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Alabama

vs.

Miss State

College Football

Free Pick

11/11/17

In Alabama’s last conference game before traveling to Auburn, the Crimson Tide are headed for what should be another blowout. Mississippi State has a decent record at 7-2, but that record is in large part due to schedule. Still, the Tide were just -14 point road favorites early in the week at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

It wasn’t much of a contest when these teams met last season with Alabama winning 51-3. The Tide did whatever they wanted while Miss. State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald was eventually benched after running for 15 yards and completing 10-of-33 passes. The Bulldogs have a better record this season, but it’s important to look into the numbers, especially when they play relevant competition. Big wins over LSU and Texas A&M are nice, but hold little value when you lose to Georgia and Auburn by a combined 80-13 score line. Against any good team on both sides of the ball, this group has struggled and that’s what could happen here.

Fitzgerald is better than he was a year ago, but still doesn’t complete a ton of passes with a lot of his success coming on the ground. That being the case, it could be more trouble for him against this Alabama defense because if Fitzgerald and Aeris Williams can’t find room on the ground, the Bulldogs will find it hard scoring yet again. The biggest thing going in their favor is that this is a home game under the lights. That said, it doesn’t help that the Tide have won seven of the last nine meetings by at least 17 points.

The other side of the ball should lead to more success for Alabama unless this Mississippi State defense is for real. The Bulldogs are near the top of the charts in the country with 18 points allowed and less than 300 yards allowed per game, but again, a lot of that has to do with schedule. Against teams similar to Alabama, they were run off the field.

The Tide are also coming off a week of rest after a small 24-10 win over LSU. And the last time they were on the road, the Tide beat A&M just 27-19. There are paths for Mississippi State to stay competitive, but recent history between these teams doesn't show that it’s likely.

Alabama will continue its run-heavy package with quarterback Jalen Hurts leading the charge. Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough have split more of the backfield duties lately and both should be in for a lot of work in this one. If those guys have similar success to last year’s game, this one will be over early. The Bulldogs only allow 124 rushing yards per game, but it’s hard to ignore how they looked against Auburn and Georgia. That may be reason enough to back Alabama.

The Crimson Tide are 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games and 9-4 ATS in their last 13 SEC games. The Bulldogs are 21-5 ATS in their last 26 home games vs. a team with a winning road record and 4-1 ATS in their last five home games. The under is 14-3-1 in the last 18 meetings mainly because Mississippi State always has trouble scoring in this matchup.

Our Pick - Alabama -13.5

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