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How and what to watch for Auburn vs. Mississippi State

Mike Leach’s first season in Starkville hasn’t gone as planned for the Bullgods

Head coach Gus Malzahn of the Auburn Tigers reacts with Bo Nix after he rushed for a touchdown against the Texas A&M Aggies during the second half at Jordan-Hare Stadium on December 05, 2020 in Auburn, Alabama. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Saturday night the 2-6 Mississippi State Bulldogs look to get back in the win column when they welcome the 5-4 Auburn Tigers to Starkville.

New MSU head coach Mike Leach was hired because of his high-flying offense, but that hasn’t shown itself this season outside of Week 1. The Bulldogs are scoring an average of just 18 points per game this season and have essentially totally abandoned the run game, averaging less than 30 yards per outing on the ground. Mississippi State is also turning the ball over at an absurd rate, with 20 total giveaways on the season. The Auburn defense doesn’t force free possessions, but State is basically giving the ball away, so they should nab a few turnovers this week.

The Tigers have a much more balanced and effective offense than MSU, scoring 26 points per game on average. Auburn passes for 220 yards each week and runs for about 170, so they’re never really forced to go away from one or the other. Their defense is decent against the pass too, only allowing 239 yards through the air each week. That will go up this week against the air-raid offense, but their rush yards allowed could shrink to nearly zero against the Bulldogs.

Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming

You can watch Auburn vs. Mississippi State on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET on the SEC Network, or you can stream it via the Fox Sports Go app with a cable or streaming login.

Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends

Point spread: Auburn (-7) vs. Mississippi State
Point Total: 49.5
Money line: Auburn (-250) vs. Mississippi State (+200)

Betting splits against the spread

Auburn: (69% of action, 77% of bets)
Mississippi State: (31% of action, 23% of bets)

  • The total has gone under in all but one of Auburn's last six games.
  • The total has gone under in all of the Tigers’ last five games on the road.
  • Mississippi State is 2-5 ATS in their last seven, becoming a safe team to bet against early in Leach’s tenure.
  • The total has gone under in all but one of MSU’s last seven games

The Best Bet

Looking at how both of these teams play and the recent trends, the best bet here is the point total. MSU’s offense has been horrible this season and they cough up the football at an insane rate. The Tigers have been fine, but they won’t overpower anybody.

Pick: Under 49.5

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