There are not many easy games in the SEC, and the top ranked Mississippi St. Bulldogs (7-0) are well aware that they cannot afford to have an off week if they hope to punch their ticket to the SEC Championship Game and the inaugural college football playoff. The Bulldogs host Arkansas (4-4) this Saturday evening (7:15pm ET) at Davis-Wade Stadium in Starkville, MS in a game that has the potential to be a physical and intense contest. Arkansas comes into this game fresh off of a 45-17 home win over UAB last week that ended a 3 game losing streak for the Razorbacks. They have lost all of their conference games this season, falling to Auburn (45-21), Texas A&M (35-28), Alabama (14-13) and Georgia (45-32). Mississippi St. came off of their bye last week and defeated Kentucky 45-31 in Lexington, the Bulldogs have already taken down LSU (34-29), Texas A&M (48-31), and Auburn (38-23) in conference play this year.
The Razorbacks rank 15th among FBS teams in scoring offense with 39.1 points per game and 35th in total offense with 457.9 yards per game. Arkansas is a very strong running team under head coach Bret Bielema and led by their huge offensive line that does not have a starter under 314 pounds and averages 328.4 lbs., more than any NFL offensive line. Running back Jonathan Williams (830 yards, 10 TDs) set a career high last week with 153 yards rushing against UAB. Arkansas ranks 59th nationally in points allowed with 25.6 per game and 40th in total defense with 353 YPG.
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Mississippi St. ranks 9th among FBS teams in scoring offense with 42.3 PPG and 9th in total offense with 531.4 YPG. The Bulldogs are led by their Heisman contender dual-threat Dak Prescott at quarterback and running back Josh Robinson who ran for a career high 198 yards last week against Kentucky. Prescott took some hits last week and was wearing a walking boot, but he will play and the official line is that he is not limited. MSU ranks 29th nationally in scoring defense with 21.6 PPG allowed and 91st in total defense with 439.6 YPG allowed.
Arkansas vs. Mississippi St. Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Arkansas Razorbacks +10.5
@Mississippi St. Bulldogs -10.5
Over 59.5 (-110)
Under 59.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from BetOnline.ag
Arkansas vs. Mississippi St. Pick:
The Bulldogs are the winners of their last 10 in a row straight up, while Arkansas has lost 16 straight SEC games straight up. Four of the top 7 rushers in the SEC will be on the field in this game, Prescott and Robinson for Mississippi St. and Williams and Alex Collins (747 yards, 9 TDs) for Arkansas. Both teams rank in top 15 nationally in rushing offense, with MSU ranking 12th with 273.1 YPG and Arkansas ranking 15th with 258.9 YPG.
The Razorbacks have played all of their SEC opponents tough, but have not been able to break through with a win. They have the size and style of play to wear down a Mississippi St. team that is starting to get banged up with the rigors of playing in the nation’s toughest conference. Look for Arkansas to do what they do best, but also to take some chances in the passing game and on special teams in an effort to win their first conference game and potentially knock of the number 1 team in the country The Bulldogs are going to get the Razorbacks’ best effort, and Arkansas should be able to hang in this game and give them a battle. Take Arkansas and the points here.