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Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Kentucky Wildcats Odds & Game Pick (2021)

by October 29, 2021
Will Levis

The Kentucky Wildcats had the bye week to lick their wounds following an October 16 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs. With a trip to Starkville, Mississippi on tap for this weekend, there’s no rest for the weary. That’s where the Wildcats will meet another pack of Bulldogs hungry to advance their current stature in the bottom half of the SEC West standings.

Let’s take a look at this compelling SEC battle to find some betting value.

Lines courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

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Details

  • Opening Line: Mississippi State -2, O/U 47
  • Current Line: Mississippi State -1.5, O/U 47
  • Last meeting: October 10, 2020, Kentucky 24, Mississippi State 2

Overview 

2020 was a weird year for everyone. In a lot of ways, we probably all feel comfortable just chalking up some of the more forgettable memories to the general weirdness of the world at the time. There’s a good chance that the Mississippi State football team would agree with that premise when it comes to its loss to Kentucky. It’s true; they scored two whole points that night in Lexington.

This season, the two teams come into the return trip to Starkville with the Wildcats ranked among the top teams in the nation. Their standing at No. 12 in the polls would have been far higher if not for that trip to Athens, Georgia a couple of weeks ago. Kentucky suffered its first loss of the season to No. 1 Georgia, a 30-13 defeat that dropped the Wildcats to 6-1–and back down to earth in the SEC East race.

On the other side, Mississippi State has asked a lot from sophomore quarterback Will Rogers on its way to a 4-3 (2-2) start to the season. Rogers hasn’t dipped below 47 pass attempts in any game this season; he’s been chucking it like a madman every week. He’ll get another crack at the team against whom he made his collegiate debut last year–and it’s safe to say he’d like to author a better chapter in this year’s game.

In that 2020 affair in which the defense scored the Bulldogs’ only two points, Rogers entered in relief. He threw two of Mississippi State’s whopping six interceptions on the night. Though he’s clearly grown as a gunslinger since then, he still has a tendency to get reckless with the football on occasion. In a 45-6 win over Vanderbilt last week, Rogers threw a pair of interceptions. You’ll get away with that against Vandy. Not so much against the Wildcats.

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis has a chance to be an X-factor in this game. The junior transfer from Penn State has led his new team to national relevance in his first year as the starter. He’ll likely need to put the team on his back in among all those cowbells this Saturday because the writing isn’t on the wall for a productive day on the ground for UK. Against Georgia, the Cats ran it 27 times for a grand total of 51 yards. Mississippi State’s run defense? One of the best in the SEC from a yards-per-game perspective.

So Levis will look to beat the Bulldogs and their bottom-half SEC scoring defense through the air. He’ll have to stay smart with the football in a tough road environment. But that wasn’t a problem in his last difficult match-up. Though the Wildcats didn’t give Georgia much of a scare, Levis took care of the ball and avoided interceptions. Given the UK defense has a history picking off Rogers, look for the Cats to come after the ball again in this meeting.

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Trends 

  • Kentucky is 6-1 ATS this season
  • Mississippi State is 1-3 ATS in home games this season
  • The Under has hit in each of the last three meetings between UK and MSU

Bottom Line

The Wildcats have had an extra week to think about the way their dreams of a perfect season and SEC East title went by the wayside. After what surely had to have been an emotional loss between the hedges, Kentucky has had the chance to regroup and refocus their minds on the remainder of the season. With substantial goals still attainable in this campaign for the No. 12-ranked team in the nation, Kentucky should be motivated to prove its hot start to the year was no fluke. The Wildcats handled MSU last year, and now their quarterback transfer has given the offense an extra gear. Kentucky vaults back into the top 10 after a hard-fought road win over the favored Bulldogs this weekend.

Pick: Kentucky +1.5

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