Iverson Molinar
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Odds and Ends

Back the Bulldogs at Home

Updated On: January 14, 2021, 2:52 am ET

Mississippi State (-6.5) vs. Texas A&M

Mississippi State is currently and quietly on a hot streak, scoring 73 or more points in eight-straight games and 81 or more in six-of-eight. The Bulldogs have a trio of scorers worth noting: Iverson Molinar, DJ. Stewart Jr. and Tolu Smith. They are combining for 51.0 points per game right now, the second-most in the SEC behind LSU's Javonte Smart, Cameron Thomas and Trendon Watford.

Mississippi State has also outrebounded 11 of its 12 opponent and hold a 6-1 record when four players or more reach double figures this season. Facing Texas A&M, Mississippi State has a favorable matchup to at least score 70 points. The Bulldogs have won four of the last five outings with three double-digit victories in that span and four covering the -6.5 spread. Texas A&M did win last season's meeting 87-75 but lost two key contributors from that team.

Texas A&M has allowed Mississippi State to score 66 or more points in six straight and eight of the last 10 meetings. These two squads have only met 12 times, all coming since 2011-12, and the Bulldogs have averaged 73.6 points per game over the last 10 meetings and 81.4 in the previous five. In Mississippi State's six wins over A&M, they average 80.3 points per game and have gone over 68.5 in five of six with a 67-point performance as the lone under.

The Aggies have allowed 66 or more points in four-straight games, all versus SEC opponents. In their four losses this season, Texas A&M has allowed 68, 73, 77 and 78 points. Counting those four losses and the two-point win versus Auburn (0-4 in SEC), A&M is 1-4 against top 100 teams and surrendered 66 or more points in all five. In 12 of their 18 SEC games last season, A&M allowed 68 or more points. For Mississippi State, they scored 68 or more in 16-of-18 SEC games a year ago.

The home team is 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings, and for Mississippi State the over is 4-0 in their previous overall games, pointing to another 67-plus night from the Bulldogs. This is -118 odds on FanDuel. The spread is also a lean for me tonight as -6.5 is a little much, but the Bulldogs have covered that in the past and have the talent advantage tonight.

Game Pick: Mississippi State Team Total Over 68.5 (2u)


Moneyline Parlay: (-130)
Nicholls State (-6.5) at Northwestern State

Nicholls State's had an appealing opening spread of -3.5 versus Northwestern State, but before this article was published, that spread jumped to -6.5, rightfully so. Chasing steam is a dangerous game, especially a three-point jump. I feel much more comfortable teasing Nicholls State down or taking the Money line versus a 2-12 Northwestern State team with one DI win over McNeese State in their last outing.

Most models projected Nicholls State at a five-point win or larger, and once the public got a hold of that, the movement ensued. Nicholls State has won the last five-of-six meetings with only two games covering -6.5 but three wins of three, four and six points. The one win for Northwestern State was by one-point last season, their first win since 2016-17. They lost the next meeting 73-69, and so far this season, Nicholls State has been the better of the two. 

Nicholls State has four wins, two versus teams in the top 300, including a win over UC Davis (187th) and two victories below the 300-mark. Nicholls State is on a two-game winning streak after snapping a five-game losing skid that featured four top 200 teams. Their last two losses have come by six to LSU and three to Sam Houston State. Nicholls is 0-4 on the road but played LSU (24), Saint Mary's (75), Santa Clara (117) and California (148). Northwestern State has played three home games, losing both to DI opponents and beating non-DI opponent Champion Christian. With Nicholls State winning the last three games at Northwestern State, and the favorite being 4-1 ATS in the previous five meetings, back Nicholls State to get a fourth-consecutive win outright. 

Mississippi State (-6.5) vs. Texas A&M

As mentioned previously, I like Mississippi State to score 70-plus points versus Texas A&M, and when that's happened to them, they are 0-3 on the year. Who wins this game will come down to play in the paint, and the Bulldogs simply are better than the Aggies in that department. 

A&M only has two players that have an above-average offensive and defensive rebounding percentage. Mississippi State has four in offensive rebounding and five in defensive, all at 6-foot-9 or taller. Only one player for A&M, Emanuel Miller, has an offensive rating above 108.5 while Mississippi State has four.

The Bulldogs 6-foot-11 Abdul Ado is the SEC's active leader in blocks and rebounds. Mississippi State is ninth in the country with a 37.9% offensive rebounding percentage and a 38.9%-mark from beyond the arc, 25th in the country. I'm expecting the Bulldogs' size and scoring streak to be too much for A&M today.

Game Pick: Nicholls State ML and Mississippi State ML (1u)


Arkansas vs. LUS (-1.5)

This game is all dependent on whether or not Cam Thomas plays for LSU. As mentioned in the Mississippi State piece, LSU has a trio of scorers that can light it up, Thomas being one of them. He's yet to miss a game this season, so LSU would undoubtedly look like a different team without him, benefiting Arkansas.  

Thomas has attempted an insane 36.4% of LSU's field goal attempts, and he's a hot 43.6% from the floor and 32.9% from three. On the season, Thomas averages 22.3 points per game, the most in the SEC as one of two players to average more than 20 (Scottie Pippen Jr., Vanderbilt). 

The Road team is 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings, and Arkansas is 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall. LSU struggles to cover back-to-back spreads, going 1-6 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS win and 3-9 following a SU win. LSU beat Ole Miss in their previous game and is currently riding a two-game winning streak with an OT victory over Georgia. Those two wins give them a 3-1 SEC record while Arkansas is 2-2 with losses to talented and defensive squads in Missouri and Tennessee.

Arkansas is playing at the 24th-fastest pace in the country and currently ranks in the top 100 among a ton of offensive categories. LSU is similar, but without Thomas, it's hard to gauge how effective LSU can be. If you have player props available for this game, LSU's Trendon Watford (17.8 ppg) and Ja'Vonte Smart (15.4 ppg) are quality plays. Arkansas' defense holds an average defensive possession of 16.1 seconds, the 44th-fastest in the country. There should be points to go around in this matchup, but this is only safe to bet on once Cam Thomas's availability is announced. 

Game Pick: Arkansas +1.5 if Thomas is out - no play if Thomas is in

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