Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Iowa Hawkeyes
Date and Time: Tuesday, January 1, 2019, 12 p.m. ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
Opening CFB Odds: Mississippi State -6, 44.5
Mississippi State vs. Iowa TV Coverage: ESPN
It was a tale of two halves for the Hawkeyes for CFB bettors this season. Kirk Ferentz’s kids got out of the gates with their hair on fire in going 6-1 SU and ATS with the lone defeat coming against a Wisconsin team it likely should’ve beaten at home. From there, Iowa tripped and stumbled its way to 2-3 SU and 1-4 ATS records to finish fourth in the West Division due to dropping tiebreakers to Purdue and Northwestern. While the Hawkeyes bring it defensively, the offense leaves much to be desired with it ranked No. 78 overall and No. 47 in scoring. In the end, that will prove to be their demise against a stingy Miss State outfit.
The Dawgs were one of my favorite teams to wager upon at top rated sportsbooks this season. The Bulldogs didn’t skip a beat with Joe Moorhead taking over for Dan Mullen who took his talents to Gainesville and turned the Gators fortunes around in only a season. Mississippi State bolted out of the gates with a perfect 3-0 SU & ATS record, but faltered once SEC play opened up in falling to both Kentucky and Florida in low scoring matchups. They then went on to close the season out with five wins and only a pair of losses to LSU and Alabama; the latter of which they held to just 24 points in Tuscaloosa. The Dawgs “D” is for real evidenced by the under cashing in nine of their 11 lined games!
389.7 YPG – The Hawkeyes combined for a grand total of just under 390 yards per game. It ranked No. 74 on the ground with an average of 157.9 yards per game and No. 75 through the air with an average of 217.6 yards per game. That’s simply not going to get it done against a Mississippi State defense that ranks No. 3 in the country in total defense ( 268.4 YPG ) as well as No. 1 in scoring defense in conceding just 12.0 points per game. The fact that stud tight end Noah Fant won’t be taking the field for this matchup makes Iowa’s chances of putting points on the board against this defense all the more bleak.
Matchup To Watch
Iowa proved to be a solid defensive team as well. It only served up an average of 17.4 points per game ( No. 11 ) and ranked No. 8 in total defense in allowing just under 291.0 yards per game. Both team’s stop units proved to be excellent in limiting third down conversions with the Hawkeyes ranked No. 21 in that department ( 34% ) and the Bulldogs No. 7 ( 28.9% ). Whichever of these teams is best able to move the chains on more occasions will get the leg up in coming out the victor against the closing CFB odds. On paper, the Hawkeyes look to have an advantage in doing just that with it ranked No. 18 in third down conversion percentage comparted to Mississippi State’s No. 42 ranking, but Iowa is yet to see a defense as nasty as the Dawgs this season.
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The first to 10 points seriously might win this game. I say that tongue in cheek. This will end up being your classic case of the offense letting the defense down in a big way. Iowa will get its fair share of stops, but in the end, I firmly expect Miss State to come up with way more which will allow Nick Fitzgerald and Kylin Hill to salt the game away in the late stages of the game. All those reps will ultimately get to Iowa’s defense which will prevent it from coming up with stops on third down, and more importantly, in the red zone. It’s not going to be pretty. In fact, it’s likely to be downright ugly. It doesn’t matter how you go about winning, just so long as you do. Covering the number would be a bonus, and that’s exactly what Mississippi State will do to put a bow on a fantastic season at the best online sportsbooks.
CFB ATS Betting Pick: Mississippi State -7 & Under 43.5 at BookMaker.eu
CFB Score Prediction: Bulldogs 23 – Hawkeyes 9