Arkansas at Mississippi State betting preview and pick – Bulldogs bet down against Razorbacks

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LAS VEGAS – Mississippi State will look to hand Arkansas its 17th straight SEC loss on Saturday (7:15 p.m. ET, ESPN2) while trying to win its 11th in a row dating back to last season. The Bulldogs started their 10-game winning streak with a 24-17 win over the Razorbacks last year and have also gone 8-2 against the spread during that stretch.

The Line: Mississippi State -11, Total: 64

Line movement and notes: Mississippi State opened as a 13-point home favorite at The Wynn on Sunday and was bet down to -10.5 there and at other shops. Arkansas +11 was also available midweek. For updated spreads and totals from around Las Vegas, visit our live odds page.

Trends that matter: Arkansas is 0-16 SU in its last 16 games against SEC opponents (6-10 ATS)....Arkansas is 12-3 SU in the last 15 meetings with Mississippi State....Arkansas is 3-10 ATS in its last 13 road games against SEC opponents.... Arkansas is 3-9 ATS in its last 12 games as a road underdog....Mississippi State is 10-3 in its last 13 home games against SEC opponents....Mississippi State is 11-4 ATS in its last 15 games as a home favorite....The OVER is 15-3 in Arkansas’ last 18 road games against SEC opponents.

The OVER is 6-1 in the last seven meetings.

Arkansas getting some early support: Despite suffering through a 16-game skid against SEC opponents and visiting the top-ranked team in the country this week, the Razorbacks are getting some love from bettors who seem to believe trends will eventually even out. The only trend in Arkansas’ favor is winning 12 of the last 15 meetings with Mississippi State, but two of the losses came in the last two years, and neither of those resulted in covering the spread.

Still, Johnny Avello, The Wynn’s executive director of race & sports operations, said he can understand the public’s mindset in backing the Razorbacks. He said there are doubters who remember how the Bulldogs played last year even though he feels differently about them.

“Arkansas had a good showing last week,” Avello said. “They have a team probably better than most expected coming into the year. Mississippi State’s covered almost every week.  They’re really, really tough. This is definitely one of your Top 5 teams in the country.

“Last year, they were a pretty good team too. They probably could have had a lot better record last year than it turned out. They’ve been throwing up 40 points a week. Defensively though, they’ve been giving up a little more than you’d want them to if you’re a Mississippi State fan. But overall, I can understand the reason to take Arkansas here.”

Prescott’s health scare overblown: Another reason to worry if you are a fan of the Bulldogs in addition to their defensive play lately is that quarterback Dak Prescott was spotted wearing a walking boot on his left foot following last week’s 45-31 win at Kentucky. Mississippi State fell just short of covering the 14.5-point closing line at The Wynn after opening at -12.

However, Prescott laughed off the supposed injury when talking to local reporters on Tuesday after previously calling it a “boot for fashion” after the game. He said there is no need to worry.

“I don't know, I'm sure there’s some boots Beyonce or somebody’s worn before that people have made a big deal about,” said Prescott.

Prescott is the even-money favorite to win the Heisman Trophy according to Brian Edwards, and he did practice fully on Tuesday with the Bulldogs after playing every snap against the Wildcats last Saturday. He also has another fan in Avello, who mentions him every time he discusses Mississippi State.

“I love the quarterback there, the kid’s doing a tremendous job,” Avello said. “He’s doing everything right.”

Weather: The forecast calls for cool temperatures, around 55 degrees, with mostly sunny skies and winds 10 to 20 mph. Visit Weather Underground for the latest forecast.

Handicapping tools: Matchup analysis | Power Ratings | ARK team page | MSST team page

The Linemakers' lean: We're not quite as impressed as the selection committee is with Miss State, and last week's game against Kentucky is exhibit A in our case.  The Bulldogs outgained the Wildcats by just 38 yards, and Kentucky was within a score of Miss State late in the game.  Two games ago, some early Auburn turnovers boosted Miss State to a win. Arkansas, meanwhile, has been a profitable bet as an underdog, and according to our power ratings, just 2.5 points separates these teams.

For the total, we'll ride the trend of six of the last seven in this series staying UNDER.

Arkansas +11, OVER 64.

Information from The Clarion-Ledger was used in this report.

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