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Gator Bowl: Wolverines vs. Bulldogs Preview & Pick

Michigan Wolverines vs Mississippi St. Bulldogs Gambling Preview + Predictions

Kyle Hunter

Kyle Hunter

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Gator Bowl: Michigan vs. Mississippi State Preview/Pick

Date/Time: Saturday, January 1 – 1:30 PM
Venue: EverBank Field
Michigan Wolverines (7-5) vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4) Betting Lines from BetUS
MoneyLine: Mississippi State (-190) Michigan (+160)
NCAA Betting Favorite: Mississippi State -4 (-110) Michigan +4 (-110)
Over/Under: 59.5
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Michigan

Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines did make a little improvement this year, but their 7-5 record isn’t exactly what Michigan fans expected. This is a big game for the Wolverines, who are looking to prove they can win a big game.

The Michigan offense has been brilliant all year long. The offense averaged 501 total yards per game this year, which was good for seventh best in the nation. Denard Robinson is the star under center for the Wolverines. Robinson is the best running quarterback in the nation. He ran for 1,643 yards this year, which broke the NCAA record for most rushing yards by a quarterback. The Michigan passing game is buoyed by three very talented receivers. Roy Roundtree, Darryl Stonum, and Junior Hemingway all have big play ability. Robinson is still progressing as a passer, and this team is certainly more effective when they run the majority of the time.

The Michigan defense has been atrocious this year. In half of their games during the regular season they allowed at least 37 points, which makes it very difficult to win a game. They allowed 433 yards per game, including 260 through the air. This defense is made up of a bunch of underclassmen who simply aren’t ready to produce at a high level. Unless they play better than they have at any point this year, I would expect them to give up a lot of yards in this game.

Mississippi State

Dan Mullen has done a terrific job building up this Mississippi State football program. This team was expected to be down this year after the loss of several key contributors, but they outperformed expectations.

The running game was consistently good all season long. The Bulldogs averaged 219 yards per game on the ground during the regular season. Vick Ballard averaged 5.4 yards per carry, and he ran for 17 touchdowns this year. Chris Relf gives the team a very mobile quarterback who is always a threat to run the ball as well, which helps keep the defense off guard. Chad Bumphis is normally the primary play maker for this team, but he is injured and isn’t expected to play in this one. I expect the Bulldogs to run the football early and often in this game.

The Mississippi State defense is the real strength of this team. They allowed just 20.3 points per game this season. This is a unit that allowed only 17 points to Auburn, and they allowed only a single touchdown against Florida. The front four does a great job defending the run, which will be crucial against a great rushing attack like Michigan. Mississippi State has struggled at times in the secondary, but Robinson is generally not a threat to throw the ball deep. The Bulldogs must stop the run if they are going to win this game.

The Pick:

Both teams will likely be able to run the ball well in this one, but I trust Mississippi State’s defense much more than Michigan. I think the Wolverines will play inspired football, but in the end their defensive problems will likely allow the Bulldogs to cover the spread here.

Michigan vs. Mississippi State Score Prediction: Mississippi State 35 Michigan 27

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About Kyle Hunter

Kyle Hunter sports picks – A degree in finance and a great ability to follow important trends and statistics set him apart from the rest. Totals are Kyle's specialty, so look for a lot of totals picks from NBA, NCAAF, & the NFL. Check out his plays today.


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