As we begin to watch the college football bowl games unfold, the matchup between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Texas Tech Red Raiders may be one of the bigger spreads. Mississippi State went 7-5 in the regular season, landing them a third-place finish in the SEC West. Texas Tech had a similar record of 6-6 but landed in seventh place in the Big 12 Conference. Both teams were in very competitive conferences and could not compare to top teams that ended in the top ten slots in the nation. After a stellar second season at Mississippi State, all eyes will be on the Bulldogs quarterback, Will Rogers. Rogers has incredible stats and has been a great leader for the SEC team. This season, the Red Raiders have struggled to develop a consistent quarterback due to injuries and lacking performance. The teams will play in the Liberty Bowl on Tuesday, December 28th, at 6:45 PM EST.
Mississippi State Vs. Texas Tech Betting Odds
Mississippi State Betting Odds
It’s no secret that the Mississippi State Bulldogs have great odds against the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Although their records look similar, their play is far from close. Mississippi State plays in the toughest football conference in the league, the SEC, and has still managed to stay afloat for a bowl game. Their quarterback has been the star of the show. Will Rogers found himself atop of the NCAA completion ratings and landed himself in second place for yardage for a college quarterback. He has successfully thrown for 35 touchdowns and only eight interceptions, which is better than many NFL QB’s. Rogers has been off of the field for about a month now, but I don’t suspect his energy to die down in the bowl game. In the regular season, Rogers was able to secure 4,449 passing yards for 35 touchdowns. These stats are within the best in the nation, and he can continue to improve throughout the last three years of his eligibility. In this bowl game, Rogers has the authentic probability of washing the Raiders’ defense and stumping them with his accuracy and agility.
Makai Polk has been one of the standouts for the Bulldogs team. He has been looked to as the main target in his junior year. He had 989 receiving yards in the regular season, along with nine touchdown receptions. The Texas Tech Raiders defense has had difficulty stopping opposing offensive players from scoring, and Polk can make them pay for their mistakes.
The Bulldogs have an impressive record from their regular season. They averaged 30 points a game with only allowing 25. They have a more impressive rush defense compared to their pass defense with 101 rushing yards and 230 passing yards per game. With the Raiders’ confusion surrounding their quarterback position, I see an excellent opportunity for a great performance from the Mississippi State defense to stop Texas Tech in their tracks.
Texas Tech Betting Odds
The Texas Tech Red Raiders have had some trouble finding their rhythm this 2021 season. They ended their season with a two-game losing streak to the top two teams in the Big 12, the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Baylor Bears. They have struggled to lock down a starting quarterback, throughout the season, and it significantly affected their gameplay. The teams’ original starter, Tyler Shough, injured his collarbone in their conference opener against the Texas Longhorns and has yet to return to playing for the team. They then started Henry Colombi, who was replaced with Donovan Smith after five starts. Donovan Smith will be the starting quarterback entering the week of the Liberty Bowl. Smith is a redshirt freshman who has 929 passing yards and only two interceptions in four starts. Although Smith is a young quarterback, he is Tech’s best chance of taking on Mississippi State.
Texas Tech will be missing their top receiver, Erik Ezukanma, in this bowl game since he has declared for the 2022 NFL draft. In his place, Donovan Smith may look towards Kaylon Geiger for receptions. Geiger is in his last year as a Texas Tech player and will want to make his last game a meaningful one. He has 524 receiving yards and one touchdown reception so far this year.
Tech’s offense frequently likes to utilize a rush offense, especially with a new quarterback. When they keep the ball out of the air, they’ll probably alternate hand-offs between Tahj Brooks and SaRodorick Thompson. Brooks has 461 rushing yards on 71 attempts, and Thompson has 420 yards on 93 attempts. The two running backs are key point scorers for the team with a combined 15 touchdowns. Mississippi State’s defense will have to focus on the two if they want to keep the Tech offense at bay.
The defensive strategy around Texas Tech has to focus on stopping Will Rogers. Their pass defense has struggled slightly throughout the year. They allow an average of 266 passing yards per game and allow 32 points scored. In order to have a chance at victory, the defensive line will have to play very aggressively to keep Rogers from looking downfield and making detrimental plays.
Mississippi State Vs. Texas Tech Picks & Prediction
The Liberty Bowl is not projected to be a close match. The Mississippi Bulldogs are expected to blow the Texas Tech Red Raiders away in their bowl games. The Bulldogs have a more sturdy offense and allow fewer points compared to the Raiders’ defense.
The spread is set at -9.5 (-115) for the Bulldogs and +9.5 (-105) for the Raiders. The over/under has been placed at 58.5 points for both teams. In this matchup, I would think the Bulldogs securing a win by over 9.5 points is a very possible bet. The power of Will Rogers has pushed the Mississippi team into a good position in the best conference in the nation, whereas Tech struggled to find a solid placement in the Big 12. Both teams have a record of scoring and allowing large point sums all year. I believe it is very possible for the point values to reach over 58.5 points, but it may mostly come from the Bulldogs.
I would be very wary of taking any bet that will doubt Will Rogers. At the end of the second half, the spread has been placed at -3.5 for Mississippi State. The Texas Tech Raiders are notorious for struggling in the second half, whereas Mississippi State can shine at the end of the game. I think this may be one of the easiest bets to take in the Bowl Game lineup.