Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS) vs. Auburn Tigers (3-1 SU, 1-2-1 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date/Time: Saturday, September 30th, 6:00pm EST
Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium - Auburn, AL
by Bob, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MSU +9.5 / AUB -9.5
Over/Under Total: 49.5
Isn’t it funny how one game and one week can sway public opinion in college football? A week ago this time, after Mississippi State manhandled LSU 37-7, you would have thought the Bulldogs were on the verge of taking over Alabama as the team to beat, Dan Mullen was the hottest head coach in the country, and no one could stop this so called juggernaut. Well, then the Mississippi State Bulldogs had to travel to Athens to play the real Bulldogs…the ones from Georgia. I was at this game and it was comical. Appalachian State put up a better fight than Mississippi State did and it was ugly… a 31-3 beatdown in Athens sending Miss State home with more questions than answers.
This week, the Auburn Tigers will play host to Mississippi State in Jordan-Hare Stadium and to be honest, with the exception of the Missouri game, Auburn has not look as advertised either. With that said, the Tigers are 9.5 home favorites over the Bulldogs and the total points are set at 49.5 combined. As of Tuesday afternoon, 59% of the betting action liked Mississippi State to go on the road and keep this game close. As for the over under, 53% like this game to go over the points which I find odd.
This series dates all the way back to 1905 and since that time, Auburn has built a 62-26-2 series lead. Although the Tigers have owned this series, it has been competitive as of late. Mississippi State has taken three of the last five games played and they feel again this year that they can play with Auburn and anyone else in the SEC…except Georgia at this point.
The Bulldogs have looked pretty strong this season with the exception of this past Saturday. They beat what come believe is a good LSU team and they dominated the other two low level teams they played in Louisiana Tech and Charleston Southern. In my opinion, the Bulldogs need to take a page out of the Clemson defensive playbook and bring the heat to Auburn’s offensive line and quarterback. The Clemson Tigers were able to sack Auburn QB’s eleven times in their win…yes, ELEVEN. If Mississippi State can pressure Auburn again, not only do I think they can keep this game close, but they might can pull off a win. Auburn is 3-1 with the only loss being to the defending national champions, Clemson. But in the three wins, Auburn only looked good against Missouri and to be honest, everyone looks good against Missouri at this point. Anyhow, back on track we go. Mississippi State was exposed against Georgia but to be honest, I think Georgia is the best defense in the SEC and that is including Alabama. Not many teams have moved the ball on UGA and Miss State was no exception. The Bulldogs must go into Jordan-Hare Stadium and send an early message. They need to score first, establish a run game, and make Auburn play from behind. If they can do this, they have a legit shot to not only cover but win.
Like I said earlier, Auburn is 3-1 and their only loss is to Clemson, however, look at the wins. They barely beat Mercer and after a slow start, was able to beat Georgia Southern handily. Statistically, the Auburn offense will succeed or fail based on the run game. The Tigers are led by Kam Martin and Kamry Pettiway from a yardage standpoint, but Kerryon Johnson is the one putting the ball in the endzone with six touchdowns already on 184 yards in 2017. In order to get this home win and their second SEC win, the Auburn Tigers need to establish a run and stop the run. Also, a passing game MUST become somewhat successful. You do not want to be one dimensional against this Mississippi State team. That was why LSU got drilled by the Bulldogs and it is why Georgia had so much success. Georgia was able to pass and run, keeping the Miss State defense guessing all game. Auburn needs to follow suit.
To be completely honest, I do not trust any SEC teams right now except Alabama and Georgia which will probably be the title game come December. There are still question marks surrounding many of these teams and with that said, there is no way I would give up almost ten points in a conference game…not right now. I think Auburn will win, but I see this game coming down to the very end. I think Auburn wins 23-21 on a late field goal.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: TAKE THE MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS +9.5 POINTS AGAINST AUBURN.