Pick – Analysis
With its win over LSU, Alabama has its sights set on the SEC title Game once again. But before that, the Crimson Tide still have two big Conference road Games. The first comes against a surging Mississippi State team that has won Four straight. Still, the Tide is currently an 8 point road favorite at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
Not many approved of Alabama getting a Top 4 spot in the initial CFP rankings, but after a dominant win over LSU last weekend, it’s hard to argue that anymore. since losing to Ole Miss and giving up 43 points, the Tide’s defense has suddenly clamped down on everyone they’ve faced. While some of these SEC offenses aren’t all that great, it’s still been an impressive six-Game stretch for Bama.
The same can be said about Mississippi State, who has losses to LSU and Texas A&M, but has won Four straight. However, things are about to get more difficult for the Bulldogs with this Game, at Arkansas and then Ole Miss on the Schedule. Their winning streak hasn’t come against the best of teams, with their only two SEC wins in that stretch being against Kentucky and Missouri.
Alabama has owned this matchup as of late, winning seven straight. Mississippi State has covered three of the last Four, including last year’s 25-20 loss as a 10-point underdog. Too much was put onto Dak Prescott’s shoulders as he tossed three interceptions in the loss.
And much like last year, everything will come down to what Prescott can do against this Alabama defense. The Tide have one of the best rush defenses in the country after bottling up Leonard Fournette last weekend, and Miss. State’s leading running back is Brandon Holloway, who only has 220 yards on the year. Prescott leads the Bulldogs with 418 rushing yards and 7 TDs. He’s been great through the air as well, completing 66.7% of his passes for 18 TDs and only one pick. Basically, Prescott does it all for this offense.
The home crowd will be going crazy for the Bulldogs, and that will need to boost the defense to give Prescott a chance on the offensive end.
Mississippi State is decent on defense, but probably not at the same level as last year’s group. Alabama actually didn’t have a major advantage in last year’s Game outside of the turnover differential. ‘Bama was outgained by almost 100 yards, despite the five-point win. That might not be the case this year, though.
Alabama will feed Derrick Henry as much as possible. against LSU, a solid run defense, Henry ran for 210 yards and three touchdowns. That’ll likely be Alabama’s goal again and it wouldn’t be surprising if he had another huge day. Henry has hit 200 yards in two of the last three Games. As for quarterback Jake Coker, he’s purely there to manage the Game and not turn the ball over. In fact, Coker hasn’t thrown a touchdown in the last three Games.
The Tide haven’t been great against the spread at 4-5 ATS, mainly because they get overrated every week, while Mississippi State is at 6-3 ATS on the year. The under is 12-2-1 in the last 15 meetings between these schools, while the home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five. However, the Crimson Tide have now covered in Four straight road Games overall.
Our Pick – The betting public is in love with Alabama this week and why not. They all watched the Tide hammer LSU on national TV last weekend and boy did they look good. We were all over the Tide last week and even used them as one of only two Key Releases.
But Our play on Alabama last week was just as much a play againST LSU as it was a play on Alabama. We simply didn’t feel LSU was any wear near as good as recent LSU teams.
Ole Miss is a capable team. Their defensive yards per point number of 21.4 ranks 3rd in the nation. Alabama has a defensive number of 16.2, good for 31st overall. Of course, Schedule strength must be considered and the Tide has played a stronger Schedule. However, I have been watching yards per point numbers for over 30 years and can tell you a team with a number of 21.4 at this point in the season is pretty damn good. It’s no accident.
We’re willing to take the very generous spot with the home dog here. We also favor Miss St from a motivational standpoint. It’s a revenge Game and a potential let down spot for Alabama after such a huge emotional home win last week. It’s not easy to get sky high too weeks in a row. Miss St +8