Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs. No. 8 LSU Tigers (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS)
College Football Week 4
Date and Time: Saturday, September 20th, 2014. 7:00PM EST
Where: Tiger Stadium Baton Rouge, L.A.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MSST +10/LSU -10
Over/Under Total: 50
The Mississippi State Bulldogs jumped out to a 3-0 start to their 2014 campaign last week with a 35-3 victory over South Alabama. Quarterback Dak Prescott has played exceptionally well through the first few games and is starting to get some national attention. The Bulldogs have been solid on both sides of the football and are out to prove that they will not be a doormat in the strongest division in college football that is the SEC West which houses 5 teams ranked inside the top 10. Mississippi States unblemished start will be put to the test as they embark on a brutal 3 game stretch against top 10 ranked teams. This Saturdays matchup may just be the most daunting of them all as the Bulldogs take a road trip, at night nevertheless, to Baton Rouge to battle the no. 8 LSU Tigers.
The 8th ranked Tigers started the season by beating no. 14 Wisconsin in a dramatic come from behind victory. The Tigers trailed 24-7 in the 3rd quarter but rallied to score 21 unanswered points to secure the impressive victory. Since that big opening win, the Tigers have pitched two straight shutouts against the likes of Sam Houston and UL Monroe winning by a combined score of 87-0. This week LSU prepares for their SEC opener against a very under rated Mississippi State football team. In fact, LSU coach Les Miles said it best early this week when he stated that Mississippi State should be a ranked team. Dont be fooled, Miles is not just trying to build up his opponent as coaches normally do to keep their players focused but he is being honest as the Bulldogs will present a difficult challenge on both sides of the football.
The Bulldogs currently sport the 11th best scoring defense in college football yielding just 12.3 points per game and own the 20th best scoring offense averaging 43.7 points per game. Sure the competition to this point has been suspect but Mississippi State is a good football team which is confirmed by the fact they are only 10 point underdogs this week on the road at LSU. Quarterback Dak Prescott is quickly becoming a star for the offense. Prescott has thrown for 696 yard with 9 scores and 2 picks through the first 3 games. The junior quarterback has also racked up 273 rushing yards at 6.8 yards per clip on the ground. Running back Josh Robinson has been equally impressive on the ground gaining 6.3 yards per touch with 288 yards on the season and 3 touchdowns. The Bulldogs rushing attack alone should present LSUs defense some problems especially when you consider the fact the Tigers defense was thrashed for 268 yards on the ground against Wisconsin.
Perhaps this week we will know for sure how strong LSUs defense will be in 2014. After giving up a ton of yards on the ground and 24 points to Wisconsin, the Tigers defense has not allowed a single point in 9 straight quarters. Last week the Tigers defense held UL Monroe to just 93 total yards for an entire game. Obviously those stats are against weak opponents but they are impressive nevertheless. It will be very interesting to see how this defense plays in their first big SEC matchup against a dynamic Bulldogs offense.
On the other side of the field, Mississippi States defense will have quite the challenge of stopping LSUs premier rushing attack led by Kenny Hilliard, Leonard Fournette, and Darrel Williams. All of LSUs running backs are averaging 5 yards per touch and have combined for 8 touchdowns through the first 3 games of the season. Hilliard is the experienced back and the guy the offense may rely on more heavily as the season progresses. However, everyone in Tiger land is excited to watch Leonard Fournette who was the nations no. 1 prospect out of high school last year. Fournette will get his share of touches and it is only a matter of time before everyone recognizes his name.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: From a betting trends stand point, you can make a case for each team. Both LSU and Mississippi State are 3-0 ATS so far this season. The Bulldogs have covered in 7 of their last 8 games going back to last year and covered 5 of their last 6 games on the road. However, LSU is 14-3 ATS in their last 17 meetings with Mississippi State. Despite the trends, I think only one trend matters in this game. LSU is 57-7 SU at home under Les Miles. The Tigers will find a way to win this Saturday night. I would not take any action on the side but consider a play on the under once it is released regardless of what the number may be.