College Football Pick on Missouri +8 to Hang with Bulldogs

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, November 2, 2015 10:12 PM GMT

Some think this SEC contest is a mismatch due to the lack of offense by Missouri, but it could be closer than many think when the Tigers host Mississippi State Thursday night.

 

The 24th ranked team in the country could face more resistance than many believe on national television Thursday night when those Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-2, 5-3 ATS) pay a visit to the offensively challenged but defensively talented Missouri Tigers (4-4, 2-6 ATS) in SEC action from Faurot Field in Columbia, MO at 9:00 ET.

The point spread at Bet365 has Missouri as a decided home underdog for this contest with the current line at +8 with odds of -110.

 

First Ever Meeting
Somewhat surprisingly, this is the first ever meeting between these schools with Missouri not joining the SEC until 2012 and with the teams being in opposite divisions. And the Tigers have actually made a quick ascent up the conference as the two-time SEC East Champions, although they have been defeated in the SEC Championship Game each of those last two years. Unfortunately the Tigers will not make it a three-peat as they are 1-4 in the SEC in 2015.

Mississippi State meanwhile comes out of the more stacked SEC West and the Bulldogs have been the winning college football picks the last three games, but two of those wins were out of conference and, at 2-2 in SEC play, they trail 4-0 LSU by two games in the division with the deficit effectively being three games due to a head-to-head home loss to LSU early in the season.

 

Dreadful Offense, Great Defense
The problems for Missouri have all been on the offensive end, as the Tigers have been out of sorts on that side of the ball with projected starting quarterback Maty Mauk suspended since last playing in their first loss of the season at Kentucky following a 3-0 start. Granted Missouri then won its first game without Mauk vs. South Carolina to get to 4-1, but the Tiger have since lost three straight games while not scoring a single touchdown and totaling 12 points.

That leaves Mizzou 127th out of 128 FBS teams in scoring offense with 14.9 points per game and 126th in total offense with 277.6 yards per contest, and it was just learned that Mauk is now suspended for the rest of the season, meaning the mostly ineffective Drew Lock is the starter under center for the time being.

So how can Missouri possibly compete with a nationally ranked team here? Well, besides feeding off the energy of a weeknight home crowd with the ESPN cameras in town, the Tigers do still have an outstanding defense capable of keeping them in any game. The Missouri defense is ranked third in the country on points against at 12.5 per game, sixth in total defense allowing 282.1 yards per contest, sixth in passing defense and 24th in rushing defense.

 

Alabama Up Next
That defense could put Mississippi State in a precarious situation here, as it would be very easy for the Bulldogs to overlook the perceived weaker opponents from Columbia in a non-division game while looking ahead to their humongous home battle with the Alabama Crimson Tide next week.

And besides facing a great defense here, another reason why looking ahead to Alabama could prove costly is because Mississippi State has not been that great while playing three road games so far, failing to cover the spread at Southern Miss early on, losing outright at Texas A&M and getting its only road cover in very unconvincing manner with a lackadaisical 17-9 win at Auburn.

The home vs. away splits for the Bulldogs have been rather extreme too, as this is a team that is averaging 35.1 points and 445.1 total yards per game overall, and yet has averaged just 22.7 points and 391.3 yards in the three games away from Starkville, all vs. lesser defenses than Missouri possesses.

 

Low Scoring Game Helps the Underdog
Finally, this figures to be a fairly low scoring game (the posted toal is 39) that gives inherent value to the underdogs getting more than a touchdown, and remember that Mississippi State has not been a great traveling team while going just 1-4 ATS in its last five road games. Meanwhile, Missouri is 15-7 ATS in its last 22 games vs. teams with winning records while usually being undervalued.

That could be the case again here as while we freely admit that the Missouri offense has been a throwback to the stone ages, its defense remains at an elite level and that should be enough of a reason to take more than a touchdown at home vs. 24th ranked Mississippi State Thursday night on ESPN.

College Football Pick: Missouri +8 (-110)

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