Over/Under 8.5 Wins () vs Mississippi State Bulldogs ()Date : 09/01/2018
Time : Stephen F. Austin @ Mississippi State 6:30 PM
Location : Davis Wade Stadium
Pick, Prediction, & Preview:
Over/Under 8.5 Wins vs Mississippi State Bulldogs
Mississippi State is ready to turn the page on their former coach Dan Mullen who departed for Florida this past offseason, but they were able to make a solid hire as they snagged former Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead. Moorhead may not be a common household name in terms of SEC coaches as his only head coaching experience was with FCS Fordham from 2012 to 2015 but don’t be fooled as he is still a mastermind especially on the offensive side of things. Moorhead will also be in very good shape as he will return his starting quarterback as well as 7 starters on the defensive side of the ball. Moorhead was not very successful in his first recruiting trail as he ranked 9th of 14th in terms of SEC teams. Mississippi State may not need the young talent just yet as they have experience throughout their lineup which could essentially lead to some potential upsets this season.
Over/Under 8.5 Wins's Latest Performance :
Mississippi State finished 2017 with a 9-3 regular season record and a loss to Louisville in the TaxSlayer Bowl which has oddsmakers setting the over/under at 8.5 wins which would essentially match last seasons performance. This is a brave line to back considering the fact that Mississippi State will be playing under a new coach in the toughest division in football.
Important Stretch Of Games
Mississippi State was given no favors this season in the SEC portion of their schedule as they will have to play Florida, Auburn, LSU, and Texas A&M in consecutive weeks. They have the chance to drop all 4 games if the senior infested lineup doesn’t adjust well to their new coach Joe Moorhead. These games will tell us a lot about the competitiveness of this team and whether they are good enough to compete in a tough SEC West. Mississippi State scheduled 4 non-SEC teams this season with the hardest of those matchups being a road game against a sneaky good Kansas State team but given the roster Moorhead possesses I see no reason they shouldn’t sweep their non-conference schedule. Moorhead will also be tested in his SEC road games as he will have to travel to both Alabama and LSU as well as to their in-state rival Ole Miss. Mississipi State has no room for error if they want to be a team worthy of a New Years Six bowl.
Mississippi State Bulldogs's Latest Performance :
Moorhead may not be an experienced head coach but he has an experienced QB in Nick Fitzgerald who is set to return back to the field for his senior season after breaking his ankle in the 2017 Egg Bowl. Dan Mullen was able to develop Fitzgerald into a Tim Tebow type of player as he has potential to be a 1500+ passing yard and 1000+ rushing yard guy. Fitzgerald threw for 15 TDs last season but he made more of a mark on the ground as he rushed for 984 yards and 14 TDs. Moorhead should also be satisfied with the future as backup Keytaon Thompson was very solid for Mississippi State especially in their bowl win against Louisville. Mississippi State receivers were nothing special last season as they didn’t have one guy crack the 300+ yard mark but things could change this season as Moorhead was able to bring in three 4-star recruits in Devonta Jason, Stephen Guidry, and Malik Heath. Senior Aeris Williams is coming off a career year where he led Mississippi State in rushing with 1107 yards, and he should be a force again in what will be a senior-filled backfield. Defensively Mississippi State should thrive under new defensive coordinator Bob Shoop as the top two tacklers in Mack McLaurin and Jonathan Abram return for another year. Montez Sweat should also thrive in the new defense after having 10.5 sacks during his junior season. Linebacker could be the spot that concerns Mississippi State as they will have to break in 2 new guys in those spots.
Player To Watch
Mack McLaurin, DB, SR.
McLaurin could have left for the draft this past season and have been picked pretty high up but the senior decided it would be better for him to not only return for his senior year and expand on his skill set but to win a championship. McLaurin didn’t only lead the team in tackles from the safety spot (79) but also led the team in interceptions as he compiled over 6. McLaurin will be Shoop’s go-to guy in terms of translating calls and making big-time plays in a senior infested lineup. I expect McLaurin to take another step forward and have an even bigger year for the Bulldogs.
How Over/Under 8.5 Wins & Mississippi State Bulldogs Matchup.
Vegas Odds, Offshore Odds, & Odds ATS:
Over 8.5 -110
Under 8.5 -110
In-Depth Analysis of each team:
9/1- Stephen F. Austin- W
9/8- @ Kansas State- W
9/15- Louisiana- W
9/22- @ Kentucky- W
9/29- Florida- W
10/6- Auburn- L
10/20- @ LSU- L
10/27- Texas A&M- W
11/3- Louisiana Tech- W
11/10- @ Alabama- L
11/17- Arkansas- W
11/24- @ Ole Miss- L
Overall Record- 8-4
Against The Spread Selection: Under 8.5 Wins -110
My reason for the pick :
As we have stated Mississippi State has a tough SEC schedule and although they should power through most of it the 9 win mark is a hard task to ask for an inexperienced head coach. The one game that the over/under should come down to is the final game against Ole Miss and even though they are better than their rivals they have to travel into a hostile environment. Since Ole Miss is ineligible for postseason play this season the Egg Bowl is as close to a meaningful game they get and I don’t think Mississippi State’s new coaching staff understands the intensity of this rivalry just yet. In order for the over to hit, this team will have to beat Auburn at home or have to win at either LSU or Alabama which are all hard task considering the teams they have this season. I wouldn’t count out the veteran team just yet but I just don’t see Fitzgerald and company upsetting these teams and going over the win total.