It’s a dawg-eat-dawg world, folks. There are five teams named “Bulldogs” in Division I football, and two of them happen to play in the same conference: Georgia and Mississippi State. They’ll renew their SEC rivalry this Saturday night in Starkville, and yes, we’ll be recommending the Bulldogs for your Week 11 NCAAF picks. That is the sharp side, after all.
Oh, giveaway. Of course it’s Georgia (9-0 SU, 5-4 ATS) we’re talking about here, the No. 1 team in the polls and fresh off a 27-13 win over the Tennessee Volunteers as 9.5-point home faves.
Mississippi State (6-3 SU, 4-4-1 ATS) aren’t a bad team by any means. They still get a 14/10 for their quality play in all aspects of the game. But the models we’re looking at support a slight lean towards Georgia at this price – and so do we.
Georgia Bulldogs vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Saturday, November 12, 2022 – 07:00 PM EST at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field
Are the Bulldogs the Best Team in College Football?
I assume we’re still talking about Georgia here. And the answer is... maybe? What we can tell you is that Football Outsiders have Ohio State at the top of their updated F+ ratings, with the Bulldogs in question a fairly close second.
Not coincidentally, that’s the same order of business for the fine folks at Sports Reference, using their Simple Rating System:
- Ohio State — Plus-23.28 SRS
- Georgia — Plus-22.66
Given how well both these teams have performed, you can’t really complain much that the defending champions are a near-unanimous No. 1 on the AP and coaches polls – nor can you assume they’re being over-valued in the betting market.
What About the Bulldogs?
You could definitely make the case that Mississippi State are undervalued somewhat. This is one of the smallest schools in the SEC, playing in the long shadow of Alabama (and LSU, and Auburn... I could go on) in the West Division. Old-school handicappers love that small-market value.
The analytics bear this out. Despite dropping off the polls after their 30-6 loss to the Crimson Tide (-21.5 at home) in Week 8, these Bulldogs rank No. 17 in the nation according to F+, and No. 19 according to their plus-12.43 SRS. That’s some quality football right there, even if it’s not Georgia-level.
This is one of the reasons we’re only recommending a slight lean towards the champs. If you look at the entire season, the modeling actually favors Mississippi State. For example, Jeff Sagarin at The USA Today has Georgia winning Saturday’s game by 14.85 points using his Golden Mean formula.
However, things have gone a bit askew for MSU. They’re in a 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS mini-slump, and they were somewhat fortunate to beat Auburn (+12.5 away) 39-33 last week in overtime. Georgia have been mashing all the while, so when you look at Sagarin’s Recent formula, it’s no surprise to see the champs winning by 17.13 points.
Why Not Bet the Under Here?
Are you just trying to get me to say “Under where?” Cheeky. Georgia do have the Under at 6-2-1 this year, and it was the right pick for last week’s win over Tennessee. But we’re not seeing much value with that 54-point total at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review). That’s 12 fewer points than the Volunteers game.
True, Missippippi State (Over 5-4) are worse at offense and better and defense than the Vols. But this is a Mike Leach team, with an Air Raid attack that doesn’t chew up a lot of clock on the ground. Leach’s Bulldogs rank No. 60 overall in rushing attempts this year; Georgia rank No. 72.
The Final Verdict
If you’re just looking for another straight bet to throw at this game so you can sneak a high-margin prop into your portfolio, the Over might be the right side of the total – and the consensus reports at press time show 100% support for that option. Life could be worse.
We certainly wouldn’t recommend anything more than a tiny bet on either side of 54 points, though. Nor should you pony up an entire unit of your hard-earned bankroll on the spread.
These are both quality SEC teams that maybe don’t get the respect they deserve from the betting public. Don’t make the same mistake.