Mississippi St. vs. Alabama NCAAF Week 8 Best Bets: Will Saban’s Defense Show Up?

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A couple of teams coming off upset losses in Week 7 fit the bill as our marquee matchup in Week 8.

We’ve got a free NCAA football pick for the collision between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide.

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Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

Saturday, October 22, 2022 – 07:00 PM EDT at Bryant-Denny Stadium

After playing with fire and avoiding being upset twice before, the Flames finally caught up with the Alabama Crimson Tide last week.

That could be bad news for the Mississippi State Bulldogs, who head to Tuscaloosa coming off an upset loss of their own.

Alabama’s setback at Tennessee certainly opened things up in the SEC West.

Ole Miss has the current advantage with LSU and the Crimson just a half-game back, and Alabama still has games against the Rebels and Tigers remaining.

Penalties Hurt Bulldogs in Loss at Kentucky

Thanks to this matchup with Alabama and the Egg Bowl meeting with Ole Miss later in November, Mississippi State hasn’t been eliminated in the division race though the Bulldogs would have to win out and still get some help to make the SEC title tilt.

Mike Leach’s squad certainly didn’t help themselves this past weekend with a 27-17 loss at Kentucky where a field goal favored the Bulldogs.

They were dominated at the line of scrimmage by the Wildcats, who more than doubled-up Mississippi State in total yardage.

Mississippi State was coming off two impressive wins over Texas A&M and Arkansas, rolling up more than 1,000 yards of offense against the Aggies and Razorbacks and covering chalk spreads each time by double digits.

Saban Laments “Soft” Defense at Tennessee

Much of the talk leading up to last week’s game at Tennessee was whether Alabama quarterback Bryce Young’s shoulder was healed enough to play, and when it became evident it was, the Crimson Tide line at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review) moved from -7 early in the week to -9½.

Somewhat forgotten along the way was Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker, who put on a show with a 21-for-30 passing performance that was good enough for 385 yards and five touchdowns, along with getting the Volunteers in position to kick the winning field goal.

Young was impressive as well with 455 yards passing as the Crimson Tide rolled up 569 yards of offense.

Defensively, however, Alabama didn’t get the job done, especially on Tennessee’s final drive, and the Crimson Tide committed a whopping 17 penalties, most ever under Saban.

Maroons Looking to Snap Crimson 14-Game Win Streak

It is difficult to find a longer-running rivalry on the collegiate gridiron, with Saturday’s skirmish the 107th between Mississippi State and Alabama, and it is tough to find a series that is more one-sided than the Crimson Tide’s 84-18-3 official record against the Bulldogs.

As far as the results on the football field go, Alabama has an 86-17-3 advantage when factoring in wins vacated or forfeited for being naughty.

The Crimson Tide will be seeking their 15th-straight dubya following last year’s 49-9 final in Starkville to cover the 17½-point spread at the top-rated sportsbooks easily.

  • Alabama has covered the last four meetings and four of the last five in Tuscaloosa.
  • The last four clashes – and 7 of the last 9 – failed to reach the totals.
  • Mississippi State’s last win in Tuscaloosa came in 2006, the season before the Crimson Tide hired Saban.

No Trouble Expected from Mother Nature

The current forecast is looking good for Saturday night in Tuscaloosa where the weatherman is calling for mostly clear skies, the thermometer sitting around 70° for the start of the game and only a light breeze out of the south or southeast.

Can Tide Cover 3-TD Spread?

The forecast from the early college football odds for the contest call for a lopsided top 25 matchup as most shops are asking Crimson Tide backers to give up 21 to 21½ points with the scoreboard target set at 62.

Aside from their egos being bruised coming off losses last week, Mississippi State and Alabama are in pretty good shape on the injury front, so we don’t have any of the mystery surrounding the availability of key personnel for the game.

This long-running rivalry is often called the 90-Mile Drive in reference to the distance between the two campuses, and while it won’t be a happy, celebratory bus ride home along Highway 82 for Mississippi State, the Bulldogs will at least stay within the spread.

Take the points and play the final on the scoreboard to fall short.

NCAAF Pick: Mississippi State +21½ (-108) at Heritage Sports

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Mississippi State +21½ (-108)
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NCAAF Pick: Under 62 (-108) at Heritage Sports

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Under 62 (-108)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.