Egg Bowl Pick: Mississippi St. vs. Missississippi ATS Analysis
No. 22 Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-4 SU, 7-4 ATS) vs. Ole Miss Rebels (5-6 SU, 3-8 ATS)
NCAA Football Week 13
Date/Time: Thursday November 22nd, 2018. 7:30PM (EST)
Where: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Oxford, M.S.
Point Spread:MSST -10/MISS +10
Over/Under Total: 59
Rivalry week will officially kick off this Thursday on Thanksgiving Day with the historic Egg Bowl between the no. 22 Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Ole Miss Rebels inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Last week the Bulldogs demolished Arkansas in a 52-6 thumping on Senior Night. It was a nice bounce-back for Mississippi State offense following the shutout loss to Alabama. Now Mississippi State looks to keep their momentum going and cap off a successful season by taking down their in-state rival in the Rebels. However, Ole Miss has won 3 of the last 4 meetings including a 31-28 victory last year in Starkville. As everyone knows, records and trends can be thrown out the door in rivalry games, and we look to discuss the most probable scenarios for Thursday night’s match-up.
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Ole Miss facing 4 game losing streak
Life in the SEC can be brutal for struggling football teams especially in the stacked West Division, and Ole Miss is just 1-6 SU this year in conference games. To make matters worse, the Rebels seemingly are regressing as the season winds down. Last week the Rebels suffered a 36-29 loss to Vanderbilt who is likely the worst team in the East Division of the SEC. Needless to say, it was an opportunity for Ole Miss to get a W in the win column and they failed. In recent weeks, the Rebels have had several opportunities in what I would call “winnable” games but have failed to deliver. In 3 of the last 4 games, the Rebels have either been favored or less than 5 point underdogs. The result is 4 straight losses outright and 4 straight failed attempts against the spread moving their YTD mark to a dismal 3-8 record against the betting line.
Rebels offense vs. Bulldogs defense
For the Rebels to shake off their demons and keep their momentum in the Egg Bowl alive, it will come down to the success that this Rebels’ offense can have against the tough Mississippi State defense. The Bulldogs have the 2nd ranked scoring defense in all of college football yielding just 12.8 points per game. The defense is talented at every level especially along the front 7 where they allow just 110 yards per game as a top 15 run defense.
The silver lining for the Rebels is that they have primarily focused on throwing the football behind quarterback Jordan Ta’amu who has 3,831 passing yards with 19 touchdowns and 7 picks on the season. It is also worth mentioning that star running back Scottie Phillips has been banged up with an ankle injury which puts even more pressure on the Rebels passing attack. The good news for Ole Miss is that defending the pass is the better option of how to attack this Bulldogs defense when comparing it to the ground attack. However, this Bulldogs defense is still extremely tough and do not typically give up a lot of big plays. If you consider the fact, the Rebels defense is giving up nearly 40 points per game. The Rebels best chance of staying in contention is to get this passing offense rolling behind Ta’amu and star WR A.J. Brown (1,259 rec yards, 6 TDs).
Expect a big game from QB Nick Fitzgerald
Senior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald has been everything for this Mississippi State offense this season. Fitzgerald’s throwing numbers are mediocre completing 51% passing for 1,504 yards with 14 touchdowns and 7 picks. However, Fitzgerald has been damaging on the ground as he leads the team in rushing with 901 yards for an additional 10 touchdowns. Starting running back, Kylin Hill has been banged up, and his status for Thursday is uncertain. Either way, this points to a prime opportunity for Fitzgerald to pick apart this Rebels defense. The Rebels have been awful against the pass and awful against the run. While it seems that Ole Miss could simply focus on stopping Fitzgerald and be in the “good,” it’s not that simple. This Mississippi State offense runs a lot of RPO (run/pass/option) plays based off defensive reads. I think this is going to give this awful Rebels defense a nightmare and expect Fitzgerald to eat.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Mississippi State -10. Get more picks and analysis from Jay and a slew of other solid handicappers by visiting and bookmarking our NCAA Football page.