No. 24 Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-2 SU, 5-3 ATS) vs. Missouri Tigers (4-4 SU, 2-6 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date/Time: Thursday November 5th, 9:00PM EST
Where: Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium Columbia, M.O.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MSST -7.5/MIZ +7.5
Over/Under Total: 39
SEC Football returns to the Thursday night stage this week as the no. 24 Mississippi State Bulldogs travel into Columbia for a showdown with the Missouri Tigers. Despite two early losses in conference play that derailed some of the high hopes of Mississippi State this season, the Bulldogs have rebounded with 3 straight wins and they still have an opportunity to reach 10 wins for the 2nd straight year under Dan Mullen. The road to another 10 win season takes a stop in Columbia this Thursday night as the Bulldogs will be 7.5 point favorites on the road against Missouri.
The Tigers have also experienced some setbacks this season but to a bigger degree which have resulted in disappointing 4-4 SU record. Missouri started the season 4-1 but have lost their last 3 games consecutively. The declining trend can be attributed to the troubles with former quarterback Maty Mauk. Mauk started the year at quarterback and led Missouri to a 3-1 start before he was suspended for 4 games due to breaking team rules. Last week the former starter was reinstated to rejoin the team and to once again participate in team activities. However in just 3 days after being reinstated, Mauk was suspended for the remainder of the season after apparently breaking team rules again.
While it is not really important to us about the entire storyline that led to the suspension, it is very much important to note the steep decline in offensive production from Mauk to quarterback Drew Lock who has since taken over. Lock is completing just 50.7% of his passes in his 4 games since taking over that has resulted in just 3 passing touchdowns and 3 interceptions. The only victory Missouri has pulled off during that time period was a 24-10 victory against a South Carolina team that was unraveling before our eyes with Steve Spurrier. Since then, Missouri has suffered losses to Florida, Georgia, and Vanderbilt while scoring just 12 points combined in all 3 of those games.
The Tigers have simply not been able to move the football. Even the running game has stalled in recent weeks averaging just 2.9 yards per carry over the last 3 games. Obviously if Missouri has similar type of production on offense this Thursday they are going to be in trouble. Mississippi States offense can move the football relatively well and Bulldogs quarterback Dak Prescott combined for 6 touchdowns in his last outing that resulted in a 42-16 route over Kentucky.
After a rather slow start, the Bulldogs offense appears to be steaming again as they have scored at least 42 points in each of their past 3 games. Prescotts number have looked really strong during that stretch as he has thrown for 7 scores with just 1 picks and rushed for 4 additional scores. Prescott is a big dual threat quarterback that can hurt defenses with his arm and his feet. Often Mississippi States rushing attack opens the door for the rest of the offense especially for receivers DeRunnya Wilson and Fred Ross. What perhaps makes this game a bit intriguing from a match-up perspective is the fact that Missouri defends the run really well. The Tigers rank 23rd in the FBS against the run and their ability to stop the run will likely determine how well they can contend this Thursday.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think Missouri will come out with some fire this Thursday night in front of an ESPN primetime audience. I expect them to play well against the run and make things tough early. However, I do not think they will be able to keep it together all 4 quarters. These two teams are trending in opposite directions and I think that will be apparent as this game winds down. The Bulldogs have covered the mark in 5 of their last 7 games and I believe that trend continues this week. Take Mississippi State -7.5!
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