Florida football at Mississippi State: Prediction, pick, line, odds, watch live stream online

By Adam Silverstein
September 29, 2018
Florida football at Mississippi State: Prediction, pick, line, odds, watch live stream online

Image Credit: Graphic by Michael Nash

A dominant victory over an SEC East foe last week has certainly given Florida Gators a bunch of confidence entering a hostile environment as they take on head coach Dan Mullen‘s former team, the No. 23 Mississippi State Bulldogs. The entire week leading into the game has centered more on Mullen’s return to MSU as opposed to what will actually go down on the field, so let’s take a look at what we should expect when the Gators and Bulldogs go head-to-head on Saturday night. Here’s what you need to know and how you can watch Florida-Mississippi State.

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Sept. 29 | Time: 6 p.m. ET
Location: Davis Wade Stadium — Starkville, Mississippi [Capacity: 61,337]

TV: ESPN (Dave Pasch, Greg McElroy, Tom Luginbill)
Live stream: WatchESPN | SiriusXM: 383 | Radio: WRUF, TuneIn

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Tale of the tape

Florida Gators No. 23 Mississippi St. Bulldogs
Head coach Dan Mullen Joe Moorhead
Record 3-1 (1-1 SEC) 2-2 (0-0 SEC)
Conference SEC SEC

Prediction and analysis

Spread: Florida +9 | O/U: 50

It is going to be an absolute madhouse in Starkville on Saturday night as Mullen returns to Mississippi State looking to overcome the emotions of the locals and lead Florida to a victory. The spread opening at 10 and ticking down slightly indicates there is a belief that not only are the Bulldogs more talented than the Gators, but they are also positioned to ride the energy and emotion of revenge to outwit the visitors. And to be fair, there is something to that justification. This game will go one of two ways: It will either be close and come down to the fourth quarter or MSU could absolutely dominate UF and win comfortably.

The Bulldogs are not going to collapse the same way the Vols did last week at home, and the Gators are not talented enough on either side of the ball to assume that taking advantage of miscues will be enough to lead them to a decisive victory. Truth be told, a couple early defensive stops by Mississippi State — egging on what will certainly be an insanely hyped crowd — may be all it needs to set the tone and put Florida on its heels for the remainder of the contest.

Still, with the way MSU played last week at Kentucky and how UF performed against the same opponent, there simply does not seem to be that much of a talent difference to justify such a vast spread. Therefore, though Florida may not win, taking the visitors with the points is the right side in what should be a somewhat-defensive battle that falls under the total.

2018 records: ATS picks 1-2 | O/U picks 3-0

Injuries and absences

Probable (1): DB C.J. McWilliams (ankle)
Questionable (1): DB Shawn Davis (knee)
Out (3): OL T.J. McCoy (leg), WR Jacob Copeland (knee), RB Malik Davis (foot) | Out for season (2): CB Marco Wilson (torn ACL), DB Quincy Lenton (torn Achilles)

Game notes

» Florida is 33-19-2 all-time against Mississippi State, though the Gators are 4-7 when playing the Bulldogs in Starkville and the teams have split their last six meetings 3-3 since 2000. This is the first meeting between the sides since 2010.
» Mullen, who was Mississippi State’s coach from 2009-17, brought the program its most bowl appearances and bowl game victories in its history; he is also third in program history in victories. Mullen has not coached at a program other than UF or MSU since 2004.
» Both teams have lost to Kentucky this season.
» The Gators are No. 1 nationally in turnovers forced with 14, just three fewer than the team acquired during the entire 2017 season. Florida has turned those turnovers into 43 points, one short of the 44 it scored off turnovers last season.
» Florida has a 101-13 scoring margin in the first half this season.
» UF has already blocked three kicks this season, which ties it for the national lead and is the most for the program since it swatted six in 2012.
» Florida’s punt return average (24.7 yards) is a massive improvement over a year ago. It currently ranks seventh nationally and first in the SEC.

» Florida is also 22-7 against unranked opponents since 2015 and 187-23 since 1990.

Odds and ends

» Florida will wear white jerseys, orange pants and orange helmets on Saturday.

» Last week’s victory over Tennessee was UF’s first in an SEC game by 20 points or more since Oct. 15, 2016. The Gators also scored 35+ points in an SEC road game for the first time since Sept. 24, 2011.

» Florida has scored in 376 consecutive games, an NCAA record.

» The Gators are one of two FBS teams nationally since 2008 (Alabama) to have not lost a single game to a team that ended a season with a losing record.

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