Point Spread Pick: St. Petersburg Bowl Betting Odds & Predictions

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The Mississippi State Bulldogs square off against the Miami Ohio Redhawks on Monday, December 26th in the 2016 St. Petersburg Bowl. Kickoff inside Tropicana Field is set for 11:00 AM East Monday morning with ESPN providing the television coverage.

St. Petersburg Bowl Betting Preview: Miami OH vs Mississippi St

Miami Ohio (6-6) became the first team in NCAA history to start the season 0-6 before winning six straight games to clinch a bowl berth. The Redhawks averaged nearly 30 points during their winning streak, while holding four of six opponents to 20 or fewer. They are going to their first bowl since 2010.

Mississippi State (5-7) will be making its school-record seventh straight trip to a bowl game despite the losing record. The Bulldogs got added as an eligible team to help fill the huge bowl schedule because of their academic standing following a 55-20 victory over Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl.

Taking a look at the college bowl odds, I find Mississippi State as a 13-point favorite over Miami Ohio with a total set of 58.5 points. Check out my bowl predictions on all 40 games to use in your bowl pools.

St. Petersburg Bowl Vegas Free Pick & Predictions: Mississippi State -13

I certainly want to give Miami Ohio credit for making a bowl game after the 0-6 start. The Redhawks clearly wanted to make a bowl, and they will be excited to be here. However, I just don’t see any way they can be competitive against Mississippi State, which I would argue is probably the best team that they will have played all season.

Certainly you could argue that Iowa was the best team that they played, but I would say it’s pretty close. And Miami lost to Iowa 21-45. I think we will see a similar margin in this game against a Bulldogs team that really got better as the season progressed.

It’s worth noting that Miami Ohio only beat two bowl teams this season, and that was Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan, two mediocre teams in the MAC. The talent difference in this game is massive as the Bulldogs will have better athletes on the field at almost every position.

Mississippi State beat two really good teams down the stretch. They won 35-28 over Texas A&M as 10-point underdogs, and then saved their best performance for last in a 55-20 win at Ole Miss as 10-point dogs. The Bulldogs racked up 566 total yards on the Rebels, including 457 rushing.

Plays against underdogs of 10.5 to 21 points (MIAMI OHIO) – off an extremely close win by 3 points or less over a conference rival, with a winning percentage of between 45-55% on the season are 29-4 (87.9%) ATS since 1992.

The Bulldogs really picked it up offensively in the second half of the season, averaging more than 45 points in the five games that weren’t against No. 1 Alabama. Freshman sensation Nick Fitzgerald led the SEC in total offense with 3,530 yards, 1,243 on the ground, while accounting for 35 total touchdowns (21 passing, 14 rushing).

Fitzgerald rushed for at least 100 yards in five of six second-half contests, including 258 against Ole Miss. He has two elite targets on the outside to get the ball to. Senior Fred Ross caught 68 balls for 873 yards and 12 touchdowns, while junior Donald Gray had 39 receptions for 691 yards and five scores.

Plays against underdogs of 10.5 to 21 points (MIAMI OHIO) – off an extremely close win by 3 points or less over a conference rival, with a winning percentage of between 45-55% on the season are 29-4 (87.9%) ATS since 1992.

Dan Mullen is 13-4 ATS in road games after gaining 475 or more total yards in their previous game as the coach of Mississippi State. After playing in the rugged SEC West this season, the Bulldogs will welcome this cupcake opponent and make easy work of them in the St. Petersburg Bowl.

Check out more free college football picks from myself and the rest of our handicappers here at Betfirm. Also take a look at my home page to find my premium plays this bowl season.

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