Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Alabama Crimson Tide: College Football Free Pick

Jose VasquezArticles, College Football, Football

In a game featuring a couple of programs that are nationally ranked in the Top 20, the No. 18 Mississippi State Bulldogs (+25) are set to pay a visit to the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium. CBS has the TV rights and this important SEC game is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Betting Preview: Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

Mississippi State is the noticeable underdog here and is currently getting 25 points by bookmakers. If the Bulldogs seize momentum early it would create a worthwhile in-game betting scenario. Oddsmakers have determined the over/under (O/U) to be 51.5 points.

This game’s opening line was -24. The total has yet to move after being set initially at 51.5.

The Bulldogs are 6-3 against the spread (ATS) and have lost 4.7 units so far in 2018. They’ve been a good under bet and have recorded an O/U mark of 1-7.

The Crimson Tide have gained 1.0 unit for moneyline bettors this season. They’re 6-3 ATS and the over’s hit in six of their games.

The perfect Bulldogs have gone 6-3 straight up (SU), including 2-3 SU against conference opponents. The Crimson Tide are 9-0 SU overall and 6-0 SU in conference play.

When these two schools faced each other a year ago, Alabama won by a touchdown 31-24.

The Bulldogs are coming off a resounding 45-3 win over Louisiana Tech last week. The Bulldogs defense allowed Louisiana Tech to run for 140 yards on 32 rush attempts. On the offensive side, Nick Fitzgerald completed 17 passes for 243 yards and four touchdowns. Fitzgerald (107 yards on 18 rush attempts) also led the ground attack. Hill (five receptions, 38 yards, one TD) and Deddrick Thomas (three catches, 70 yards, one TD) handled the receiving duties in the win.

Alabama is coming off of a 29-0 win over LSU. Tua Tagovailoa completed 25-of-42 passes for 295 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Damien Harris (107 rushing yards on 19 attempts, one TD) and Najee Harris (83 yards on six carries) mounted the running game while Jerry Jeudy (eight receptions, 103 yards) and Jaylen Waddle (four catches, 44 yards) led the receiving attack in the win.

Each of these squads has a similar (59-41) run-pass ratio on the season. The Bulldogs have rushed for 230.8 yards per game (including 170.6 per game against Southeastern opponents) and have 19 scores on the ground this year. The Tide are averaging 224.0 rush yards per game (208.0 in conference) and have 23 total rushing TDs.

The Bulldogs offense has averaged 187.0 yards through the air overall (122.4 per game against conference opposition) and has 15 passing TDs so far. The Tide have recorded an astonishing 341.6 pass yards per contest (353 in the SEC) and have 33 total pass scores.

Mississippi State appears to possess an edge when it comes to limiting the pass. The team has let opponents run for an average of 111.4 yards and pass for 167.2 yards per game. The Alabama D has allowed 193.3 yards per game to opposing passers and 102.1 yards per game on the ground. Both teams allow similar adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) to opponents, as the Bulldogs have given up an ANY/A of 3.46 to opposing QBs, while the Tide are yielding an ANY/A of 3.64.

Offensively, Fitzgerald has put up 1,011 passing yards this year. The signal-caller has connected on 86-of-175 attempts with eight scores through the air and seven interceptions. Fitzgerald’s got a 3.96 adjusted net yards per pass attempt overall, although that number is 10.00 over the past two outings.

Look for Fitzgerald to attack all areas of the Alabama secondary. Nick Fitzgerald (347 receiving yards), Stephen Guidry (207 yards, two TDs) and Osirus Mitchell (347 yards, three TDs) have all been heavily involved recently.

Tua Tagovailoa has completed 113-of-165 passes for 2,055 yards, 23 TDs and one INT for Alabama. His ANY/A stands at 14.44 for the season and 9.32 over his past two games.

Jerry Jeudy (808 receiving yards, nine receiving touchdowns this season), Jaylen Waddle (384 receiving yards, two receiving TDs) and Damien Harris (530 rush yards, five rush TDs) have each played big roles recently. The trio has combined to account for 472 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns over the past two games.

Mississippi State Bulldogs at Alabama Crimson Tide Free Pick

SU Winner: Alabama, ATS Winner: Mississippi State, O/U: Under

Betting Trends

  • The Alabama defense has sacked opposing QBs 31 times this season. Mississippi State has produced just 23 sacks.
  • The Alabama offense has lost four fumbles this season while Mississippi State has yet to lose any.
  • The Bulldogs offense has produced four pass plays of 40 yards or more, while the Crimson Tide have accounted for 17 such plays.
  • Both defenses have allowed two pass plays of 40+ yards. The Mississippi State defense has given up five pass plays of 30+ yards while Alabama has given up six such plays.
  • The Mississippi State offense has created 19 rushing plays of 20 or more yards, while Alabama has created 15 such runs.
  • The Bulldogs defense has allowed six rushing plays of 20 yards or more, while the Crimson Tide have given up nine such runs.
  • The Over/Under for Alabama’s last matchup going into it was 51.5. The under cashed in the 29-0 victory over LSU.
  • Over its last three games, Alabama is 3-0 ATS and the under cashed in two of those three.
  • In its last three matchups, Mississippi State is 2-1 ATS and the under cashed in each of those three.
  • The O/U for Mississippi State’s last game was 48.5. The under cashed in the team’s 45-3 victory over Louisiana Tech.
  • Mississippi State has produced 6.1 yards per carry over its last three contests and 6.4 over its last two.
  • Alabama has averaged 5.5 yards per carry over its last three matchups and 6.3 over its last two.