn and an OT loss to #13 Arkansas. Two weren't so close, a 30-10 setback to Alabama and a 29-7 loss to this weeks opponent, the LSU Tigers. All in all a very solid football team last season, averaging 29 points per game and giving up 20 which was good enough for the 21st rated defense in the nation.

Now, the pressure is on. Miss State brings back just about the entire team from a year ago, 9 on offense and 7 on defense, not to mention in coach in Dan Mullen, in his 3rd year and starting to put his stamp on the team. The Bulldogs opened with 2 straight road games, a win over Memphis opening week and then a setback last week, losing 41-34 at Auburn, a team most agree is down several notches. In that game, Miss State won the statistical battle with a 31-21 1st down edge and a 531/381 total yards edge, but it wasn't to be on the scoreboard.

This week they face an LSU team that, at least so far, is rolling along. In week 1 they beat last years runner up Oregon 40-27 and blew away Northwestern State as expected last week, 49-3. One of the biggest criticisms of LSU coach Les Miles has been his conservative play. His style has been to keep things close, not take too many chances and give his team a chance to win in the 4th quarter. You can't argue with the results as LSU wins 10, 11 and 12 games a year with regularity. But most agree that if Les opened it up, LSU would be even better.

So, Les and company open up the year scoring 40, 49 points in two games. They only scored more than 40 points 3 times all of last year. Is Les taking the critics advice and opening things up? We don't think so. A leopard never changes it's spots. The 40 against Oregon can be attributed to Oregon's style of play and last weeks 49 against Northwestern State, well, it was Northwestern State.

This week, we expect to see a fairly low scoring defensive battle which is why we like Miss State here. It's the first SEC game of the year for LSU, so the added importance of the game will likely tend to make Les go back to his roots and the Miss State defense, despite the Auburn score, is a good one.

First home game for Miss State, a Thursday Night National TV audience and a team in Miss State that is on the rise all make for a very nice spot for Mississippi State to step up and make people take notice, all while shaking up the SEC and National picture with an upset win.

Note that in last years game, Miss State kept LSU out of the end zone in the first half and threw 5 INT's that resulted in more than half of LSU's 29 points. A much closer game than the scoreboard would indicate.

This is a now or never game for Miss State. If they are going to beat LSU, this is the spot to do it. We'll bite. Miss State +3.5

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