Welcome to “Thursday Throwdown”. Each week I will be bringing you the top College Football match-up of the night to kick off your betting week. Last week I dropped both opinions in the Thursday Night kickoff between Southern Miss and South Carolina.
Each Thursday you will get my in depth analysis and write up associated with the featured College game of the night. You will get these plays absolutely free each week of the season. Also beginning this week, as we kick off things in the NFL, you’ll get my “Monday Night Mania”. Tonight it is The Bulldogs of Miss St and Auburn from Starkville.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL THURSDAY THROWDOWN
Auburn (#20) -vs- Mississippi St (2 / 55): Dan Mullen and company look to even the score in this match-up after the week 2 drubbing last year at the hands of Gene Chizik and Gus Malzahn’s Auburn Offense. The Bulldogs gave up more points to Auburn last season than any other team, including National Champion Alabama. However, the Bulldogs were profitable at the window last season cashing in 7 of 12. 6 of those 7 were in the dog role. So the Bulldogs are no stranger to being in the dog role intra-conference.
If you aren’t familiar with the Auburn offense they were ranked 16th in total offense last year and depleted their backfield in the process, but Cameron Newton has ushered in hopes and dreams of reaching the promise land in Auburn. Newton, a coveted Juco transfer, played High School ball in Atlanta and then went on to become the back up to Tim Tebow in Florida as a freshman. Last season he led his team to the JC National Championship. He can do it through the air or do it with his feet; this kid has all the makings of an all conference threat.
On the other side of the football the Tiger defense did not get much look at a team that balances things out much, Arkansas St threw on forty-nine attempts and they ripped through this Auburn secondary allowing over 300 yards through the air. The Tiger defense had its struggles last season rendering over 200 yds/gm in a very run heavy conference. Arguably in the 5 losses last season 4 of them were the result of poor secondary performance.
Taking a look at Mississippi St the Bulldogs run a tandem Quarterback offense, with Chris Relf currently installed as the starter with redshirt freshman Tyler Russell fast on his heels. Both of these young Quarterbacks looked impressive in week one, but mind you that was against Memphis. Mississippi State has an undersized target that could spell trouble for the Tigers with Brandon Heavens, and on the other side another true sophomore Chad Bumphis is equally threatening. It looks obvious that the Bulldogs are making their approach to SEC play under Dan Mullen with an aerial attack moving away from the big aggressive rushing approach from Sylvester Croom era.
Last season the Bulldogs were 9th overall in the nation in rushing, but with the departure of nation leader Anthony Dixon leaves some uncertainty as to which of the three young backs will emerge as the work horse, Robert Elliot looks to be the guy but the Dogs have a redshirt freshman in Laderius Perkins that is a load in the backfield. I think this balance attack and improved passing game spells trouble for this Auburn squad tonight on the road in a hostile environment.
Vegas Oddsmakers have installed the visiting Tigers from Auburn as the favorite (2.5 / 52). There has been some movement to the home dog in this one and the line is currently (2 to 1.5) across the board. The total opened at a 52 and there was some early sharp money to the over in this matchup. Now I’ve known about the higher ranked team with a very sharp line verse a lesser opponent for years, but don’t think for a minute that the oddsmakers aren’t aware of betting trends when they set these numbers.
This one figures to be a closer battle than last week, and I do agree with early movement Over the posted total. It’s been 10 years since State has beaten Auburn at home and this squad has the talent to bring home a conference win in the SEC West. Auburn has only covered 1 try on the road in their last 10 highway games. As always this one comes down to the team that wins the game at the line of scrimmage and has better secondary play. Auburn does have a slight advantage in my eye with the match-ups in the secondary. However, I think that Mississippi St wins the battle in the the turnover battle and maintains home momentum in the second half.
Weather Watch: Slight chance (30%) for scattered showers mid afternoon, but I expect partly cloudy with no rain at Kickoff. Forecast temp at game time should be 83 and 55% Humidity.
My recommended play for tonight is on the Over (55) and Mississippi St (+2) winning this one outright at home. Prediction-Auburn 31 Mississippi St 33