AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 10: Running back LaDarius Perkins #27 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs runs for a touchdown against Auburn in the first quarter on September 10, 2011 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)
LSU visits Starkville, Mississippi on Thursday night to take on Dan Mullen and the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The point spread favors Les Miles' Tigers by 4, but can Mississippi pull off the upset? All content courtesy of SB Nation's odds partners at OddsShark.com.
The day was Oct. 23, 1999 and QB Wayne Madkin had just led a 14-play, 65-yard drive for a score with 90 seconds remaining. It was the last time Mississippi State defeated LSU and the 17-16 win was big news in the SEC. Fast forward 12 years and the Bulldogs are underdogs again to their Tiger tormentors on Thursday night. [See the boxscore from that game]
LSU as 4-point favorites, which is a big departure from intervening years in this matchup when the powerhouse Tigers were favored by 31.5 points (in 2004) and 33.5 points (in 2006).
"The spread had shrunk and Mississippi State’s chances at the upset here have grown," says Mike Pickett of OddsShark.com. "Still, LSU has dominated on the field, winning 11 straight, and also at the payout window."
Indeed, LSU is 12-4 ATS in the past 16 seasons against the Bulldogs. Three of those ATS losses have come in the past five years, giving more ammunition for the vocal Mississippi State contingent to fire at the sportsbook this time.
But they are coming off a disappointing loss at Auburn and need to rebound to stay relevant in the tough SEC West. LSU meanwhile is riding high as the nation’s No. 3 ranked school, fresh off a big win at Oregon in Week 1 and a thrashing of Division II Northwestern State last week.
The point spread is unique in college football betting this week in that major sportsbooks have differing opinions (and different amounts of wagering action) on this game. Some books have LSU at -3.5, some at -4 and one at -4.5. It’s common to see discrepancy when the line is -40, but seldom when it’s -4.
Mississippi State meanwhile fell to No. 25 in the latest AP poll, despite having RB Vick Ballard averaging more than 9 yards per carry. They need to push the ground game heavily against the LSU defense to get the crowd into the game.
"We expect LSU to pound the middle of the Bulldog defense early and often to keep those damn cowbells quiet and to chew up clock," predicts Pickett. "If Miss State couldn’t stop Auburn’s run game, they are in bigger trouble against LSU."
See college football spreads on every game this week (even games involving Division II teams) and check out matchup reports, betting trends and more at Odds Shark. And launching Thursday, a free NFL bankroll contest with thousands in prizes – check it out.