LSU owns the rivalry with Mississippi State, winning 15 of the last 16 meetings outright and going 11-5 against the spread during that span. The Tigers hope to continue that dominance and open their SEC slate with a victory when they host the Bulldogs on Saturday down at Death Valley.
Point spread: This game opened as a pick ’em, but LSU is now favored by 14 points.
Odds Shark computer pick: Tigers 32.8, Bulldogs 29.8
Why the Mississippi State Bulldogs can cover the spread
After laying an egg in their season opener against South Alabama, the Bulldogs bounced back to beat South Carolina 27-14 last week, cashing in as 7.5-point favorites. Mississippi State scored a touchdown on its first possession of the game, led 24-0 at the half and then held on from there for the victory and the cover.
On the night, the Bulldogs nearly doubled the Gamecocks in yardage (485-243) while winning the ground battle 290-34.
Sophomore quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, trying to fill the shoes of the departed Dak Prescott, threw for 178 yards and two touchdowns against South Carolina while running for a school-record 195 more. Meanwhile, the MSU defense limited the Gamecocks to just 6-for-17 on third-down conversions.
The Bulldogs got upset in their opener by the Jaguars 21-20, but they blew a 17-0 halftime lead in that game and missed a chip-shot field goal at the end that should have bailed them out.
Why the LSU Tigers can cover the spread
The Tigers rebounded from their tough season-opening loss to Wisconsin to beat Jacksonville State 34-13 last week.
LSU, playing without Heisman Trophy candidate Leonard Fournette (sore ankle), went scoreless through the first quarter but made a change at quarterback and proceeded to score touchdowns on four straight possessions to take a 27-10 lead into halftime.
The Tigers extended that advantage to 34-10 late in the third quarter, pulling to within four points of covering the spread, but went conservative in the fourth quarter and didn’t score again.
For the night, LSU outrushed the Gamecocks 244-120, as backup running back Derrius Guice ran 19 times for 155 yards and a touchdown.
Backup quarterback Danny Etling, inserted in the second quarter in place of an inefficient Brandon Harris, didn’t exactly dazzle, finishing with six completions on 14 attempts. However, he certainly provided a spark, connecting with tight end DeSean Smith for a 46-yard scoring play in his first series that gave LSU the lead for good.
The Tigers’ quarterback situation remains uncertain for this week, but Fournette is expected to return.
LSU is likely to win this game with Fournette back on the field and perhaps improved quarterback play. But the spread on this contest certainly seems inflated toward the Tigers. Mississippi State might go through a rebuilding process this season, but its defense is still solid and should keep this one close.
The Bulldogs are the smart bet here, plus the points.
- Mississippi State is 5-14 ATS in its last 19 games against LSU.
- LSU is 27-3 straight up in its last 30 games in September.
- Mississippi State is 15-6 ATS in its last 21 games against its conference.
All betting information courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates, Odds Shark on YouTube for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.
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Source: Bleacher Report -SEC Football