Arkansas Razorbacks at Mississippi State Bulldogs
Saturday, 11/20/10, 7:00 PM EDT, TV: ESPN
Opening Point Spread: Arkansas -4
Current Betting Line: Arkansas -3
Opening Total: 52
Current Total: 52.5
Current Moneyline: Arkansas -150 / Mississippi State +130
Arkansas hits the road for the last time in 2010, traveling to Starkville, Mississippi to face the 22nd-ranked Bulldogs. The Razorbacks only blemishes on their schedule up to this point is losses to Alabama and Auburn, which many SEC experts predicted before the season kicked off. Quarterback Ryan Mallett is the leader of a high-scoring offense, completing more than 67 percent of his passes for 2,967 yards and 24 touchdowns. He has been instrumental in the offense scoring nearly 38 points per game. “They run kind of a pro-style offense,” Bulldogs linebacker Chris White stated. “It’s definitely a big game for us and they can put up some numbers if we don’t play well.” Arkansas extended its winning streak to four games with an impressive 58-21 win over UTEP last Saturday. The team is 5-1 ATS versus conference opponents and the college football lines page has them listed as a slight road favorite.
The Razorbacks are averaging 46.5 points per game while allowing 19.5 per contest during its four-game streak. Arkansas has also won six of its last seven games in November dating back to the final game of the 2008 season. Head coach Bobby Petrino’s .760 career winning percentage during the month ranks as the second-highest among current SEC coaches with at least one full year as a head coach. Many teams will simply concentrate on the Razorbacks’ potent aerial attack, but the unit has rushed for at least 100 yards in six straight games, including a season-high 326 versus the Miners last week. Defensively, Arkansas has been impressive in holding opponents to a 30.8 percent conversion rate on third-down, which is the best mark in the SEC.
Mississippi State returns to Davis Wade Stadium for a Southeastern Conference matchup against a Western Division opponent after suffering a 30-10 road loss to Alabama last week. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, if we give-up three 45-yards touchdown plays, we’re not going to do very well,” said head coach Dan Mullen. The team did have a six-game winning streak snapped, but Mullen believes that his team is well-equipped to bounce back. “They’ve been in this position before,” he commented. “I think they kind of got used to winning a little bit, so it stung.” One element of the squad’s game that shouldn’t be missing is the running game, gaining at least 100 yards in 21 of the last 22 games. MSU is 8-7 ATS as a home underdog of three points or less.
The Bulldogs will have to look no further than the turnover column on Saturday, posting a +11 margin in their seven wins and -4 in three losses. Mississippi State has also outrushed its opponent seven times this season, winning each of those games. Arkansas is definitely going to score some points in this contest, but the defense’s ability to limit them from scoring touchdowns is going to be important. The unit is third in the SEC in red-zone defense, allowing 22 scores on 30 trips.
Bettors will be interested in playing the Razorbacks due to their 16-5 ATS mark in November, while the Bulldogs are 2-8 ATS in the month.
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