College Football Picks: Kentucky vs. Mississippi State

Jeff Grant

Monday, October 21, 2013 2:55 PM GMT

Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 2:55 PM GMT

The Mississippi State Bulldogs are virtually in a must-win situation Thursday night if they plan on participating in a bowl game, as they prepare to host the Kentucky Wildcats at Davis Wade Stadium.

Looking for info on this week's games? Read our College Football Week 9 Betting Odds Report!

Let’s take a closer look at the college football odds page for this Southeastern Conference matchup, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. What kind of sports picks should we be considering for this early Week 9 game?

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 Quite a stretch

Kentucky played four consecutive top-20 ranked opponents for the first time in school history, with the program losing each of those contests and getting out-gained by a combined 995-yard margin.

The Wildcats are 1-5 SU and 2-4 ATS through six games of the 2013 season, with the only victory coming against the Miami OH Red Hawks—one of the worst teams in the country.

Fallen into a pattern

Mississippi State has alternated wins and losses over its first six games, as it comes off a 21-20 victory over the Bowling Green Falcons as 11.5-point home favorites October 12th, while going ‘Under’ the betting total of 52.

The Bulldogs have the ability to jump on top of the Wildcats in this matchup, considering they’ve outscored opponents by a 126-48 margin in the first half when playing at home.

Concerns under center

College football handicappers are going to have a hard time backing the road underdogs in this nationally-televised contest, as the Wildcats have been struck by injury under center in their first year under head coach Mark Stoops.

Kentucky sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith is expected to get the start despite suffering from shoulder issues, while Jalen Whitlow is doubtful to appear due to an ankle injury.

Running the football

The Bulldogs have rushed for 200-plus yards in five consecutive games, which should allow quarterbacks Dak Prescott and Tyler Russell to face manageable distances on third down.

Mississippi State is averaging 5.1 yards per carry, which fits nicely in facing a defense that’s allowing opponents to rush for the same exact number.

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Bulldogs in their college football picks, as they’ve covered the number in all six of their home wins versus SEC opponents as a favorite during the Dan Mullen era.

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NCAA FB Pick: Bet the Bulldogs minus the points; Mississippi State -10 at Bet365

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