We’ve got your classic offense vs. defense matchup in the week 7 Mississippi State at Kentucky betting contest. On one side the MSU (5-1) offense continues to put up huge numbers in the Air Raid, ranking 4th in the country in pass yards/game (354.7 ypg). The Wildcats meanwhile are stingy, boasting a top 20 total defense (307.2 ypg) which includes ranking 15th vs. the pass (174.2 ypg).
What makes Saturday’s game so tough to handicap with UK a +3.5 home underdog is that both sides are solid all around. Kentucky’s offense has breakout potential behind NFL prospect QB Will Levis and Mississippi State’s defense is much better than the stats would indicate for the simple fact they are always on the field because their offense scores so quickly.
Rogers Will Continue to Chuck It
The SEC has no shortage of talent at QB. Bryce Young, Anthony Richardson, Hendon Hooker, KJ Jefferson, and Stetson Bennett IV will all likely be selected in next year’s NFL draft if they all go that route. Even with all that talent in the conference, it’s MSU’s Will Rogers who leads the SEC with 2,110 pass yards.
Granted only Texas Tech and Indiana throw the ball more than Mississippi State, but Rogers is still putting up impressive numbers with 12 TDs against 0 INTs the last three games. Rogers is 2 TDs behind C.J. Stroud for most in the nation, and if he can help get MSU to 6-1 by beating a top 25 team on the road we have to start putting the Mississippi State QB into the top 10 of Heisman Trophy odds favorites.
Rogers was an absolute surgeon in the Bulldogs’ 31-17 win over UK in Starksville as he was 36/39 for 344 yards. MSU tried to establish the run in that game with 35 attempts, and both Dillon Johnson and Jo’quavious Marks return in the backfield after combining for 99 yards and 3 TDs vs. the Wildcats last season.
UK Might Need Their Offense to Break Out
It was supposed to be a high flying year for Kentucky, who returned a nice group of core players that averaged 33.3 ppg from last year’s 10-3 team that beat Iowa on a New Year’s Day Citrus Bowl.
The Wildcats’ scoring is down to 26.3 ppg but more importantly Chris Rodriguez, Jr. and a rushing attack that tallied 206.1 ypg last season are only piling up 99.0 rush yards/game in 2022. UK was 23rd in rushing in 2021, this year they are in the bottom 23 of the nation.
Rodriguez, Jr. did miss a few games at the start of the season due to a suspension, but he might be coming around with 126 yards in last week’s 24-17 loss to South Carolina in just his second game back. Levis is putting up about the same numbers in the passing game as he did last season, but he’s finding out life is harder without a run game.
Free Mississippi State at Kentucky Betting Pick
How much difference is a change of venue going to make between last year’s meeting in this one? We should probably expect more than 3 incompletions from Rogers in this year’s meeting, but he also just keeps looking better each week. Kentucky’s defense is legit, but their offense isn’t.
Free Pick: Mississippi State -3.5