Both teams are trying to bounce back from a loss last week when the no. 17 Auburn Tigers host the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Tigers have won four of the last five games in this series, including a 24-10 win last year. This week, the Tigers are favored by 5.5 points at home with an over/under of 50 points.
A week ago, Mississippi State was in the top-25 of the College Football Playoff rankings. But that changed after they came up short against Arkansas 31-28 despite erasing a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter. That loss took the Bulldogs out of the SEC West race, although they need just one more win to become bowl eligible.
As for Auburn, the Tigers are still alive in the SEC West race despite frustrating 20-3 loss to Texas A&M last week. That loss came on the heels of impressive wins over Arkansas and Ole Miss. However, the Tigers need to win out and get a little help in order to win the SEC West.
In the Nix of Time
After shining in those wins over Arkansas and Ole Miss, Auburn quarterback Bo Nix had a terrible game against Texas A&M, completing just 20 of 41 passes for a mere 153 yards. In his defense, the Texas A&M defense also shut down Auburn’s rushing attack, so Nix didn’t get much help. However, it’s rare for Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter to be contained like that, so Nix should be in a better position to succeed if those two can get going.
Meanwhile, the Auburn defense had a strong effort despite the loss last week, holding the Texas A&M offense to just four field goals. The Tigers have consistently won in the trenches this season, putting their defense in good shape. Outside of Georgia, no team has scored more than 28 points against the Tigers, with three of their five SEC opponents being held to 20 points or less.
Spread It Out
There is no secret about what the Mississippi State offense is going to do against Auburn. The Bulldogs have the fewest rushing yards in the country because of a lack of trying in Mike Leach’s air-raid offense and will instead let Will Rogers air it out as much as possible. But while Rogers has racked up a ton of yards and completed 75% of his passes this year, he’s been turnover-prone at times and struggled against some of the SEC’s best defenses.
In fairness, the Mississippi State defense is better than most people realize. They’ve been tough against the run in most of their games, forcing teams to beat them by throwing the ball. While that has hurt them at times, MSU is giving up just 25.3 points per game on the season, so it’s not as if they’ve been terrible defensively and are getting into shootouts every week.
Cats and Dogs
While underdogs, the Bulldogs should create a tough matchup for Auburn because they get the ball out quickly on offense and are capable of stopping the run. But Nix is good enough to bounce back from last week’s poor showing and get the Tigers back on track. Bet on Auburn to win and cover at home against Mississippi State.
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