College Football Pick
The early season hasn’t been pretty for either of these teams, but that was to be expected coming in. And so, Guz Malzahn remains on the hot seat at Auburn. And while this is the first road Game for the Tigers this season, they opened as -2.5 point favorites.
The Tigers haven’t been all that bad, they just haven’t been good. Their two losses came against Clemson and Texas A&M, both remain undefeated, to go with a win against LSU a couple weeks ago. The offense may not be very good, but at least Auburn is stout defensively.
Mississippi State is in a similar state, but has an unfortunate loss to South Alabama in the opener. The Bulldogs haven’t looked the greatest in their two wins, beating South Carolina and then giving up 35 points to UMass more recently. At the least, their three-point loss at LSU is about equal to what Auburn did against LSU.
When these teams met a year ago, it was a defensive slugfest with the Bulldogs winning 17-9 behind Dak Prescott. OUtside of him, no one else really stood out considering the Tigers got just three field goals, all in the second half. It could easily be the same situation again with neither of these offenses too impressive.
Auburn is still a toss-up offensively every week with quarterback Sean White only having six total touchdowns, all of them coming in the Arkansas State and Louisiana-Monroe wins. Because of that, it’s hard to see the Tigers topping 20 points in this Game. They’ll lean on running backs Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway, which has been the case all season. The one thing Auburn could actually do in this Game last year was run the ball (finished with 201 yards), but it didn’t matter in the end.
On the other side, MSU will probably have a harder time finding the end zone without Prescott, but Nick Fitzgerald has been mostly impressive in his sophomore season. It should be noted that Fitzgerald didn’t play in the loss to South Alabama. He’s been fine this season, completing 60% of his passes and not turning it over, but his running has been the highlight.
Fitzgerald leads the Bulldogs with 329 rushing yards on 7.0 yards per carry. That’s great, but not getting running backs Brandon Holloway and Ashton Shumpert room is a problem, as seen in the loss to LSU. To go along with that, they couldn’t run the ball on Auburn in last year’s Game, so it could be an issue again.
The over/under for this Game is set above 50 points near 54, but it’s hard to see how it will go above that total. The defenses should lead this match like last season and the result should be similar to each of these team’s Games against LSU. The first to 20 points gets the win.
The Tigers are 5-1 ATS in their last six Games overall, but just 2-8 ATS in their last 10 Games following a straight-up win. The Bulldogs are 4-0 ATS following an ATS loss and a solid 18-4 ATS in their last 22 home Games against a team with a winning road record.
Our Pick – Have to be concerned about Miss States performances against UMASS and South Alabama. Meanwhile, Auburn owns the 9th best defense (yards per point number of 21.8) and has played a Schedule that has been at least 10 points more difficult than Mississippi State. Auburn -2.5 -120