Free NCAAF Pick Against the Spread: Missouri vs Vanderbilt

Both teams are still chasing a spot in a bowl game as the Missouri Tigers play host to the Vanderbilt Commodores. Game time is set for noon EST on Saturday, November 10, at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri. Fans can catch the game on the SEC Network.

This week’s college football odds list Missouri as 16-point favorites at home. That line has already increased after the Tigers opened the week as 14-point favorites. The over/under for the game is set at 59.5 points.

Missouri vs Vanderbilt Vegas Game Preview & Betting Odds

After enduring a rough stretch in September and October, Missouri is suddenly just one win away from a bowl game. One week after a heartbreaking home loss to Kentucky, the Tigers invaded The Swamp and beat Florida 38-17 in a rather shocking result.

While it was only their first SEC win of the season, the win brought Missouri to 5-4 overall. Even with a manageable schedule in the second part of November, the Tigers would surely prefer to lock up a bowl spot this week and then work on guaranteeing a second straight winning season.

Vanderbilt, on the other hand, needs two wins in their final three games to win six games and earn a bowl spot. A win against Arkansas two weeks ago undoubtedly gave the Commodores the confidence boost they needed after losing five of their last six games prior to that. 

Vanderbilt closes out the season with back-to-back home games against SEC rivals, so this week’s trip to Missouri isn’t quite must-win territory. But much like the Tigers, the Commodores don’t want to waste the momentum created by last week’s win. Also, with Derek Mason only taking Vandy to one bowl game in the last four seasons, his job could depend on the Commodores bowling this year.

Meanwhile, Missouri coach Barry Odom would like to keep his perfect record against Vanderbilt intact. The Tigers have beaten Vandy each of the past two seasons and in four of their six meetings since Missouri joined the SEC. That includes a 45-17 win in Nashville a year ago.

Free College Football Against the Spread Pick: Missouri -16

Picking this game would be a lot easier if we knew which Missouri team was the real Missouri team. Is it the team that steamrolled Florida a week ago or the team that went winless in conference play prior to that? I’ll go out on a limb and believe the Tigers are finally hitting their stride late in the season. If that’s the case, they should be able to cover the spread in a lopsided win over Vanderbilt.

The biggest anomaly in Missouri’s season has been senior quarterback Drew Lock. After throwing 44 touchdown passes last year, most were expecting big things from Lock this year. But his season hasn’t unfolded as expected. He’s been wildly inconsistent and still has just four touchdown passes in SEC play, and three of them came last week. However, if completing 24 of 32 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns was a sign of things to come, I’m not sure the Vanderbilt defense will have an answer for Lock.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Tigers have maintained a steady rushing attack most of the season. Larry Roundtree III and Damarea Crockett have both surpassed 500 yards rushing on the season. That duo may actually be Missouri’s key to victory. The Vanderbilt defense has been shredded on the ground in almost every SEC game this season. Even in their win over Arkansas, the Commodores gave up over 200 yards and over seven yards per carry rushing.

For Vandy, it’s the same old story of just not having the same caliber of athletes as the rest of the SEC. That difference tends to be most obvious at the line of scrimmage. The Commodores got away with it against a rebuilding Arkansas team, but they may not be as fortunate against Missouri. If the Tigers can establish a consistent rushing attack the way most teams have against Vanderbilt, Missouri will have a chance to impose their will on the game and build a comfortable lead.

The other big question is whether the Missouri defense does its part in helping the Tigers cover the spread. The Tigers have shown some improvement on that side of the ball in the last few weeks against Kentucky and Florida. Of course, those are both teams that didn’t pose much of a threat in the passing game. That won’t be the case this week against Vandy’s Kyle Shurmur. The talent around him isn’t always up to par, but Shurmur has shown that he can keep the Commodores competitive with good teams, so the Missouri defense will have to be at the top of their game.

Ultimately, I’ll put my trust in Missouri being able to build off last week’s performance. If they resort back to the team they were earlier in the year, this could be a one-possession game in the 4th quarter. But if Missouri plays up to their potential, the difference in talent should enable to Tigers to cover the 16-point spread against Vanderbilt.

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