No. 12 LSU Tigers (2-0 SU, 1-0-1 ATS) vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS)
College Football Week 3
Date/Time: Saturday September 16th, 2017. 7:00PM (EST)
Where: Davis Wade Stadium Starkville, M.S.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: LSU -6.5/MSST +6.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
A big battle in the SEC West will take place this Saturday night when the Mississippi State Bulldogs welcome the no. 12 LSU Tigers into Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville. The Bulldogs are coming off the heels of a 26 point victory last week at Louisiana Tech in a game where they were just 10 point favorites. The Bulldogs moved to 2-0 SU and 2-0 ATS with that victory. However, the competition will pick up this week with the 12th ranked Tigers coming to town. LSU also moved to 2-0 SU last week with a 45-10 victory over Chattanooga. The Tigers appear to be the clear 2nd best team in the SEC behind Alabama but we will perhaps get a better gauge of their true potential with this weeks matchups against the Bulldogs.
The one promising hope that continues to shine light on Ed Orgerons first full season in Baton Rouge is superior play on the defensive side of the football. LSU held BYU scoreless in the opener and allowed just 10 points to Chattanooga last week. In reality, the touchdown the Mocs posted were garbage points in the 4th quarter. Either way you try to look at it, LSUs defense is superb. In the first two games, they already rank 5th in total yards per game and 5th in scoring defense. I know those stats are a reflection of inferior opponents but do not let that persuade you that this defense is anything but really good. DE Arden Key is one of the best defensive linemen in college football that anchors a veteran defensive front. Meanwhile, the entire defense is loaded with size and speed at every level.
I personally believe that LSUs speed on the defensive side of the football is the major obstacle for Mississippi State this week. Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald is a dangerous dual threat quarterback that can make plays with his arm and legs. So far this season, Fitzgerald has already thrown 5 touchdowns with just 1 pick and has rushed for another 152 yards with 3 touchdowns on the ground. With that being said, Fitzgerald is really the focal point of this offense and I have yet to see any other player step up to help lead this offense. Perhaps an argument can be made for WR Donald Gray but I still think this offense lacks a big time playmaker. I find that troubling against an L SU defense that is going to get pressure on Fitzgerald because he is going to need an outlet to be successful.
While I think this is a terrible matchup for Mississippi States offense, I will shine some hope for Bulldogs fans because LSUs offense is far from promising. Quarterback issues plagued the Les Miles era and I am still not confident in Danny Etlings season long ability. The Tigers offense is built for running the football and they have great rushers in Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams. Both tailbacks have combined for more than 5 yards per touch and 7 touchdowns in the first two games. Still, LSU will only go as far as the quarterback play allows. Etling does not have to be great but the offense cannot expect the running game to strive without some completed passes down the field against SEC defenses. Until Etling proves he can carry the weight in needed situations, I will still withhold some skepticism for LSUs potential.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The last 3 meetings between Mississippi State and LSU have been decided by 5 points or less. Obviously, LSU has the most talent that will be on the field and the most promising players at the skill position. However, I am still skeptical of LSUs quarterback situation and believe this could be yet another close game. I expect both defenses to have the upper hand which will keep things competitive. This game comes down to the team that can make a few plays. Consider taking Mississippi State and the points with a bigger play on the under once released! – Bet your pick for this game using your credit card at an online bookie where it WILL work for deposits and where you’ll receive a generous 100% signup bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $250! (Example: Deposit $250 and they’ll give you an extra $250 FREE!) Find this great offer at Bovada Sportsbook.