This Tuesday, the bookies are giving the Bulldogs big-time respect as this Mississippi State team enters the AutoZone Liberty Bowl as nearly 10 point favorites. The Texas Tech Red Raiders certainly will have something to say about that, as they bring with them a pretty decent offense who would love nothing more than to spring a big upset. No matter which way this game goes, we should have an exciting one, as the total for this one is listed at 58.5, and there are plenty of reasons to believe this game will go over that total.
Texas Tech Red Raiders Betting Preview:
Texas Tech started out the season strong, but that was a bit expected as that was the easier portion of their schedule with wins over the likes of Florida International and Stephen F. Austin. Over their last 5 games, they have not quite been as hot, going 1 and 4 with a sole win over Iowa State over that stretch. It is hard to be too harsh on the Red Raiders’ need to play the likes of Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma over that stretch, so this will represent a step down in competition compared to what they have been up against recently.
Freshman QB Donovan Smith was given the reins to the offense mid-season. He has not disappointed, showing seriously good upside and reliability at the position throwing just two interceptions since being thrust into the starter’s role. He did have an awful game against Oklahoma State, completing just 31% of his passes, but once again, this is a step down in competition from that game, and he should be able to step up in a big way this Tuesday.
The main issue for the Red Raiders is that they have struggled to run the ball for large chunks of the season, and that is not likely to change against a Bulldogs defense who barely gives up 100 rushing yards per game. The running game can help hide a poor defense by limiting possessions, but that will not be the case here, and the Red Raiders do have one awful defense. The Red Raiders defensive unit is allowing over 410 yards per game this season, with the secondary being particularly bad, so this offense will need to keep up with the Bulldogs offensively if they are going to have any chance in this one.
Mississippi State Bulldogs Betting Preview:
The Bulldogs enter this game with a 7-5 record, and QB Will Rogers has to be excited for this one, as he gets to show off a bit against a secondary who will be hard-pressed to slow him down. Rogers has 4449 passing yards on the season and a pretty crazy 35-8 TD to interception ratio. He should be looking for his WR1 early and often in this one, with Makai Polk likely to have a big game here. Polk has 989 yards and 9 touchdowns on the season, and I do not see why he should not be putting up big numbers in this one.
The Bulldogs, much like the Red Raiders, is not a running team, and that will be their weakness for this game. That means the onus for much of the offense will be on the shoulders of the passing attack, but that has been the case all season long, so that might not end up being a bad thing especially considering the matchup they have with the secondary on the opposing side.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bulldogs have a far better front 7 as opposed to their secondary. They will need to rely more on their pass-rushing ability as opposed to their run-stopping, as I do not see Texas Tech trying to rush the ball much at all. Look out for LB Tyrus Wheat in this one, as he has amassed 7 sacks this season, and he should have the opportunity for a few more in this bowl game against a freshman who is projected to drop back plenty.
Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs Betting Prediction:
It does seem like an easy enough spot just to take the Bulldogs and move on, but I just don’t think this total is high enough. These teams can both get the job done in the passing attack, and neither of these teams are all that great in the secondary. These teams are both not great at running the ball, and every incompletion will stop the clock.
I expect the Bulldogs to do most of the scoring, but I do think the Red Raiders can keep up to a certain extent, and the possibility of getting backdoored is too great in this spot to really love the Bulldogs. I would look for the scoring to get started right from the jump, and for this one to get over the posted total of 58.5 eventually
Free Betting Pick
Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Mississippi Bulldogs Betting Verdict: Over the total
Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Mississippi Bulldogs Final Score Prediction: 38-31 Bulldogs