The BYU Cougars host the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Friday, October 14th in a non-conference showdown. These teams last met in 2001 with the Cougars beating the Bulldogs 41-38 on the road. The road team has won the only two prior meetings.
BYU (3-3) is coming off its biggest win of the season, a 31-14 road victory over Michigan State. Trailing 7-3 at halftime, the Cougars outscored the Spartans 28-7 after intermission to run away with it.
Mississippi State (2-3) is coming off its worst loss of the season, a 14-38 beat down at home at the hands of Auburn. The Bulldogs were never really in this game as they trailed 35-0 at halftime.
Kickoff inside LaVell Edwards Stadium is scheduled for 10:15 EST Friday night with ESPN providing the television coverage. The NCAA football lines for Week 7 show BYU as a 7.5-point favorite over Mississippi State with a total set of 58 points.
If I had to recommend a play on the side I’d take Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are coming off a blowout loss to Auburn, while the Cougars are coming off a blowout win at Michigan State. There could be some value with the Bulldogs after those results, especially with this being a letdown spot for BYU.
However, I think the better bet is on the total. The oddsmakers have set this number higher than it should be at 58 points. That means they are expecting more than eight touchdowns in this game, and I’m just not seeing it.
Mississippi State has played five games this season, and four of them have seen 52 or fewer combined points. The only exception was a 47-35 win over lowly UMass, which doesn’t play defense. They combined for 42 against South Alabama, 41 against South Carolina, 43 against LSU and 52 against Auburn.
Mississippi State has played five games this season, and four of them have seen 52 or fewer combined points. BYU has played six games this season, and four of those have seen 45 or fewer combined points.
BYU has played six games this season, and four of those have seen 45 or fewer combined points. The exceptions were West Virginia and Toledo, which are two teams known for their offenses. They combined for 34 with Arizona, 39 with Utah, 31 with UCLA and 45 with Michigan State.
The season averages for both teams also show there is value with the UNDER. Mississippi State puts up 25.6 points per game and gives up 26.2, which equates to 51.8 points per game on average. BYU puts up 28.2 points and gives up 25.8 points per game, which equates to an average of 54.0 points per game.
Both teams love to run the football as they both run it more than they pass it. Mississippi State averages 197 rushing yards per game on 38 carries. BYU averages 209 rushing yards per game on 39 carries. That’s going to keep the clock moving as each team prefers to move the ball on the ground.
That also makes this a great matchup for the defenses. The Bulldogs only give up 134 rushing yards per game and 3.7 per carry against teams that average 159 rushing yards per game and 4.2 per carry. The Cougars allow 126 rushing yards per game and 3.6 per carry against teams that average 178 yards per game and 4.4 per carry.
BYU is 30-8 to the UNDER in its last 38 games versus good rushing teams who average 4.75 or more yards per carry. Mississippi State is 29-13 to the UNDER in its last 42 after two more more consecutive ATS losses. Plays on the UNDER on all teams where the total is between 56.5 and 63 (BYU) – in a game involving two poor passing teams (5.6-6.4 yards/attempt) are 44-14 (75.9%) since 1992.