Vegas expert: “Alabama needs to be on upset alert” vs. Mississippi State
It’s easy for Alabama to look ahead after beating up LSU 30-16 on Saturday night in Tuscaloosa.
The Crimson Tide’s body of work (three wins over Top 8 teams) and current SEC West standing (first) put them in great position for the final College Football Playoff rankings.
But this Saturday could bring an abrupt end to their 2015 title dreams.
No. 2 Alabama visits No. 17 Mississippi State (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS) in a matchup that many sportsbooks don’t think will be close. VegasInsider.com reports that the line opened at Alabama -6, but has since grown to -8.
Senior handicapper Brian Edwards thinks the Bulldogs should be getting a little more love.
“This game could not set up any better for Mississippi State this week,” he told SEC Country. “You had an easy time on Missouri in the second half last week. You got two extra days’ rest. You got to chill on the coach Saturday night, 48 hours after the Missouri game, and watch Alabama, play-for-play.
“Alabama’s coming off a war. Granted, it wasn’t as tight as a lot of Alabama-LSU games have been in the past, but … there’s that typical letdown coming into Starkville.”
Edwards thinks Alabama should only be a 6-point favorite, thanks to one factor: The Tide have not played a quarterback like Dak Prescott this season.
“Mississippi State’s a team you can’t bury yet because of their quarterback play, and because I think this week sets up pretty good for them from a situational standpoint,” Edwards said.
Prescott might be able to neutralize an elite Alabama front seven with his “ability to escape,” Edwards said.
But LSU quarterback Brandon Harris — a capable scrambler — wasn’t able to do much of anything against the Tide. Why will it be different this Saturday?
“Brandon Harris doesn’t belong in the same sentence or paragraph as Dak Prescott,” Edwards said. “Because Dak Prescott can elude pressure better than Harris. He can make plays running. Or he can just keep plays alive and throw it down the field when he breaks the pocket.”
Prescott earned Heisman Trophy votes last year after leading Mississippi State to its first No. 1 ranking in school history.
It was against Alabama, though, when things fell apart for the Bulldogs.
Top-ranked MSU traveled to Tuscaloosa last November to face No. 4 ‘Bama, which jumped out to a 19-0 lead in the second quarter. Prescott rallied the Bulldogs to within 19-13, but a T.J. Yeldon touchdown put the game away in the fourth quarter.
The quarterback had his worst stat line of the season, finishing 27-of-48 for 290 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.
This year, he’s completing a career high 66.7 percent of his passes and has an impressive 18 passing touchdowns against one interception. Don’t forget the 418 rushing yards and seven scores on the ground, either.
If the betting line stays above a touchdown, Edwards said Mississippi State could make a lot of people money this weekend.
“I’m definitely interested in Mississippi State if the number is seven-and-a-half or more,” he said. “I think Alabama needs to be on upset alert this week.”