Mississippi State Bulldogs (5-2 SU, 5-2 ATS) vs. Texas A&M Aggies (5-2 SU, 5-2 ATS)
College Football Week 9
Date/Time: Saturday October 28th, 2017. 7:15PM (EST)
Where: Kyle Field College Station, T.X.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MSST -1.5/A&M +1.5
Over/Under Total: 53
A pair of SEC West teams will collide this Saturday in College Station when the Texas A&M Aggies host the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Kyle Field. In many ways, this game has a lot of similarities for each opponent. The Bulldogs and the Aggies share the same records 5-2 SU and 5-2 ATS. They have both suffered early season stumbles, rebounded, and now trying to prove that they can elevate their play to the next level to be among the top teams in the SEC West. With so many similarities, it is no surprise that the line for this game favors the Bulldogs by just 1.5 points in what is basically a pick em contest.
If the records and fight to move up the latter in the SEC West do not prove the similarities to both the Aggies and Bulldogs, then take a look at each teams style of play. Both the Bulldogs and the Aggies are very similar in what they do with the football. Coach Kevin Sumlin has refined his spread passing offense into rushing attack. The skill at the quarterback position with Kellen Mond just has not been productive enough to carry the offense in the passing game even with WR Christian Kirk on the outside. Mond has thrown 7 touchdowns but has completed just 53% passing with 4 interceptions this year. Meanwhile most focus has been put towards the running game with backs Trayveon Williams and Keith Ford who have combined for 12 touchdowns this year.
Mississippi State has not necessarily had to change the style of their offense because they have always been a run first attack under Dan Mullen. However, I believe it is safe to say that quarterback Nick Fitzgerald has not met expectations throwing the football. Fitzgerald like Mond, has struggled with a 56% completion rate while tossing 11 touchdowns with 7 picks. To Fitzgeralds credit, he does not have outstanding talent in the receiving corps but still most people expected him to throw the ball better in his junior season. Fortunately, Mississippi States offense has also benefitted from a solid running attack. Fitzgerald is 2nd on the team with 561 yards on the ground and leads the team with 9 touchdowns. Running back Aeis Williams leads the team with 594 yards on the ground and has added a pair of touchdowns as well.
As a result of relying on the running attacks, both teams have also had to put faith in ball control and playing defense. Now this is an area where I believe Mississippi State clearly has the advantage in terms of defense. The Bulldogs defense has yielded just 281 yards per game which is the 8th best mark in college football. The Aggies defensive issues were well documented early in the year with the 2nd half collapse to UCLA and then a 50-43 shootout with Arkansas. However, the Aggies have played much better in recent weeks. They held both South Carolina and Florida to less than 20 points in victories and held Alabama to their lowest total of the season in a 27-19 defeat.
So what can we expect on Saturday? Well I still believe Mississippi States defense is much better and I honestly believe their offense is better as well. This team ran into a buzz saw at Georgia when they were blown out 31-3 in Athens and then failed to regroup the next week in another big loss to Auburn. I think those games are behind Mississippi State and they have played much better including last weeks 45-7 blowout over Kentucky which indicates they are trending in the right direction. A road win over Texas A&M would prove that this is a good football team which is what most people believed before the back to back blowout losses to Georgia and Auburn.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The one thing that Mississippi State has struggled with defensively is speed and I dont think they will struggle in this game with the style of offense that the Aggies have turned to. I think this is one of the better plays of the week. Take Mississippi State -1.5. - Where are you betting this game? Does your bookie give you the the option to bet on games at -105 odds? NO! He’s charging you -110 (or more!) Sports betting is a game of edges. Don’t let the house get the edge on you! Start betting at discounted odds TODAY at 5Dimes Sportsbook!