Saturday afternoon CFB action and a pair of teams from the Southeastern Conference will go to war as the Mississippi State Bulldogs grapple with the LSU Tigers. This contest has a start time of 7:00 pm ET and will take place at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Bulldogs enter off a 23-9 home win over Auburn back on October 6th, while the Tigers come in off a shocking 36-16 home win over #2 Georgia last week. MSU won this game at home last year by a score of 37-7.
Bulldogs Use Defense To Stifle Auburn
The Mississippi State Bulldogs started out 3-0 on the year and were ranked in the top 15 in the nation, but then they fell to 0-2 in the SEC with a road loss to Kentucky and a home loss to Florida. MSU then bounced back with a very solid 23-9 home win over Auburn back on October 6th. The offense has been struggling for the Bulldogs, and we will get to that in a moment, but the defense has been very tough as they have allowed just 22 points in their last two games, including just nine in the win over the Tigers. That was expected to be one of the better offenses in the league, but it has struggled and MSU had no trouble keeping it that way. State allowed Auburn just three field goals and 304 yards of total offense in the game, including just 90 yards on the ground. That run defense is now 14th in the nation and stopping the run is key to stopping LSU. MSU has now allowed just 320.3 ypg and 16.7 ppg in SEC play so far. Overall, they rank 8th in total defense, 14th against the pass,18th against the pass and 1st in points allowed, giving up just 12.7 ppg.
⏪📽️ First half of the 2018 regular season ☑️
— MSU Football 🏈 (@HailStateFB) October 13, 2018
Now to the bad for MSU. This was an offense that was expected to be very good as they had plenty coming back from last year, including QB Nick Fitzgerald, but it just hasn’t panned out that way for them The Bulldogs enter this contest ranked 48th in total offense, 105th in passing, 18th in rushing and 60th in scoring at 31.0 ppg. They are not terrible numbers overall, but within the SEC they have averaged just 273.7 ypg and 12 ppg. Those are terrible numbers and more bad news for the Bulldogs is the fact that they will be taking on one of the best defenses in the league in this one. Their strength is the running game, but the run defense is the strength of the Tigers. Fitzgerald leads the team in rushing with 513 yards, while as a passer, he has thrown for 709 yards on just 49.6% passing with four TDs and three INTs. It is clear that his legs and the Bulldog defense will be key if they hope to spring the upset.
LSU Stuns #2 Georgia
The LSU Tigers have had a fine season so far as they have gone 6-1 to climb to #5 in the nation. Their lone loss was a couple of weeks ago at Florida, but they followed that up by making a statement against Georgia at home last week. The Bulldogs entered that game ranked number two in the nation, but the Tigers beat them handily by a score of 36-16. Their defense was extremely tough as they held a powerful Georgia offense to just 322 yards of offense, including 204 through the air. The Tigers held Jake Fromm to under 50% passing and picked him off twice in the game. The Tigers are led by their defense and they have a shot at strong showing against a struggling MSU offense. Stopping their ground game is keep to stopping that offense and the Tigers are 25th in the nation against the run. Last year, the Bulldogs piled up 465 yards of total offense, including 285 yards on the ground against this defense in a 37-7 MSU win. They cannot let that happen again or they will not be ranked 5th in the nation next week. LSU ranks 33rd in total defense, 57th against the pass and 17th in points allowed, giving up just 16.9 ppg.
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) October 15, 2018
The offense has not been that strung for the Bulldogs, but they did hang 36 points and 475 yards of total offense against a very tough Bulldog defense. The Tigers rolled up 275 yards on the ground and they got a solid game from Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who rumbled for 145 yards in the contest. He now has 475 yards rushing on the year. Joe Burrow hit just 15/30 passes for 200 yards and no TDs, but he also threw no picks and ran for 66 yards and two scores. Burrow has thrown for 1415 yards on just 53.3% passing with six TDs and two INTs while rushing for 242 yards and four TDs. They will need a good game from him, but will not be easy as the MSU defense is one of the best in the nation and that defense has been on fire of late. If Burrow struggles, then the LSU offense will struggle. The Tigers are ranked 72nd in total offense, 101st in passing, 37th in rushing and 52nd in scoring putting up 32.0 ppg.
- 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following an ATS win
- 0-4 ATS their last four games in this series
Mississippi State is;
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
- 7-2 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
This should be a tight hard-fought game and I do see the Bulldogs being able to cover it. Their defense has been outstanding all year and even better of late, which should keep a mediocre LSU offense from putting up enough points to run away from this one. LSU put up 36 on Georgia last week, but the MSU defense is better and LSU was held to just seven points by this defense last year. The Bulldogs don’t have a great offense, but they did run for 285 yards on this defense last year. I will look for the Tigers to win this one, but the game will come down to a late field goal, so take the points with MSU.
Prediction: Mississippi State +6.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Can you guess the way I will be going on the total? It’s not rocket science, especially with the strength of these defenses. I know that the O/U line will be low, but that doesn’t scare me at all. MSUs three conference games have averaged just 28.7 ppg and they really pack their defense on the road as they have allowed just 256.5 ypg and 19.0 ppg in their two games away from home. The Tigers have played some higher scoring games of late, but still, their defense has been very good as they have allowed just 19.7 ppg in their last three games overall and just 14 ppg at home. Both defenses are strong and the Bulldogs have averaged just 12.0 ppg in league play thus far. Do not be surprised if this game puts up less than 35 points, in fact, I will call for a 17-14 LSU win.
Prediction: Under 46
Full-Game Prop Bet
The Bulldogs have averaged 33 ppg over their last three games, but they will be a bit flat after that huge win over Georgia and we note that the Bulldogs have one of the best defenses in the nation. MSU has also allowed just 16.7 ppg over their last three games. Neither team will reach 20 points in this one.
Prediction: LSU Team Total Under 26.5
Half-Time Side Pick
I feel that this is a complete letdown spot for the Tigers after beating Georgia last week and that should allow the Bulldogs to get off to a nice start. The LSU offense is not great and the MSU defense will keep them under wraps, while Nick Fitzgerald and company will do enough in the first half to grab a lead at the break. Take MSU over a flat LSU squad in the first half.
Prediction: Mississippi State +3.5
Half-Time Total Bet
This should be a defensive battle from the get-go. The Bulldogs have allowed just 12.7 ppg on the year, including a mere 3.7 ppg in the first half. The Tigers have allowed 16.9 ppg on the year, including 6.3 ppg in the first half overall. They have also allowed a mere 3.2 ppg in the first half at home. Both defenses will come to play early in this one.
Prediction: Under 22.5
Half-Time Prop Prediction
This game might not see any scoring in the first quarter at all. It is a huge game in the SEC and both will feel each other out at the start of this one. The defenses are among the best in the nation and the offense are not that strong. Look for no scoring in the first 6.5 Minutes of this one.
Prediction: No Scoring In First 6.5 Minutes (-120)