The Iowa Hawkeyes (8-4) battle the Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4) on New Year’s Day in the 2019 Outback Bowl from Florida. Kickoff is set for 12:00 PM EST on Tuesday, January 1st at Raymond James Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

Taking a look at the full list of college bowl betting odds, Mississippi State is currently listed as a 6.5-point favorite. The total for the game is sitting at 44.5 points.

Outback Bowl Vegas Odds Preview: Iowa vs Mississippi State

Iowa had lost three straight games heading into the final two weeks of the season, sitting at just 6-4 overall after a very impressive 6-1 start to the year. The Hawkeyes definitely turned things around in those last two games, crushing Illinois 63-0 and sneaking by Nebraska 31-28 to finish 8-4. RB Mekhi Sargent was fantastic down the stretch, rushing for 294 yards and three touchdowns in his last two starts. The ground game was really clicking in the season finale, as they team ran for 266 yards while averaging 5.9 yards per carry. QB Nate Stanley had a pretty good season, passing for 2638 yards and 23 touchdowns. The offense will certainly face a stern test in the Outback Bowl, as Mississippi State has been one of the best defensive teams in the entire country all season long. As a whole, Iowa is currently averaging 31.5 points per game (46th overall).

The Hawkeyes were very solid on the defensive side of the ball during the regular season, allowing opponents to score just 17.4 points per game (11th overall).

Mississippi State also had an 8-4 record this season, although their path to that finish was certainly far from straight. The Bulldogs got off to a red-hot 3-0 start before losing three out of their next four games. However, they turned things around during the final month of the season, going 4-1 over their last five regular season contests. They were certainly quite dominant their last time out, crushing Ole Miss 35-3. QB Nick Fitzgerald was electric, passing for 1111 yards and a touchdown while also adding 117 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. RB Kylin Hill also turned in a strong performance, rushing for 108 yards and a score. Overall, Mississippi State is currently averaging 29.1 points per game (66th overall).

The Bulldogs were absolutely dominant on the the other side of the ball during the regular season, giving up an average of only 12.0 points per game to opponents – first overall in the nation.

2018 Outback Bowl Free Betting Pick & Predictions: Mississippi State -6.5

This is the game to watch on the New Year’s Day slate of bowl games if you are a fan of defense. Both of these programs have been outstanding all year long – especially Mississippi State. The Bulldogs only allowed more than 20 points once in their final eight games, giving up a mere 24 points to the offensive juggernaut that is the Alabama Crimson Tide. I don’t have much hope for the Hawkeyes offense in this one, as I don’t see a way that they manage to score more than two touchdowns. While Iowa has also been strong on defense, they are still giving up over five points more per game than Mississippi State. The Hawkeyes were the better team on offense during the regular season, but they also had a much easier schedule and only outscored the Bulldogs by about two points per game.

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Mississippi State is a very solid 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games against teams with a winning record. They are also a perfect 5-0 ATS over their last five non-conference games. Iowa is only 1-3-1 ATS in their last five neutral site games. They are also a brutal 1-7 ATS over their last eight games on grass.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this one stayed pretty close for a couple of quarters, as there will likely be very little scoring done by either offense. However, I like Mississippi State to pull away late, in what easily could be a matchup that finishes with a 10-3 or 16-7 final score. I think the Bulldogs make a statement in this particular spot after performing well against Texas A&M, Florida, and Alabama during the regular season. I’ll lay the points – give me Miss. State to cover the spread and take down the 2019 Outback Bowl.