This article is part of our College Football Picks series.
Mississippi State at Alabama Odds, Betting Picks and Predictions for Week 8
Well we are about two thirds of the way through the regular season now and boy did things get shaken up last week. With Alabama's loss to Tennessee the SEC landscape is wide open and lots remains to be settled. Mississippi State's cross state rival Ole Miss remains undefeated and is now first in the SEC West. Alabama still controls their own destiny as a matchup with the Rebels is scheduled for the second Saturday in November. Mike Leach's Bulldogs don't have much championship hope remaining following a loss to Kentucky which now gives them two conference losses. Leach however hopes to follow the suit of his former pupil Josh Heupel in knocking off the Crimson Tide. A few school records could also be broken on Saturday as Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers tied Dak Prescott's career touchdown passes record last week with 70, Rogers also sits 337 yards shy of Prescott's career passing yards record of 9,376.
Mississippi State at Alabama Odds for Week 8
Spread: Alabama -21 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Total: 60.5 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Moneyline: Alabama -1700; Mississippi State +890 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Both the spread and total were set at Alabama -21 and 60.5 on Sunday and have not moved much since. To bettors and myself included these look to be very well set lines. Alabama has had many struggles lately and have been very inconsistent across the board. However their offense, well seemingly every SEC offense, matches up pretty well against this Mississippi State defense. The Bulldogs have given up over 400 yards to three of four SEC teams opponents so far this season, the lone outlier being Texas A&M and they managed to put up 388 yards of offense.
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Mississippi State at Alabama Betting Picks Week 8
The determining factor for handicapping this matchup likely comes down to the Mississippi State offense against the Alabama defense. Despite coming off of their worst performance in program history since 1904 against "The School of the South," Sewanee, Alabama still ranks fifth in Defensive EPA (via CFB Graphs). Meanwhile, even with some gaudy passing numbers on the season from Rogers and the Bulldogs' passing attack, they rank just 64th in EPA. This can be slightly contextualized as well as Leach likes to use the short passing game in a similar manner as he would the running game; using short high percentage throws to get 3 or so yards on early downs to stay ahead of the chains. This tactic certainly dilutes a team's EPA which measures success weighted for explosiveness. While metrics certainly bode well for the Tide here that is not the be-all-end-all as Mike Leach, the King of the Air Raid, might have a few tricks up his sleeve after seeing his protégé exploit the Tide defense. This Mississippi State offense also touts the best running game (90.3 yards per game) for any team coached by Leach since his Washington State Cougars in 2016. A solid ground attack should help keep Alabama honest. But is all this enough?
Mississippi State at Alabama Best Bet: Alabama -21 at FanDuel Sportsbook
Mississippi State at Alabama Prediction
Despite leading the country in penalties and inconsistent play, the Crimson Tide should have no issues moving the football on offense and the defense should bounce back from last week. When you take a look at the metrics surrounding the Crimson Tide defense they actually look very similar to those of the Kentucky defense that held this Mississippi State offense to just 17 points. Another help to the Tide defense could be the lack of an outstanding wide receiver for the Bulldogs. While Mississippi State does have four players Jo'quavious Marks (RB), Dillon Johnson (RB), Austin Williams (WR) and Jaden Walley (WR), that now rank among the 10 highest pass catchers in school history, none of the wide receiving corps has been all that outstanding this year. All that being said I think the Tide have a bounce bank game this week and roll past the Bulldogs 42-17.
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