Kentucky and Mississippi State face off at 4 p.m. ET Saturday in a game that will have implications in the race for the SEC East title.
Kentucky-Mississippi State, Week 8 betting odds
Mississippi State is an 11.5-point favorite over Kentucky, according to MyBookie.ag. The over/under for combined points is 54.5. Last year, Kentucky beat Mississippi State, 40-38, in Lexington.
Kentucky-Mississippi State betting picks
Joe Mussatto: I was surprised to see Mississippi State open as a double-digit favorite. Kentucky has played in nothing but close games and Mississippi State has either blown out its opponent or been blown out. I think this one stays close all four quarters, but Mississippi State’s defense plus playing at home give the Bulldogs a slight advantage. Mississippi State’s defense is second in the SEC against the pass and fifth against the run. Kentucky’s offensive line has to be better than it’s been all season for the Wildcats to win. Mississippi State 26, Kentucky 20
Kyle Tucker: The Wildcats keep it close, but their run of road success finally ends in Starkville. Mississippi State 27, Kentucky 24
Kentucky-Mississippi State betting preview
- Mississippi State is averaging more than 260 rushing yards per game, but in its two losses, the Bulldogs were held under 200 yards on the ground. Kentucky has the third-best rushing defense in the conference, allowing 97 yards per game on the ground. However, in Kentucky’s last game — against Missouri — it allowed 212 rushing yards.
- Mississippi State, in its two losses, was torched through the air, over the top of its secondary. Georgia and Auburn’s combined passing line was 23 of 29 for 468 yards and 2 touchdowns. That could be a key, as even with those numbers, Mississippi State has the conference’s second-best pass defense. However, Kentucky has had surprising success through the air, with 9 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions. The Wildcats average 211 passing yards per game; the only games Mississippi State has lost were accompanied by 200-plus yard passing performances.
- The overall series between Kentucky and Mississippi State is tied, 22-22. Kentucky won the most recent meeting, beating the Bulldogs on a game-ending field goal in Lexington a year ago.
- Kentucky hasn’t won in Starkville since 2008.
- Kentucky linebacker Jordan Jones is on track to play against Mississippi State, coach Mark Stoops said Monday. Jones has not played since the second week after injuring his shoulder, and his return would be a huge boon to the Wildcats defense. In 2016, Jones had 109 tackles, 15.5 for loss, with 4 sacks. A healthy Jones would give Kentucky’s defense another added physical presence at linebacker and could make life difficult for quarterback Nick Fitzgerald.
- Fitzgerald has rushed for at least 100 yards in 10 games in his career. The Bulldogs are 8-2 in those games. Containing Fitzgerald will be a huge task for Kentucky’s defense.
- Kentucky still controls its own destiny in the SEC East. While it’s unlikely, the Wildcats’ next four games are winnable. Should the Kentucky go on a win streak, its conference finale against Georgia could be a winner-take-all for the SEC East. That would be a stunning development for Stoops’ program.
- Kentucky has yet to beat a team by more than 11 points this season; its only loss came by a point.