Tennessee vs. Mississippi State,
10/13/2012 21:00 EDT,
Score: 31 - 41
Point Spread: +3/-105 Tennessee
Tennessee Volunteers +3
Mississippi State is 5-0 but it hasn't played anybody yet. Tennessee is 3-2 but its losses came to Florida and Georgia - teams currently ranked in the top 15. The Vols also have an impressive 35-21 win over an NC State team that upset Florida State.
Tennessee has had a bye week to prepare for this game, and it's hungry for a signature win. Because it has been battle tested early, I believe it can go into Starkville and come out with a "W".
The Vols have won 6 in a row against the Bulldogs with each of those coming by at least 10 points.
Mississippi State has been good defensively against weak competition. They rank 11th in the country in scoring defense with 13.4 points allowed per game. However, it is worth noting that Tennessee is 13-4 ATS in its last 17 road games versus good defensive teams that give up 14 points or less per game. The Vols have only lost by an average of .4 points in this situation.
Much of Mississippi State's early success can be traced back to the turnovers it has been able to force. The Vols know a thing or two about forcing turnovers as well. The fact they've come up with 3 takeaways in each of their last two games is significant. Consider that plays on road teams when the line is +3 to -3 after 2 consecutive games where they forced 3 or more turnovers are 24-4 ATS the last 5 seasons. This system tightens up to a perfect 9-0 ATS the last 3 seasons.
Tennessee has one of the most explosive offenses in the country. It averages over 506 yards per game and might be averaging over 600 yards per game had it played Mississippi State's schedule. I'll take the points as I believe the Tennessee offense will be a little too much for the Bulldogs.