This maybe isn’t a Game between giants, but it should still be an interesting matchup between two teams that have had semi-successful starts to the season. Mississippi State is getting a bit more love than Kentucky, though, partly to playing at home. The Bulldogs were large -10.5 point favorites as of Tuesday at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
The spread seems a bit high, but Kentucky hasn’t looked great in recent wins, beating Eastern Michigan by Four and Missouri by six last Game. Still, UK’s only loss came against Florida, in which the Wildcats probably should’ve won. All of their Games have been close so that’s at least a selling point for any backer. It’s been the opposite for Mississippi State with all of its Games being decided by at least 25 points, which is a crazy stat. The Bulldogs destroyed weaker teams with LSU includedin that mix, but were handled at Georgia and Auburn.
It was a battle when these teams played last year and there’s a chance it’s a similar type of Game. Kentucky won at home 40-38 with both quarterbacks having solid Games. Nick Fitzgerald ran for 107 yards and had three total touchdowns, while Stephen Johnson threw for 292 yards and a couple touchdowns. Both teams ran the ball extremely well and had over 260 yards on the ground. Considering neither defense has looked much better this season, it could be another high-scoring contest, although the over/under is surprisingly low (around 54 points).
The Bulldogs have good defensive numbers for the season, but the only offenses they’ve stopped have been bad ones. Kentucky has moved the ball consistently with Stephen Johnson still at quarterback and he’s completing almost 10 percent more of his passes than in 2016 (54.7% to 63.9%). Throw in Benny Snell, who already has three 100-yard Games and went for 128 yards in the last meeting and the Wildcats should score.
Conveniently, it’s the same situation on the other side, although UK’s defense has been worse. Fitzgerald already has seven interceptions and six of them have come in the last three Games with Four of them against two of the better defenses in the SEC. Expect Fitzgerald to have another big Game, while running back Aeris Williams (523 yards) also has some success. The Wildcats are allowing close to 300 passing yards per Game, so that may be the best point of attack for Fitzgerald, as long as the interceptions don’t continue.
This feels like another back-and-forth Game between two teams with lackluster defenses, yet the spread is in the double digits. Every Miss. State Game has had a large deficit, but that’s a hard thing to bet on here. The Wildcats are 5-1 ATS in their last six road Games and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 Conference Games. The Bulldogs don’t have many trends, but are 2-5 ATS in their last seven following an ATS win.
Our Pick – Kentucky +11.5.