Wanna bet? A look at this week’s SEC games, from the handicapping side

Dan Mullen

DAN MULLEN, by Matt Bush/USA Today Sports

BYU at Mississippi State

Line: Mississippi State by 24
Total: 48.5
The play: Mississippi State minus-24
Here’s why: Since embarrassing LSU 37-7 on September 16, the Bulldogs were outscored 80-13 in their next two games by Georgia and Auburn. The bye week couldn’t have been scheduled at a better time for Dan Mullen’s guys. Mullen is 10-8 the past four seasons as a home favorite, with an average winning margin of 26.4 points. BYU’s defense gave up 300 yards through the air and 89 yards on the ground to Utah dual-threat quarterback Tyler Huntley, and Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald is a bigger, faster, stronger version of Huntley. MSU’s double-overtime loss at BYU last season still must sting. Not only will State be looking to exact some revenge from last season, but there must be some pent-up aggression ready to be taken out in this game. In 2016, BYU covered all five games in which it was an underdog. The 2017 Cougars not only can’t cover a spread, they barely have found the win column. Since opening the season with a 20-6 victory over Portland State, BYU has lost five in a row, and the Cougars never crossed midfield against LSU in their second game. Combine the early-season struggles with an early kickoff (10 a.m. Provo time), and it could be a long, hot day for BYU. Look for Fitzgerald to get back on track and have a big day. The offense will benefit from the bye week and the Bulldogs will be back on track with Kentucky coming to town next week. A loss means BYU will have to win out to become bowl eligible.
Predicted score: Mississippi State 48, BYU 17

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