Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:30 AM EST.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -1½ over Mississippi
Davis Wade Stadium – Starkville, MS
7:30 PM EST. As many dig into candied yams and stuffing to commemorate a holiday of giving thanks, the Egg Bowl is a story of historic acrimony between the Bulldogs and Rebels. It is for that reason that the oddsmakers have priced this contest as a 50/50 proposition despite the Rebels owning a top-10 ranking compared to the Dogs who sit unranked presently. That resonates with us, as it signals to take a closer look at the team from Starkville who will play host to this year’s edition of the fabled rivalry.
The market has taken a fondness toward the Rebels given the fact they have a shiny ranking, a quarterback who would be a Heisman finalist if he were healthy, one of the more colorful personalities in all of College Football in boss man Lane Kiffin, and of course the eye candy offense which the market eats up.
Our job as handicappers is to look past all of that which cultivates demand but instead look where the value can be found. Don’t allow Ole Miss’ ranking to influence you like it will so many others on a day where a ton of people will make their only football bets of the year, a tradition, just like the holiday. For example, last week three teams were ranked inside the top-11 and two of those teams were annihilated; see Oregon and Wake Forest. If we were to explore this further, Michigan State at one point was ranked in the top-three and they were getting points at Purdue, Iowa was getting points at Wisconsin when they were hovering around the top-10 and the Badgers were unranked. All of the aforementioned ranked teams suffered hideous losses. There is no reason to suspect that a similar situation cannot unfold in Stark Vegas.
Mississippi State has the offense to go tit-for-tat with their arch rival but the Rebels do not have the defense to back it up. Their defense ranks in the bottom echelons in terms of total yards against per game (Ole Miss ranks 101st), and while they were able to get away with that against the likes of Vanderbilt, LSU, Texas A&M, Austin Peay, and Tulane who all may not have the most comprehensive offensive packages, the Rebs are quite fortunate to be 9-2 when a potent offense took the fight to good old Mississippi. Auburn and Alabama hung 73 points on the Rebels and generated enough defensive stops to gain separation. Ole Miss could have easily lost two more games this season against Arkansas and Tennessee had a failed two-point conversion attempt and referee interjection not gone in their favor. The Hogs and Vols incidentally are teams also known for their offensive acumen and against these two sides, the Rebels surrendered 77 points. Now, Ole Miss’ defense is tasked with another tough assignment against a battle-tested bunch in a hostile environment. Ole Miss has proven jack but today we get the better team at a serious discount because Ole Miss is a misleading 9-2.
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MISSISSIPPI ST -2½ -103 (Risking 2.06 units - To Win: 2.00)