Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:50 AM EST.
Mississippi State -1½ -101 over Tulsa (Streaming on ESPN)
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl - Amon G. Carter Stadium – Fort Worth, TX
12:00 PM ET. We are going to continue our attack on the Golden Hurricane, as their market credibility has not worsened. If anything, it has increased further after narrowly losing to the Cincinnati Bearcats in the AAC Championship by a walk-off field goal despite taking back 13½ points at kickoff. The Golden Hurricane have been a cash cow throughout 2020 with a 7-1 against the spread record. Tulsa has looked good in their two losses this season at Oklahoma State to open up their campaign and against undefeated Cincy to close out. They have retained a top-25 ranking and now they’re evenly priced against a team with a losing record that backed its way into a bowl due to many programs opting out of the postseason.
A ranked team spotting a short number to an unranked team catches our attention, especially in an isolated New year’s Eve day game. It is also clear that Mississippi State is better than their 3-7 record indicates. The Bulldogs come in off their most impressive win of the season when they trounced Mizzou 51-32 less than two weeks ago in Starkville. Mississippi State was a small dog in that spot also against a Missouri team who had the better record and also was ranked before Georgia thumped them in Missouri a week before. Despite the MSU thrashing Mizzou, the media has attributed it to Missouri showing up in body and not spirit. Missouri had its sight set on upsetting Georgia. In the battle of the Bulldogs in Athens, Mississippi State played Georgia better than Mizzou did in Columbia. Yet, the Bulldogs of Mississippi State are still getting no respect.
In our prior analysis of the AAC Championship Game, we cited that Tulsa could be 1-6 as quick as they were 6-1, but the bounces went their way, or they caught the right teams at the right time. In Mississippi State’s case, it could have an impressive winning record but “in-game variances” worked against them. In fact, five of Mississippi State’s losses were by two touchdowns or less and that list includes Georgia (Between the Hedges), Texas A&M, Mississippi (in Oxford), Auburn, and Arkansas after the 'Dogs pulled off what was then a stunning upset in handing the defending national champion LSU their first loss of the season in Death Valley.
Tulsa on the other hand squeaked by Tulane (OT required), SMU, UCF, and ECU by virtue of theatrics in all four contests, while catching Navy in a lookahead spot, as it prepared for Army. Tulsa may have more wins but the Cowbells have a more solid résumé. The price reflects that and it also suggests that this game has Bulldogs written all over it. Had Mississippi State been a .500 team, we would expect them to be spotting a touchdown but thanks to records and results on paper as opposed to the performances, we get the superior team at a truly deflated price.
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Mississippi State -1½ -101 (Risking 2.02 units - To Win: 2.00)