College Football Picks: Back Troy to Cover +30.5 vs. Mississippi State

Mark Lathrop

Friday, October 9, 2015 6:26 PM GMT

Mississippi State is heavily favored on the college football odds in this matchup against Troy. Our handicapper analyzes this matchup and finds value in backing the heavy underdog in this game.

In an out of conference SEC vs. Sun Belt matchup, we have the Mississippi State Bulldogs hosting the Troy Trojans on Saturday afternoon. The early lines don’t pertain to a competitive matchup, as Mississippi State is favored at -30.5 on the college football odds board at multiple sportsbooks. To cover that spread you’ll have to score a bunch of points too, and thus the O/U total is listed at 56 points.

So, obviously the Trojans are overmatched in this one. But will Mississippi State put the pedal to the metal and blow this team out? I went back to take a look at some of the other games that Mississippi State has played over the years, with spreads favoring them by 28 points or more. The Bulldogs are 5-3 in games where they are favored by more than 28 in their last eight matchups. Interestingly enough, they were favored by only 13.5 points the last time they met Troy in 2013 and ended up winning 62-7.

Mississippi State ran into a really hot team the last time out, losing to Texas A&M 30-17. The Bulldogs were down big at halftime and couldn’t dig themselves out of that hole. Dual threat QB, Dak Prescott, did his best though passing for 210 yards and also adding 96 rushing yards on 18 attempts. It was Dak’s highest rushing output of the season, eclipsing his 8/72 effort in the opener against Southern Mississippi. That rushing threat was totally void in Mississippi State’s second loss this season against the LSU Tigers. That line looks like 10 attempts for -19 yards, mixed with 34 completions on an amazing 52 attempts for 335 yards. Guess the coaches wanted Dak’s arm to be sore after that game.

Although Troy is coming into this game at 1-3, it must be noted that two of those losses were against a ranked Wisconsin team and NC State on the road. They were 29.5 point underdogs against the Badgers and covered well, holding the Badgers to 28 points. The Troy defense is likely the key to them covering in this game, as they only allow 179.3 YPG passing. Ok, the fact that they give up over 218 YPG on the ground isn’t good, but it gives the blueprint of how Troy can keep this game from getting out of hand. In the game against Wisconsin, Troy gave up 202 yards rushing, but held the Badgers to 3-10 on 3rd down conversions. The result of this was lot of time running off the clock and less plays being run. And unlike the game at Northwestern State, the Mississippi State Bulldogs won’t be trying to get their QB passing yards to be the all-time leader in school history.

Mississippi State is unfortunately dealing with some injuries in this game, as starting safety Kendrick Market tore his ACL in the game against Texas A&M and will miss the rest of the season.

In this matchup I think the trends on the under give credence that there is value in backing the Trojans in this game. The Under is 5-1 in Troy’s last six games on the road, and Mississippi State has had the under cash in 4 of their last 5 games. If Troy can score about ten or so points, I like their chances of covering this big number. I’ll be taking Troy +30.5 at Bovada as one of this weekend’s college football picks.

College Football Picks: Troy +30.5 at Bovada

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