October 14, 2016
There is one pick tonight.
In addition, a total of 4 college football picks have been released for Saturday and one NFL pick so far for Sunday!
Take BYU -7 spread against Mississippi State for 3% of the bankroll.
This is an interesting Friday night matchup as the Mississippi State Bulldogs make a rare trip to Provo, Utah to take on the BYU Cougars. Normally we would be inclined to lean with the underdog in a matchup such as this, especially considering the fact that both of these teams are coming off matchups of varying motivation. The Cougars themselves are coming off a big road win over Big 10 powerhouse Michigan State, while the Bulldogs are coming off an extremely poor home performance where they were run over by the Auburn Tigers. While we would normally expect a letdown for BYU and an improved performance by Mississippi State, we believe the opposite will happen as this is an extremely difficult matchup for the Bulldogs.
While the Bulldogs are an SEC team and sport SEC talent, there is a reason why they don't often travel out of the southeast. This will be the latest start of any game for the Bulldogs and that could certainly play a role in their preparation in playing later at night than they are used to. This game is also being played in altitude, a place where a majority of these players are not used to playing in. If you have never played in altitude, it can be an absolute draining experience, especially after a full 60 minutes of play. The Cougars will certainly have the advantage not only because they are at home, but because these players are used to the thin mountain air and with a pounding ground attack led by Jamaal Williams, we expect the BYU ground game to wear out the Bulldog players and put them on their heels early in this contest.
Williams is currently the second-leading rusher in the nation and needs just 64 yards to become BYU’s all-time leading rusher. His 10 rushing touchdowns this season trails only Heisman front-runner Lamar Jackson. HE has proven to be the real deal and will have a chance to showcase his talent against an SEC defense in this contest. Last week, he completely dominated what was perceived to be a very good run-stop unit in Michigan State. Mississippi State is allowing 132 rushing yards per contest. They also conceded 83 yards on the ground to South Alabama’s lead back and allowed 293 rushing yards to UMass. IF they struggled to contain those "lesser" backs, they will certainly have a hard time containing Williams who has rushed for at least 160 yards in each of BYU’s victories. We see no reason why he shouldn't hit that mark in this contest.
Another area that we feel could be exploited in this matchup is both teams’ ability to covert on third down. In the Cougars’ victory over Michigan State, BYU converted 10 of 16 third downs. That mark improved in the second half when the Cougars converted 6 of 9 and scored 28 points to rally past the Spartans 31-14. BYU is currently ranked 18th nationally in third-down conversion percentage, having converted 48.3 percent of their attempts. Including the Cougars' 10 of 15 third-down effort against West Virginia, they have converted above 60 percent twice in the past three weeks and we could see a similar effort against the Bulldogs. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have struggled on third down this season and are only converting 30.9 percent of their third-down attempts. The ability to move the chains and keep drives alive are critical and BYU has certainly proven to be the more proficient team thus far this season.
Games can be won or lost in the 4th quarter and so far, this season, the Cougars have owned the fourth quarter in their contests. Through the first half of the season, the Cougars have scored 76 points in the fourth quarter; an average of 12.7 points per contest. Their scoring in the final frame has accounted for 44.9 percent of their scoring this season. The end of the game has by far been the best-scoring quarter for the Cougars this season and allows. Mississippi State is more even in its scoring by quarter and has scored 30 points, or an average of six points per game in the fourth quarter, which is about half of what the Cougars have scored this season. MSU has also been a notoriously slow slow-starting team this season, having scored only 17 points in the first quarter this year.
BYU has played (by far) the toughest schedule in the country and has been able to hold their own in every game thus far as evident by their 5-1 ATS record. There is no question that the SEC is by far the toughest conference in the country and this is the Cougars chance to show that they are able to compete with the 'Big Boys' and still have success. They will aim to prove that their victory over Michigan State was no fluke and that they are by far the better team in this contest. Judging by the trends and performances of both these teams this season, we expect BYU to jump out to an early lead only to have Mississippi State close the distance in the second and third quarters. Doing what they have done all season, the Cougars will rally in the fourth, create separation on the scoreboard and at the end of the game, will do just enough to not only come away with the victory, but will also cover the spread in the process.
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