Mississippi State vs. Arkansas kicks off this Saturday at 12:00pm EST in Fayetteville Arkansas as a home game for the Razorbacks. Mississippi State is currently a +5.5 underdog and +205 on the moneyline while the total is set at 48.5. Read on for more Mississippi State vs. Arkansas best bets and predictions as Arkansas looks to get back in the win column by covering the spread.
Mississippi State Vs. Arkansas Prediction & Best Bet
It has been as brutal as it gets for the Arkansas Razorbacks, losing five straight games while dealing with an abundance of injuries to their star players. They currently sit at 2-5, now having their backs against the wall in desperation mode while trying to get their season back on track with their bowl hopes still alive.
That all starts with a game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs, another team that has been in flux as they are currently 3-3 and coming off a lackluster performance against Western Michigan. The Bulldogs have also been ravaged by injuries during this stint, seeing the likes of Will Rogers, Justin Robinson, and Jo’Quavious Marks all listed as questionable. They come off a bye with extra time to heal, but their status is still in question as of writing.
Assuming they are able to give it a go as rumors indicate, success will still be tough to come by against a stout Arkansas defense. The Razorbacks defense currently ranks 44th in Def Success Rate, 32nd in Def Points per Opportunity, and 20th in Havoc. Explosiveness poses a potential issue, especially through the air, as Arkansas currently ranks 114th in Def Pass Explosiveness while the Bulldogs clock in at 38th in that department on offense.
Unfortunately for Mississippi State, connecting on explosive plays may be tough to come by as Arkansas excels at generating pressure and creating Havoc. This will especially be an issue for the Bulldogs as they rank 85th in Havoc Allowed, routinely putting themselves in poor situations that may result in turnovers and stalled out drives. It takes time for receivers to get behind the secondary and Arkansas’s front seven is in a position to negate that factor by collapsing the pocket.
That plays right into Arkansas hands as this gives their offense extra possessions in an effort to set a scoring pace too fast for Mississippi State to keep up with. Especially if they find themselves in scoring position, taking advantage of a Bulldogs defense that ranks near dead last in Def Points per Opportunity. A brunt of that red zone inefficiency comes from defending the pass inside the 20, now having to go against dual threat KJ Jefferson who ranks 52nd in Pass PPA.
Mississippi State Vs. Arkansas Prediction & Best Bet: Arkansas -5.5
Mississippi State Vs. Arkansas Betting Odds
With their backs against the wall, the Razorbacks are in a prime bounce back spot as oddsmakers opened them as a -7 favorite. Bettors believe that number opened a tad too high, backing the Bulldogs down to as low as +5.5 as of writing. A shocking movement, and one that may be directly correlated to Mississippi State returning their starting skill players after being injured before the bye.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a moderate pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 50.5. Like the spread, bettors believe that number opened too high and have backed the under down to as low as 48.5. Blasting through the key number of 49 with indicators pointing towards this going even lower, giving conviction that both defenses are in a position to stall out each other’s offense when in mid field.
Mississippi State Vs. Arkansas Key Matchups
Can Arkansas’s offense still find success without star running back Rocket Sanders?
Arkansas Pass Attack Vs. Mississippi State Defense
Rocket Sanders has already been ruled out of this contest, leaving a void in the Arkansas backfield as they struggle to maintain rushing production during his absence. This has ticked down the Razorback rushing metrics, now ranking 70th in Rush Success Rate, 84th in Rush PPA, and 119th in Rush Explosiveness.
Can’t bring down KJ Jefferson 😤 pic.twitter.com/dnZA3juvxt
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) October 14, 2023
While Mississippi State’s front seven hovers around average in rush defense, they serve far worse in defending the pass as they rank 127th in Def Pass PPA and 129th in Def Pass Success Rate. That gives KJ Jefferson ample opportunities to cut the distance to gain in half with his arm, keeping drives alive by getting a higher chance of converting later downs at shorter distances.