The season isn’t over for Alabama, but making the College Football Playoff seems like a long shot at this point. Either way, it still has two more road games in SEC play including this trip to Mississippi State. The Crimson Tide were -21 point road favorites with an over/under of 63 early in the week.
These teams have battled the last few years, but Alabama always comes away with a win. Even though Alabama’s offense struggled last year, it still managed to cover in a 24-0 win. It’s unlikely to be the same result given that both defenses are worse than a year ago.
Mississippi State is allowing 4.8 yards per carry and more than 30 points per game, which isn’t going to work in this matchup. That said, the Bulldogs have played better at home and they’ve had just one of their last five games at home and they held down LSU to 36 points, its second-lowest total of the season so that’s at least something to think about.
There are reasons not to take Alabama. Tua Tagovailoa returned against LSU, but he wasn’t 100 percent and he missed practice early this week. Even if he plays, he won’t be fully healthy, which is part of the reason he barely completed 50% of his passes against LSU.
Still, the Tide should be able to run in this game no matter who is at quarterback as Najee Harris is averaging 6.2 yards per carry and they’re at 5.0 ypc as a team. If Tagovailoa can’t play, Mac Jones is next up and he’s been fine, though the majority of his playing time has come against Arkansas and Tennessee. Playing at Miss. State isn’t the same thing even if its defense has struggled at times this season.
The other worry for Alabama backers is that its defense hasn’t been as good, not only against LSU, but also allowing at least 28 points to both Ole Miss and Texas A&M. The Tide’s overall numbers are good, but a lot of that has to do with the schedule.
Miss. State isn’t LSU, but it has capable pieces to move the chains against a struggling group. It’s unknown who will start at quarterback, but that’s not a huge deal because Garrett Shrader and Tommy Stevens have similar numbers.
Stevens is completing more of his passes, but some of that has to do with a more favorable schedule, while they have combined for 14 touchdowns and nine picks. Shrader is a bit more mobile and that could work against a younger Alabama defense.
No matter, running back Kylin Hill will see the ball plenty after rushing for 234 yards on 21 carries against Arkansas last game.
The Bulldogs don’t technically need this game if they want to reach a bowl, but putting up a fight at home in this spot wouldn’t be surprising. They had a different team two years ago, but lost this matchup just 31-24.
Alabama is 1-6 ATS versus a team with a losing record, while Mississippi State has failed to cover four of its last five.
The under has hit in MSU’s last four at home against a team with a winning road record. The under is 9-2-1 in the last 12 meetings between these schools and the home team is 7-2 ATS in the last nine.
Predicted Score – Alabama 49 Miss State 17