Tennessee Volunteers vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs: College Football Week 7 Predictions

Tennessee Volunteers at No. 19 Mississippi State Bulldogs
Saturday, 10/13/12, 9:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN2
Opening Point Spread:  Mississippi State -3
Current Betting Line:  Mississippi State -3
Opening Total:  57.5
Current Total:  57.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Mississippi State Bulldogs are 3-0 ATS as home favorites of seven or fewer points since 2010

Tennessee has won a series-best six consecutive games in this series since 1995, which includes two consecutive wins at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville.  The Volunteers will be coming off a bye week, as they have alternated wins and losses over their last four games, as they look to bounce back from a 51-44 setback to the Georgia Bulldogs as 13.5-point road underdogs.  Most of the team’s problems are found on the defensive end, as the unit ranks 12th or worst in the SEC in rushing defense, total defense and points allowed.  Tennessee is 3-4 ATS as a road underdog over the last two-plus years, with the OVER going 5-2 in those contests.

The Volunteers have won the last six meetings by 10 or more points, with an average margin of victory of 24.5.  Tennessee has enjoyed great success in conference play when coming off an open date, posting a 40-25-2 record in that situation.  Offense certainly hasn’t been the problem, ranking second in the SEC and 17th nationally in averaging 506.6 yards per game, while its 2,533 yards of total offense is the most in school history through five games.  The ground game is averaging 177.4 yards per game, which is an increase of 87.3 yards per game from a season ago.  Quarterback Tyler Bray will try to deliver the program’s first win over a ranked team since Oct. 31, 2009.

Mississippi State is off to its best start since the 1999 campaign, recording five wins in the first five contests for only the fourth time in 113 years of playing football.  The Bulldogs are coming off a 27-14 win over the Kentucky Wildcats as 10-point road favorites, as they won the statistical battle by a 199-yard margin.  Offensively, the team has scored 171 points through five games, which is the highest total since 1944.  Mississippi State is 3-0 ATS as a home favorite of seven points or less, with the UNDER going 3-0 in those contests.

The Bulldogs stop unit has performed well in front of the home fans under coordinator Chris Wilson, as the group has given up only two touchdowns in its last 16 quarters inside this venue.  Mississippi State has also allowed an average of 76.0 first-half yards in its last four conference home games.  Facing Bray will certainly be a challenge, but the team is allowing less than 200 passing yards per game on the year, while ranking eighth nationally with nine interceptions.

Sports bettors will likely play the total in this contest, as the UNDER has gone 5-0 in the Bulldogs last five home games.

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