Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Ole Miss Rebels
Line: Mississippi State -1.5
Where: Davis Wade Stadium
When: Thursday, 11/25 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Ole Miss will try to clinch a second-place finish in the SEC West when it travels to Mississippi State for Thursday night’s Egg Bowl, which will feature two ranked teams for the first time since 2015.
The Rebels have recorded three consecutive wins since their loss at then-No. 18 Auburn at the end of October. Mississippi State has won four of its last five games following a 3-3 start to the season. The Bulldogs have taken two out of the last three in the series, but Ole Miss notched a 31-24 win as a 9.5-point favorite last season.
Oddsmakers opened Ole Miss as a 3-point favorite, but the early betting action has flipped Mississippi State to -1. The total has been bet up from 61 to 62, despite the Egg Bowl going ‘under’ in seven of the last eight meetings.
Outside of road losses to Alabama and Auburn, the Rebels have won nine games. Two of those wins came against ranked opponents in Arkansas and Texas A&M, while the other seven were against unranked teams.
Ole Miss relies on an offense that ranks fifth in the nation, averaging 517.5 yards per game. Junior quarterback Matt Corral, who was one of the Heisman favorites during the first half of the season, has completed 67.5 percent of his passes for 3,100 yards and 19 touchdowns.
He announced that he will be entering the NFL draft following the conclusion of the season. Corral completed 27 of 36 attempts for 326 yards in the win over Vanderbilt, where the Rebels failed to cover as 35.5-point favorites.
“It was a sandwich game,” head coach Lane Kiffin said. “I was a little surprised by how we played, but we came away with the win.”
Wide receiver Dontario Drummond has caught a team-high 53 passes for 786 yards and eight touchdowns. Running back Jerrion Ealy has rushed for 643 yards and five touchdowns on 105 attempts, averaging 6.1 yards per carry. They are going to face a Mississippi State defense that ranks No. 21, allowing 325.6 yards per game.
The Bulldogs opened the year with a disappointing four-game stretch, losing to Memphis and LSU. Their only losses since then have come against Alabama and Arkansas, but the loss to the Razorbacks came by just three points. They have bounced back from that 31-28 decision with wins over then-No. 17 Auburn and Tennessee State.
Mississippi State has now covered the spread in five consecutive games dating back to a 45-6 win over Vanderbilt. Sophomore quarterback Will Rogers has completed 76 percent of his passes for 4,113 yards and 34 touchdowns. He has gone over 340 passing yards in each of his last five games.
Wide receiver Makai Polk has caught 88 passes for 891 yards and nine touchdowns, while Jaden Walley has added 47 receptions for 569 yards and five scores. Running back Dillon Johnson has rushed 75 times for 397 yards, averaging 5.3 yards per carry.
Despite having a strong defense, Mississippi State has gone ‘over’ the total in four of its last five games. Ole Miss has gone ‘under’ in six straight games, even with a defense that ranks near the bottom of the FBS. The Bulldogs have covered the spread in four of the last five head-to-head meetings.
The pick: Mississippi State -1.5
While Ole Miss has the more talented offense, I don’t want to overlook some warning signs from last week’s sleeper against Vanderbilt. Corral announced his intention to enter the NFL draft and the team followed that announcement with a lackluster performance. Was Kiffin correct in calling it a sandwich spot? Maybe. But I don’t trust the Rebels to go on the road and beat a Mississippi State team that has covered the spread in five straight games. This spread has crossed zero, but not much value has been lost since the initial line move. The Bulldogs have scored 98 points in the last two weeks and they are facing one of the worst defenses in college football.