College Bowl Picks: Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Friday, 12/30/11, 6:40 PM EST, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Mississippi State -6.5
Current Betting Line:  Mississippi State -6.5
Opening Total:  48
Current Total:  47.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are back in a bowl game after a two-year hiatus

Mississippi State closes its 2011 season with its second-straight trip to a postseason bowl games in taking on Wake Forest in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl at LP Field in Nashville.  “I’m really proud of our guys—the way they battled, the way they fought,” commented Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen this week.  The program is making consecutive trips to a bowl game for the first time since 1999-2000.  The Bulldogs captured a dominating 52-14 victory in last year’s Gator Bowl against the Michigan Wolverines.  Mississippi State is 11-5 ATS as a favorite the last two-plus seasons.

The Bulldogs are currently on pace to rack up the third most statistically impressive offensive season in school history, while the defensive unit ranks second in the Southeastern Conference in allowing opponents to score touchdowns in just 19-of-43 opportunities inside the red zone.  It’s important to note that Mississippi State hasn’t lost to an unranked foe in Mullen’s three seasons with the program.  Defensive coordinator Chris Wilson has developed one of the best pass defenses in the country, ranking 23rd nationally, allowing just 12 touchdowns with 12 interceptions.

Wake Forest returns to the postseason after a two-year hiatus and finished the regular season with a 6-6 overall record.  “I thought that we played hard all year,” stated Demon Deacons head coach Jim Grobe.  The Demon Deacons are led by sophomore quarterback Tanner Price, who finished the regular season with 2,803 passing yards and 20 touchdowns.  He will definitely try and target junior Chris Givens, catching 74 passes for a school-record 1,276 receiving yards.  Wake Forest is 2-1 ATS when playing with two or more weeks of rest the last two-plus years.

The Demon Deacons will be making their 10th bowl appearance, posting a 6-3 mark in those contests.  Wake Forest will look to bounce back from a disastrous 41-7 loss to the Vanderbilt Commodores to finish the season as one-point favorites, as the program has been out-gained in seven of its last eight games.  Protecting the football has been a strength for this squad during the 2011 campaign, turning the ball over just 12 times.

Bettors will likely back the Bulldogs due to their 5-0 ATS mark in December, while the Demon Deacons are 2-5 ATS as an underdog of 3.5 to 10 points.

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