Alabama Vs. Mississippi State Predictions, Picks, NCAAB Odds (12/28/22)

Either Mississippi State mailed it in for the holidays and exam time or they have some serious issues because it has not been pretty for the Bulldogs in their last two games. Narrowly defeating Nicholls State and losing outright to Drake have made their future outlook bleak as they prepare for conference play. Can Mississippi State turn it around and defeat the high-powered Alabama offense?

Alabama Vs. Mississippi State Odds

Oddsmakers don’t think so as they opened the Bulldogs as a +2.5 underdog at home. Bettors believe this is a buy low spot by baking MSST down to as low as +1.5 in some shops. This comes as a bit of a surprise after the Bulldogs recent level of play, showing a struggling offense that will be hard pressed to keep up with Alabama’s blistering scoring pace. It will be up to their defense to give them a fighting chance, a unit that is one of the best in the nation at defense.

Speaking of defense, points are expected to come at a steady pace as oddsmakers opened the total at 137.5. Bettors believe there is a greater chance for high quality looks, taking the over up to as high as 140.5. This heavily plays on the ability for Mississippi St to find offensive success as their efficiency has plummeted the week before Christmas. Could outside factors have played an influence in their on court execution? We’ll find out tonight.

Alabama Vs. Mississippi State Prediction & Pick

The Pick: MSST +2

Even in the midst of their horrific two game stretch, I agree with fellow bettors that this is a prime buy low spot. Not only because of recency bias, but also because Mississippi State possesses an identity to thwart the high-powered Alabama offense.

As previously mentioned, Mississippi State is one of the most efficient defenses in the league with a fifth placed Adjusted Defensive Efficiency rating per Kenpom. Their defense has been a key metric to the program’s surprising success to start the season, ranking 21st in the AP poll and sitting on a 11-1 record.

Their defense will need to be clicking on all cylinders once again as they now welcome one of the fastest pace high powered offenses in the league. Alabama’s offense currently ranks in the top-20 in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency and fourth in Tempo. Simply put, Alabama wants to turn this into a track meet and try to bury their opponents with efficient three-point shooting.

Limiting the Alabama offense will be easier said than done as they are persistent and continue the onslaught until the final buzzer. They shoot threes at one of the highest rates in the league, well above the league average. To maximize the efficiency of a lower quality look, they also excel at offensive rebounding. This gives them second chance opportunities against an already reeling defense that has to base a majority of their stamina defending the perimeter.

Lucky for the Bulldogs, they excel at smothering the perimeter and forcing their opponents into low quality shot selections. This is exactly what they will need to do as cutting off the Alabama perimeter offense is the key to defeating them as this greatly halts their scoring pace. Especially since the Bulldogs do not contain the explosiveness to trade buckets with them.

Alabama Vs. Mississippi State Key Matchups

Mississippi State’s defense is poised to limit the Alabama scoring production, but will their offense give them the much needed help they deserve to get the upset victory?

Mississippi State scoring production vs Alabama defense

It’s no secret that the success of the Mississippi State Bulldogs has come from their defense. While their defense has consistently ranked as one of the best units in the nation this year, their offense has been more league average with a 134th Adjusted Offensive Efficiency ranking.

They lack consistency from the perimeter, shooting a lowly 30% from deep. Instead, they opt in to generating offense from the block with forward Tolu Smith running the show. Smith is the only scorer in double figures with 11 players playing meaningful minutes.

Half court sets for high quality two pointers at the rim won’t cut it against Alabama and their blistering scoring pace. Mississippi State will instead need to pick up the pace and turn their defense into offense with points in transition. In turn, they will then need to slow down Alabama when they throw a counter transition.

Verdict

Back Mississippi State on the number in a potential bounce back opportunity. With their defense capable of slowing down the Alabama scoring output, this may give them an ample enough opportunity to keep scoring pace and get the upset.

Kody is a sports betting writer here at Lineups. He specializes in college sports as well as the NFL and NBA. He won’t quit believing in the Lions Super Bowl chances even when they are eliminated.

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