Mississippi State was looking like a legit threat in the SEC West and then it lost 28-7 to Kentucky. Conveniently, Florida also lost to Kentucky, as the Wildcats have turned into one of the surprise stories of the season. With both MSU and Florida looking for a key SEC win, the Bulldogs were early -7.5 point home favorites with an over/under of 51 at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
It’s hard to believe what happened to Mississippi State’s offense last weekend. After carving through every defense including that of Kansas State, Nick Fitzgerald couldn’t do anything against Kentucky as he managed just 145 yards through the air and the Bulldogs had 56 yards on the ground. Last season, those types of performances only came against teams like Georgia and Auburn, but not Kentucky. That ineffectiveness is what could lead to more Florida backers in this matchup.
Of course, the Gators haven’t played that well defensively and are giving up 187 rushing yards per contest on 4.2 yards per carry. If that defense shows up in this Game, MSU could run away with things because that’s usually what makes the offense tick behind Fitzgerald and top running back Kylin Hill. Even after the loss to Kentucky, the Bulldogs are averaging 6.6 yards per carry with 13 rushing touchdowns. Unless Florida’s defense can step up, this is a great bounce back situation for Fitzgerald and company.
The other side of the field is still a concern for Florida even though it just dropped 47 points at Tennessee. Its goal this season is to Scoremore consistently against viable defenses and we’ll get to find out soon enough if that will happen. The Gators have gotten 12 touchdowns out of sophomore quarterback Feleipe Franks, which is good to see after only nine all of last year, but he’s still completing just 52.6% of passes. This should be a good test for Franks because Florida’s ground Game could have some trouble finding room between Dameon Pierce, Jordan SCarlett and LAmical Perine. So far that hasn’t been an issue and even though MSU was carved by Kentucky last week, it is still allowing only 3.2 yards per carry.
If the Bulldogs win in the trenches, that may be all they need to win and cover this Game. Fitzgerald should do enough offensively, while it’s hard to see Franks moving the ball by himself if the run Game doesn’t work. Still, Mississippi State just lost 28-7 to Kentucky so it’s hard putting too much faith into them. Then you throw in the return of head coach Dan Mullen and that makes matters more interesting since he coached Miss. State from 2009-2017. Because of that, it’s easy to see this one being a tight contest, as Mullen knows everything about this team. While neither of these teams has had a Game decided by single digits yet, this could be the first.
The Gators are 1-4 ATS in their last five road Games and 1-5 ATS in their last six Conference Games. The Bulldogs are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 at home and 6-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. Of course, most of these positive trends for the Bulldogs came with Mullen as head coach. As for this matchup, these teams last played in 2010.
Our Pick – Florida +7