LSU vs. Mississippi State: Prediction, Best Bets, College Football Odds (9/16/23)

#14 LSU goes on the road to face unranked Mississippi State this Saturday (9/16/23). Get LSU vs. Mississippi State predictions and best bets reasoning below; our best bet is LSU moneyline and against the spread.

LSU vs. Mississippi State Prediction & Best Bet

LSU won this matchup 31-16 last season, and I am expecting a similar score in this rematch. The Tigers are absolutely stacked with weapons, as outside receivers Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr are both bound for the NFL. Nabers brings speed, crisp route running, and body control, while Thomas Jr is a massive target with reliable hands in traffic. To make matters worse, Mississippi State must also cover Kyren Lacy – another huge target.

The Bulldogs own a sturdy secondary led by corner Decamerion Richardson and a safety duo of Shawn Preston Jr and Marcus Banks. However, the Tigers are too explosive and too massive in contested catch situations for Mississippi State to hang. Jayden Daniels has only attempted seven deep passes so far this season, but he has four Big Time Throws and no Turnover Worthy Plays on them (per PFF). This trend held true last season, as Daniels had an eleven to one ratio here.

Finally, the Bulldogs face a quality LSU offensive line that can win both their pass and run-blocking snaps. Mississippi State has to defend a talented running back room and a quarterback in Jayden Daniels that loves to take off when given space. The Bulldogs’ defensive line is already somewhat flimsy, so this matchup is a nightmare for them. Factor in LSU’s elite receivers, and the Tigers should move the ball and control the clock despite facing a stout secondary.

On the other side, quarterback Will Rogers isn’t a player that can throw clutch haymakers. Per PFF, of the 93 quarterbacks with at least 300 dropbacks last year, he ranked 92nd in average depth of target and 7th in adjusted completion percentage. Rogers operates in the short and intermediate areas of the field and rarely tests corners with a deep ball. He’s a desirable quarterback with the correct weapons surrounding him, but Mississippi State’s receivers are far from ideal. Outside of slot receiver Lideatrick Griffin – a yards after the catch machine – the Bulldogs will struggle to gain traction against LSU’s coverage.

Given Rogers’ style, Mississippi State must consistently move the ball in small chunks, which requires long drives. They won’t be able to match LSU’s offensive potential as a result, and the Tigers’ linebackers can adequately cover the middle of the field against Mississippi State’s crossing routes.

Overall, LSU’s advantages on both sides of the ball should allow them to take a comfortable victory.

LSU vs. Mississippi State Prediction & Best Bet: LSU -8.5 and moneyline

LSU vs. Mississippi State Betting Odds

LSU is a decent favorite here, as the spread is currently -8.5 or -9 on most sportsbooks. LSU bettors will want to take this line immediately in case it reaches ten points, as the probability of a push instead of a win greatly increases. On the other hand, Mississippi State bettors should wait and search for a 10-point line. The over under sits at 53.5 total points, so seven touchdowns is the maximum before the under can no longer be achieved (assuming extra points are made).

LSU vs. Mississippi State Key Matchups

Which teams will win these key matchups and boost their cover chances?

Mississippi State Interior Defense vs. LSU Run Game

Per PFF, LSU has rushed into the A Gaps (immediate left and right of the center) 20 times this season for a total of 205 yards, or 10.25 yards per attempt. They also thrived last season in this department too; the Tigers recorded 721 yards on 113 attempts, which is 6.38 yards per attempt. Can the Bulldogs stop the Tigers?

Nathan Pickering is back for his fifth season and remains by far Mississippi State’s top run defender. The 310-pound defensive tackle can anchor himself against double teams and deter running backs from testing the interior. In addition, the Bulldogs will rely on linebackers Nathaniel Watson and Jett Johnson to clean up missed tackles and fill in any lanes created by LSU’s offensive line. If Mississippi State can neutralize LSU’s interior running game, then they will have a better chance of forcing third and longs.

Mississippi State Pass Rush vs. LSU Offensive Line

Of the 93 quarterbacks with at least 300 dropbacks last season, Jayden Daniels ranked 92nd in pressure to sack percentage (per PFF). His ability to scramble helps move the chains, but he also doesn’t recognize when to throw the ball away and reset for the next down. Therefore, a consistent pass rush can kill LSU’s drives through timely sacks.

Unfortunately for Mississippi State, their pass rush is a glaring weakness. They were 122nd of 131 teams last season in PFF’s pass rush grade and currently rank 126th. No defensive linemen has a pass rush win percentage over seven percent, and they face a strong LSU offensive line that has allowed only one sack this year. Mississippi State has to generate pressure if they want to force Daniels into committing mistakes, and it seems unlikely that they can accomplish this feat.

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Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2021-22 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs about analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions and NBA Analysis Network.

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