The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide host the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday, November 12th in SEC West action. The Crimson Tide have won eight straight meetings in this series, including a 31-6 road victory last season as 7-point favorites.
Alabama (9-0, 6-0 SEC) is coming off its toughest win of the season. It shut out the LSU Tigers 10-0 on the road as 7-point favorites. The Crimson Tide scored all 10 of their points in the fourth quarter to break a 0-0 tie going in.
Mississippi State (4-5, 2-3 SEC) is coming off its biggest victory of the year. It upset then-No. 4 Texas A&M 35-28 at home as 10-point underdogs behind the play of freshman quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and his four total touchdowns.
Kickoff inside Bryant-Denny Stadium is set for 12:00 EST Saturday afternoon with ESPN providing the television coverage. Taking a look at the Week 11 lines, I find Alabama as a 30-point favorite over Mississippi State with a total set of 59.5 points.
The betting public has made a killing on Alabama this season. The Crimson Tide have gone 7-2 ATS, including four straight spread covers. Three of those have come by the smallest margins as they won by 19 over Arkansas as 14.5-point favorites, by 19 over Texas A&M as 18-point favorites and by 10 over LSU as 7-point favorites.
Oddsmakers know that the betting public is going to keep pounding Alabama because the Crimson Tide have come through for them time and time again. So this has created some artificial line value on Mississippi State this week as there’s no way they should be catching 30 points.
It’s worth noting that Alabama only has three wins by more than 28 points this season. The fact of the matter is that the Crimson Tide have created expectations for themselves from the betting public that they simply aren’t going to be able to live up to going forward.
Alabama is also in a bad spot here. Coming off their biggest obstacle of the season in a 10-0 win at LSU last week, the Crimson Tide are primed for a letdown. They are feeling really good about themselves right now after that win. They aren’t going to be concerned with blowing out Mississippi State because they don’t need style points, they just need wins.
And even if the Crimson Tide brought 100% effort this week off that win over LSU, which is unlikely, I still don’t think they’d beat Mississippi State by more than four touchdowns. The Bulldogs are just 4-5 this season, four four of those losses have come by seven points or fewer. That includes road losses to LSU (20-23) and BYU (21-28). Their biggest loss came by 24 points against Auburn, which is playing as well as almost anyone right now.
I was really impressed with Mississippi State’s 35-28 win over then-No. 4 Texas A&M last week. That was an even bigger blowout than the final score showed. The Bulldogs outgained the Aggies by 192 yards. They racked up 574 yards of total offense in the win.
Mississippi State is 11-0 ATS after playing a home game over the past two seasons.
Nick Fitzgerald is just they type of dual-threat QB that Alabama has struggled with in the past. He threw for 209 yards and two touchdowns against Texas A&M, while also rushing for 182 yards and two scores. The Aggies rushed for 365 yards and 6.3 per carry against the Aggies as a team. The freshman Fitzgerald keeps getting better and better as the season goes along.
I look back since 1992 and this is the biggest favorite Alabama has been over Mississippi State over that time period. The Crimson Tide haven’t been more than 22.5-point favorites in that span. Only once in the last 12 meetings has Alabama won by more than 28 points against Mississippi State.
I know Alabama beat Mississippi State 31-6 last season, but that game was much closer than the final score showed. The Bulldogs actually outgained the Crimson Tide by 14 yards in that contest. That was the second straight season in which they outgained the Crimson Tide. They also outgained them by 93 yards in a 20-25 road loss in 2014.
Plays against home favorites (ALABAMA) – after allowing 100 or less rushing yards last game against opponent after outrushing opponent by 200 or more yards last game are 37-11 (77.1%) ATS over the last five seasons.
Alabama is 1-11 ATS in its last 12 home games vs. poor passing defenses that allow 250 or more passing yards per game. Mississippi State is 11-0 ATS after playing a home game over the past two seasons. The Crimson Tide are 1-6 ATS in their last seven home games when playing against a team with a losing road record.