Miami (OH) vs Mississippi State St. Petersburg Bowl Odds, Pick & TV Info

Posted by Kenny Bell on Friday,December 23, 2016 8:55, EST in

A Mid-American Conference team against an SEC team? Sure would seem to be a mismatch on paper and indeed Mississippi State is a huge NCAA football betting favorite against Miami of Ohio in the Dec. 26 St. Petersburg Bowl from the Tampa Bay area.

Miami (OH) vs Mississippi State St. Petersburg Bowl Odds, Pick & TV Info

When: Monday, Dec. 26, 11 AM ET
Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg
TV: ESPN
Stream: WatchESPN
RadioMiami (OH) / Mississippi State
Opening NCAA Football Lines: MSU -13.5 (58.5)

Why Bet on Miami (OH)?

These are uncharted waters for a program that endured a 5-19 combined record in head coach Chuck Martin’s first two seasons at the helm, and worse before he arrived. No current players have represented Miami in a bowl game.

Miami’s 21-20 victory against Ball State in the regular-season finale made the RedHawks bowl eligible for the first time since 2010. Miami became the first team in college football history to finish a regular season 6-6 after losing its first six games. What changed? Quarterback Gus Ragland returned midway through the season from an ACL tear.

Ragland has been efficient (62.4 percent completion rate) and mistake-free (15 TD, 0 INT) since assuming the reins. This game will present an interesting test for Ragland and Miami’s offense, as Mississippi State has had issues on defense all season. The Bulldogs are last in the SEC against the pass, giving up 283 yards per game through the air.

The RedHawks also feature the Mid-American Conference’s top ranked defense, allowing 361.4 yards and 23.4 points per game. While most defenses are led by one or two special players, the RedHawks’ defense is highlighted by many faces. Tony Reid (84) and Junior McMullen (82) lead the RedHawks in tackles, Heath Harding and De’Andre Montgomey are tops on the team in interceptions (4), JT Jones leads the team in sacks (6.5) and tackles for loss (11.5) and Austin Gearing’s three forced fumbles is tops on the team.

The St. Petersburg Bowl is Miami’s 11th bowl contest in school history. Overall, the RedHawks are 7-3 in bowl games, last playing in the post season in the 2010 GoDaddy Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

Why Bet on MSU?

It was a disappointing season for Dan Mullen and the Bulldogs (5-7), but they finished the regular season on a high note with a win against rival Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl. The Bulldogs were one of three teams without six bowl-eligible wins to earn a berth based on their Academic Progress Rate rankings.

MSU has a rising star at QB in Nick Fitzgerald. In the Bulldogs’ seven losses, he threw six touchdowns and five interceptions. In their five wins, he had 15 touchdowns and five interceptions. He rushed for a team-high 1,361 yards and 14 touchdowns and accounted for 35 of the offense’s 46 touchdowns.

Fitzgerald’s rushing total was nearly twice as many as the team’s second-leading rusher Aeris Williams (656 yards). Elsewhere, keep an eye on receiver Fred Ross (12 touchdowns). Overall, the Bulldogs average 31.5 points and 449.0 yards per game. Mississippi State will be without four injured players for its bowl game, coach Dan Mullen announced on Thursday in A.J. Jefferson, Michael Story, Darryl Williams and Deion Calhoun. Jefferson is a senior defensive lineman with four sacks and 30 tackles this year, while the other three play across the ball.

Defensively, the Bulldogs allow 33.1 points and 461.2 yards per game and are led by defensive end Johnathan Calvin, who recorded 54 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 7.0 sacks on the season. MSU is making its 20th all-time bowl appearance and is one of only five SEC schools to go to a bowl in every season this decade. It will be Mullen’s seventh bowl appearance, representing the most by a coach in Bulldog history.

Miami (OH) vs Mississippi State St. Petersburg Bowl Pick: MSU

Bulldogs are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games in December.
Over is 6-0 in Bulldogs last 6 games overall.

This shouldn’t be close. Go MSU and the over.