The #23 Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-1) host the Florida Gators (3-1) on Saturday night in an SEC showdown. Kickoff is set for 6:00 PM EST at Davis Wade Stadium and the game will be available on ESPN.
Taking a look at the Week 5 college football odds, Mississippi State opened as a 7-point home favorite earlier this week. That line has changed slightly after early betting, as the Bulldogs are currently listed at -7.5. The total for the game is sitting at 51 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Mississippi State vs Florida
Florida improved to 3-1 on the season last weekend after a convincing 47-21 victory over Tennessee. The Gators have looked solid since a Week 2 loss against Kentucky, winning two consecutive games. QB Feleipe Franks was fantastic against the Volunteers, throwing for 172 yards and three touchdowns. Franks has been very solid for Florida, as he has already passed for 742 yards and 12 touchdowns so far this season. On the ground, Dameon Pierce and Jordan Scarlett have combined for over 400 yards and four touchdowns. The Gators are currently averaging 41 points per game (26th overall) on 383 total yards of offense.
UF has been absolutely terrific on defense, limiting opponents to an average of just 16 points per game on 340.2 total yards of offense. The Gators have really looked great against the pass, allowing an average of only 150.5 yards per game through the air (9th). However, they have struggled a bit against the rush, as they are giving up an average of 187.8 yards per game on the ground (97th). have been absolutely horrific on defense, allowing opponents to average 36.8 points per game (112th overall).
Mississippi State lost their first game of the season last weekend, falling 28-7 on the road against the Kentucky Wildcats. The Bulldogs looked lost on offense and where undisciplined all game, gaining just 201 total yards compared to 139 penalty yards. QB Nick Fitzgerald couldn’t get anything going all game, completing just 50% of his passes and throwing an interception as well. Fitzgerald has thrown for 542 years and four touchdowns over the first four weeks of the season. He has been extremely dynamic on the ground, rushing for 286 yards and five touchdowns. Mississippi State is currently averaging 39.2 points per game on 491 yards of total offense per game.
The Bulldogs have looked fantastic defensively, as they are only giving up an average of 13.5 points per game to opponents (11th). They have also been limiting opponents to just 148.2 yards per game through the air (9th) and only 269.2 yards of total offense (7th).
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Mississippi State -7.5
This should be a really great game between two SEC rivals that have identical 3-1 records. Florida certainly has a lot to play for, as a victory will likely move them inside of the AP Top 25. Mississippi State will want to rebound from a disappointing result against Kentucky last weekend and should also be ready to roll in this one. I think the line in this game is pretty accurate, as the extra half point slightly worries me on the Bulldogs side of things. Still, Florida has really struggled against the run, which means Nick Fitzgerald should have another big game on the ground. I also trust the Bulldogs defense a little bit more, as they are currently in the Top 15 in pretty much every defensive category. It also helps that they are playing at home this weekend. All in all, I think Mississippi State should find a way to grind out a cover against a Gators team that still can’t figure out how to stop teams on the ground.
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Florida is just 1-4 ATS over their past five road games and 1-5 ATS in their past six conference games, while Mississippi State is an impressive 8-2 ATS over their past ten home games. The Bulldogs are also 23-5 ATS over their past 28 home games against teams with a winning record.
The Gators are also only 0-3-1 ATS over their past four meetings with Mississippi State. I don’t really trust the Florida offense to keep pass with a dynamic Bulldogs ground game, as the Gators have yet to face a legitimate defense other than Kentucky – a game in which they scored just 16 points. They are only averaging 194.5 yards per game through the air (95th) and will likely have a hard time rushing the ball against a Mississippi State defense that has held opponents to an average of just 121.0 yards per game on the ground (34th). Florida has struggled lately against SEC opponents – Mississippi State specifically. I’ll lay the points and take the Bulldogs to cover at home.