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LSU vs. Mississippi State ATS Picks

NCAAF Point Spreads

Welcome to SEC West play. Arguably the most rugged top-to-bottom division in college football is officially starting its play in Week 3 of the season. The LSU Tigers and Mississippi State Bulldogs both know they probably don't have a realistic chance of actually winning this division this year, but games like this one will go a long way towards determining where these teams will finish in the pecking order and bowl ladder in 2017.

LSU Tigers vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Date and Time
: Saturday, September 16, 2017, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS
Opening College Football Odds: LSU -6.5
LSU vs. Mississippi State TV Coverage: SEC Network

It's hard not to be impressed with the statistical dominance we've seen from both of these teams thus far in 2017.

LSU has outscored clubs 72-10 and has one of the top defenses in America. The Bayou Bengals are No. 1 in rush defense, allowing a total of 63 rushing yards in two games, while they're No. 4 in total defense and No. 6 in scoring defense. Danny Etling is averaging 12.8 yards every time he throws the football, while Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams have combined to run the ball 65 times in two games for 354 yards and seven touchdowns.

Mississippi State has put 106 points on the board in two games. The club is averaging 507.5 yards per game and is one of the 16 teams averaging at least 300 rushing yards per game this year. Nick Fitzgerald has been dynamic as always, amassing eight total touchdowns while leading the team on three other touchdown drives over the course of the year. Defensively, the Bulldogs have allowed just 21 points, and they're No. 4 in America in pass defense while posting top 15 numbers in both yards per game allowed (217.5) and points per game allowed (10.5).

But then you look back at who these teams have played against, and it all makes sense.

Mississippi State has beaten up Charleston Southern and Louisiana Tech, while LSU has beaten BYU and Chattanooga.

The only thing that we will say is that these teams are a combined 3-0-1 ATS as well, so even though the results won't stand out when you look at the competition, the oddsmakers realize that these teams have overachieved by their own lofty standards.

Key Factor

LSU is going to have to avoid beating itself in this game. The team has had a total of 21 penalties called against it in two games at home this year. Going on the road is only going to make matters worse, especially playing games in SEC Country where it is a hated squad.

For as great as Ed Orgeron is as a coach, his teams are never all that disciplined. The Bayou Bengals are perpetually one of the most-penalized teams in America, and that could be the one thing that gets in their way in this one even though they clearly have a huge talent advantage against a Mississippi State team that pretty much has a great quarterback and a Conference USA caliber team around him.

LSU vs. Mississippi State Free Picks

You're going to look back to last year's game in Baton Rouge between these two teams and see that Mississippi State was only beaten 23-20. Was the game really ever close? Nah. The Bulldogs were down 20-0 before they got on the board, and the only reason they drew that close in the second half was because of back-to-back touchdowns inside of 40 seconds of each other with less than five minutes to go in the game.

Fitzgerald found himself on the bench after running for 13 yards on 13 carries and throwing for 120 yards on 12-of-24 completions. Damian Williams actually led the two touchdown drives to get in front of the spread.

This time around, we can't imagine Mississippi State is going to have any better luck. If the Bulldogs are going to go 1-for-14 again on third downs as they did last year in this fixture, you'll be able to truly clean up against your top online sportsbook.

College Football ATS Pick: Play LSU at
College Football Score Prediction: LSU 27, Mississippi State 10