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How and what to watch for Armed Forces Bowl: Tulsa vs. Mississippi State

Tulsa is coming off a near-upset of No. 8 Cincinnati, while Mississippi State just wants to have something positive come from 2020.

NCAA Football: Tulsa at Cincinnati Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

On New Year’s Eve the 6-2 Tulsa Golden Hurricane will be looking to cap off their best season in recent history when they go toe-to-toe with the 3-7 Mississippi State Bulldogs in the Armed Forces Bowl from Carter Stadium on the campus of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.

Mississippi State has struggled a lot in Year 1 of the Mike Leach era. The Air Raid offense was fantastic in Week 1 against LSU, but floundered for the vast majority of the campaign. That is until its final regular-season game against Mizzou, where the Bulldogs had their best game of the season scoring over 50 points in the win. Leach’s style is built on pass efficiency, but that’s going to be a hard thing to have against a Golden Hurricane defense that allows under 200 yards per game through the air.

Tulsa has had an outstanding season built on their defense. Linebacker Zaven Collins won the Nagurski Trophy, given to the best defensive player in college football. However, he announced he’s opting out of the game to focus on the NFL Draft, which will leave a big hole in the unit. Still, it’s a group that can get after the football, earning 16 total takeaways this season, including two against No. 8 Cincinnati in the AAC title game. The Golden Hurricane offense is never going to overpower a team like the Bulldogs have been capable of at times this season. Their defense gives them a shot to win, and the offense usually does just enough to get it done.

Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming

You can watch Tulsa vs. Mississippi State in the Armed Forces Bowl on Thursday, December 31 at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN. You can stream it via WatchESPN or the ESPN app with a cable or streaming service login.

Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends

Point spread: Tulsa (-2.5) vs Mississippi State
Point Total: 46.5
Money line: Tulsa (-132), Miss St. (+108)

  • Tulsa tends to keep it close in a win or a loss, but have still found a way to go 7-1 ATS in their last eight games.
  • The Golden Hurricane are 5-0 ATS in their last five games played in the month of December.
  • Mississippi State has been less favorable to bettors, going 3-6 ATS in their last nine.
  • Even with an offense that has the potential to put up massive numbers, the under has hit in seven of the Bulldogs’ last nine games.

The Best Bet

Tulsa for sure wants to be here against an SEC team. Mississippi State? Who knows. But Tulsa can turn you over (2.0 takeaways per game), and Mississippi State has thrown 18 INT’s alone. The talent gap here is wide, but so might be the motivation. Get it down before it gets on the other side of a field goal.

Pick: Tulsa -2.5

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