Nothing says Thanksgiving and college football quite like the Egg Bowl. And usually, Mississippi going against Mississippi State provides enough Turkey Day drama as it is. But this season, we get an extra helping of dramatic stuffing, as the noise surrounding Lane Kiffin and his potential move to Auburn won’t quiet down.
Can Kiffin focus enough to help pull the Rebels out of a 1-3 skid over their last four games, or will Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach be able to take advantage of his distracted counterpart and win the Battle for the Golden Egg for the first time in his tenure?
I break it all down and bring you my best bet in college football picks and predictions Mississippi State vs. Mississippi.
Mississippi State vs Mississippi best odds
Mississippi State vs Mississippi picks and predictions
It feels like a lifetime ago when Mississippi was 7-0 and the idea of a spot in the College Football Playoff wasn’t so farfetched.
Then came a one-sided loss to now SEC West champion LSU, and then a soul-crushing loss to rival Alabama in a game they should have probably won. That was followed by the inevitable letdown last week against Arkansas. The lone win over that stretch came by just three points against sad sack Texas A&M.
But Mississippi State’s effort in conference play has also left something to be desired. The Bulldogs are just 3-4 straight up and 2-5 against the spread vs. SEC opponents this season. Despite this, the Bulldogs are well-positioned to take down their rivals in Oxford on Thursday.
Everyone knows about Mike Leach and his Air Raid offense at this point, and quarterback Will Rogers is having another solid year in his system, throwing for 3,474 yards while completing 68.1% of his passes with 32 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Now, the Air Raid, for those who don’t know, is all about making a quick read and getting the ball out of the QB’s hand as soon as possible. That could play well against this Mississippi secondary. The Rebels allow a lot of underneath stuff and have had issues tackling this season. As a result, they rank 111th in the country in opponent completion percentage and 95th in opponent QB passer rating.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs defense has steadily improved over the course of the season and loves to cause turnovers, ranking 14th in the county in takeaways per game.
Expect Mississippi State to focus on shutting down the Rebels running game and force quarterback Jaxson Dart to be the difference-maker. Dart has thrown just 16 touchdowns compared to eight picks and is completing just 57.1% of his passes over his last five games.
Then there is the whole, “Lane Kiffin to Auburn,” thing. One report on Monday night had him already packing his bags to join War Eagle. Then Kiffin took to Twitter:
That’s news to me Jon. ??????. Nice sources ???????????????? https://t.co/P8rdpxEk0p— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) November 22, 2022
And it was more than that. Who knows if Kiffin is telling the truth or not, but that doesn’t matter. Whether he is or he isn’t, this looks like an added distraction heading into a rivalry game. With edges on the field and off, I’m backing the Bulldogs to get Leach his first Egg Bowl victory.
My best bet: Mississippi State moneyline (+110 at DraftKings)
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Mississippi State vs Mississippi spread analysis
Mississippi opened this year’s Egg Bowl as a 3.5-point home favorite but quickly moved to a field goal. Then, roughly around the latest Kiffin to Auburn rumors started to swirl on Monday night, the line moved again, this time to Mississippi -2.5.
Obviously, since I’m taking Mississippi State to win the game, I would lean toward them ATS as well. Although, I would prefer to get the field goal if it's available.
That said, the Kiffin distraction might not be the only thing going against the Rebels in this one. Mississippi has only covered the spread in two of its SEC matchups this season: against Vanderbilt and in Kiffin’s Super Bowl against Alabama.
This is also a rare short week of preparation in college football. And while both teams played last weekend, Mississippi had a tough matchup against a physical Arkansas team, while Mississippi State is coming off a tune-up game against FCS East Tennessee.
Mississippi State is more motivated, more focused, more rested, and more well-prepared. The Bulldogs feel like the right side this Thanksgiving.
Mississippi State vs Mississippi Over/Under analysis
The total hit the board at 63.5 and early bettors have hammered the Under, moving the number down four whole points to the current total of 59.5. That likely has something to do with the fact that the Egg Bowl has a history of being tightly contested.
The Under has cashed eight times in the last nine Egg Bowls, including the last five overall. And there has been an average of 53.5 total points scored per game over the last two with this exact coaching matchup in place.
No official play for me here, but I would lean toward the Under in a rivalry game on a short week.
Mississippi State vs Mississippi betting trend to know
The Under is 8-2 in the last 10 Egg Bowls in Oxford. Find more NCAA betting trends for Mississippi State vs. Mississippi.
Legal sports betting is finally available in The Old State Line.
Mississippi State vs Mississippi game info
|Location:||Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS|
|Date:||Thursday, November 24, 2022|
|Kickoff:||7:00 p.m. ET|
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