College Football Week 2 Predictions: Auburn Tigers at Mississippi State Bulldogs

Auburn Tigers at Mississippi State Bulldogs
Saturday, 9/8/12, 12:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Mississippi State -3
Current Betting Line:  Mississippi State -3
Opening Total:  48
Current Total:  46.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Kiehl Frazier will need to show more under center if the Auburn Tigers plan on pulling off a small upset against Mississippi State

Auburn visits Mississippi State in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams, which gives this road underdog incredible value.  The Tigers have have won 18 of their last 19 league openers, including a 41-34 victory over Saturday’s opponent as 5.5-point home underdogs last year.  It’s important to note that the program will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 26-19 loss to the Clemson Tigers inside the Georgia Dome in Week 1.  Auburn is 12-5 ATS versus SEC opponents the last two-plus seasons, with the “over” going 13-4 in that situation.

The Tigers are starting the season with two non-home games for the first time since 1984, while also presented with the challenge of having new coordinators on both sides of the ball.  Auburn holds a 60-23-2 all-time advantage in this series, with the last two games being decided in the final drive.  Quarterback Kiehl Frazier will need to show improvement in this affair, completing 11 of 27 passes for 194 yards in the opening week.

Mississippi State hasn’t won its first conference game since 1999, with nine of those setbacks coming against opponents that were ranked in the top 25.  The Bulldogs are hoping that quarterback Tyler Russell can help snap that streak, completing 15 of 23 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns in the team’s 56-9 win over Jacksonville State as 38-point home favorites.  “I was happy, really, with his leadership on the field,” commented Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen.  Mississippi State is 6-2 ATS as a home favorite the last two-plus seasons.

The Bulldogs passing offense figures to take center stage this year with Russell under center, especially since the school record for touchdown passes in a season has been broken the last two years under offensive coordinator Les Koenning and Mullen.  Mississippi State has been known as a rushing team, eclipsing the 200-yard mark 22 times in 39 games since 2009.  Three running backs averaged 6.2 yards or more per carry in the opener, with a steady rotation expected throughout the campaign.

Sports bettors will likely back the Tigers due to their 8-2 ATS mark in the last 10 meetings, while the Bulldogs are 4-5 ATS in their last nine September contests.

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