College Football Pick
Both Arkansas and Mississippi State have shown they can be good at times, but most of their season has been marred by inconsistency. The Bulldogs need to win their final two Games to make a bowl appearance, but they are favorites in this one, at -2.5.
Bookmakers didn’t really know what to do with this Game, due to what these teams have done this season. Mississippi State has been bad most of the way, losing to South Alabama and Kentucky, while allowing 41 points to Samford. But then that random win over Texas A&M is still on the Schedule and this is their first home Game since that win.
Arkansas is similarly hard to predict. The Hogs have a couple nice wins against Ole Miss and Florida, but their blowouts against Auburn and LSU leave a lot to be desired. So what is it going to be for this team? Will the one that beats quality opponents show up, or the one that gets blown out?
Last year’s meeting between these teams was also unpredictable with the Bulldogs winning a crazy 51-50 Game that ended with a blocked 29-yard field goal. Neither defense showed up in that Game and that could easily happen again. The quarterbacks on each team went for seven touchdowns apiece, and while there are new guys under center, both can put up big numbers.
Most of Nick Fitzgerald’s ability was seen in the win over Texas A&M. The Mississippi State quarterback started things quickly with a 74-yard run and finished with 182 rushing yards to his name. He’s not a great passer, which is why this team is inconsistent, but his ability on the ground makes this offense dynamic. Fitzgerald leads the team with 854 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. The problem is that Aeris Williams is their top running back with just 402 yards.
Fitzgerald will likely have another big Game against this Arkansas defense. However, the reason the Razorbacks struggled against Auburn and LSU was because both teams played solid defense and ran through them. Mississippi State can do neither of those things, which immediately gives Arkansas the edge. Fitzgerald will get his, but will that be enough?
The Bulldogs haven’t done many positive things this season defensively so a big Game for Hogs quarterback Austin Allen should be expected. Allen’s numbers were much better earlier in the year, but a lot of that has had to do with tougher competition. Allen has just two touchdowns and Four interceptions in the last three Games against Auburn, Florida and LSU. Needless to say, the MSU defense is not at those levels. against A&M, Alabama and Ole Miss, Allen managed eight touchdowns, which shows his potential.
against this defense, Allen could easily have success and toss for another three or so touchdowns with 300-plus yards. To help, running back Rawleigh Williams III should also see plenty of holes. Williams is averaging 5.2 yards per carry and has seen most of his success against weaker defenses a la Mississippi State.
The Razorbacks are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 road Games, but 2-5 ATS in their last seven overall. The Bulldogs are 6-2 ATS in their last eight following an ATS loss and also 2-5 ATS in their last seven overall. The over has hit in seven of the last nine meetings between these schools with Mississippi State 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings played at home.
Our Pick – Arkansas +2.5