Another week in college football means another week where a big SEC matchup could determine the outcome of the College Football Playoff. This time No. 1 Mississippi State battles No. 5 Alabama in a contest that will go a long way in determining which team from the SEC represents the conference for the Selection Committee.
Both Alabama and Mississippi State controls its own destiny. For football handicappers, it comes down to who will cover the spread. Can Alabama beat Mississippi State by 7 points or more on Saturday? Click here for more NCAAF odds.
No. 1 Mississippi State Bulldogs at No. 5 Alabama Crimson Tide
When: Saturday, Nov. 15 at 3:30 pm ET
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL
Betting Line: Alabama -8.5
Moneyline: Bulldogs +270 vs Crimson Tide -330
Miss State Vs. Bama Week 12 NCAAF Free Pick Analysis
Undefeated Mississippi State has done everything asked of it including beating Auburn 38 to 23 at home, Texas A&M 48 to 31 at home when the Aggies’ were ranked, and LSU 34 to 29 on the road early in the season as a +7 point road dog.
The Bulldogs are a legit 9 and 0 straight up team, but it hasn’t translated to covers against the spread. Mississippi State is only 5 and 4 ATS overall. The Bulldogs are actually 0 and 3 ATS in their last 3 games. This includes not covering spreads against Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee-Martin. But, the Bulldogs go into this game as a road dog and the last time that happened they destroyed LSU straight up in Baton Rouge.
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) November 12, 2014
History has a chance of repeating itself because as bad as Mississippi State has been against the spread this season, Alabama has been worse. The Crimson Tide is a terrible 3 and 6 ATS overall. More importantly, Alabama is a ridiculously bad, for an SEC team, 2 and 3 against the spread at home. There is a sliver of hope for Alabama backers, though. The Crimson Tide is 2 and 1 against the spread in their last 3 games.
The covers include a 59 to 0 home victory over Texas A&M as a -11 point favorite and the impressive 20 to 13 victory over LSU as a -6.5 point road favorite in Baton Rouge last Saturday. Alabama’s defense has stepped it up big time lately, which is why they’ve started to cover spreads. The ‘Bama D is allowing only 274.8 total yards per game. Teams average only 13.9 point per game and teams rush for 89.3 yards per.
Alabama’s defense is going to need to be very good against Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott who leads an offense that’s ranked seventh in the nation while averaging 522 total yards on offense including 267.2 passing yards and 254.9 rushing yards per contest. Mississippi State averages close to 40 points per game.
On offense Alabama is scoring 35 points per game. The Crimson Tide should be able to exploit some holes in the Bulldogs’ defense since Mississippi State is allowing over 400 yards per game.
The trends point to a Bulldogs cover since Mississippi State is 8 and 2 ATS versus a team with a winning record and 4 and 1 against the spread in their last 5 games on the road. Alabama is 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing less than 275 total yards in their previous game.
These teams appear evenly matched. Dak Prescott should keep this one close, though, which will make points a premium. It’s difficult to give up what could be more than a touchdown by kick off to the number one ranked team in the nation. Mississippi State is the play.
NCAAF Week 12 Free Pick: Mississippi State +7