Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs Armed Forces Bowl Betting Picks and Predictions

December 30, 2020

Date:Thursday, December 31st
Time:12:00 PM ET
Network:ESPN
Venue:Amon G. Carter Stadium
Spread:Tulsa -2.5
O/U:48.5

The 6-2 Tulsa Golden Hurricane will meet up with the 3-7 Mississippi State Bulldogs in the Armed Forces Bowl on Thursday at 12:00 PM ET in Amon G. Carter Stadium. The Golden Hurricane come into the game as 2.5-point favorites and we’re expecting a defensive showdown with a 48.5 over/under. This is going to be an exciting game as these teams play contrasting styles. Let’s dive into how this game will go down and who will end up covering the spread. Make sure to check out the rest of our CFB Picks and Predictions as we have every single bowl game covered.

Trends

  • Golden Hurricane are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 bowl games.
  • Bulldogs are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
  • Under is 5-0 in Golden Hurricane last 5 bowl games as a favorite.
  • Under is 5-0 in Bulldogs last 5 games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.

When The Tulsa Golden Hurricane Have The Ball

Tulsa is a battle-tested 6-2 as most of their games have come down to less than a touchdown either way. They lost by just three points to Cincy in the AAC Championship, who is one of the best teams in the entire country. Tulsa plays an intense brand of football and it starts with their defense. Kendarin Ray is one of the best safeties in the entire country and he leads the squad with 57 total tackles. Justin Wright and Zaven Collins are rock-solid LB’s that are elite against the run. The Golden Hurricane defense will have a unique test against this Mississippi State offense.

Offensively, Tulsa won’t wow you and they have no intention to. Senior QB Zach Smith leads with way with 1,600 passing yards, 12 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. He has done a terrible job of taking care of the football and must be better in this one as the Bulldogs offense on the other side will take advantage. Keylon Stokes and Josh Johnson each have 37 catches with Johnson hauling in six touchdowns. J.C. Santana isn’t far behind with 30 catches and four touchdowns, so the weapons are there when Smith doesn’t throw it to the wrong team.

Tulsa wants to run the ball and they do it with a three-headed attack. Corey Taylor, Demeric Prince, and T.K. Wilkerson have all carried it between 80 and 85 times with similar effectives. The Golden Hurricane have combined for over 1,200 rushing yards and they must be able to run it in this game to control the clock. Smith just hasn’t been trustworthy enough through the air.

When The Mississippi State Bulldogs Have The Ball

It’s been an ugly season for the Bulldogs, who come into this game at 3-7 with what might be the worst bowl game record of all-time. Theu obviously faced a brutal SEC schedule, but walking away with just three wins is still tough with losses to Arkansas and Kentucky. They did beat LSU, Missouri, and Vanderbilt, so the recipe for success is somewhere in there.

Mississippi State is in their first year under HC Mike Leach, so they throw it as much as anyone in the entire country. Freshman Will Rogers has taken over at QB and he’s been exactly what you would expect out of a freshman thrust into an SEC schedule. He’s up to 1,828 yards with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The Bulldogs spread it around with six different pass-catchers catching 34 or more balls. Jaden Walley leads the way with 691 yards while Osirus Mitchell leads the way with four touchdowns.

Mississippi State doesn’t run the ball much, so halfbacks Jo’Quavious Marks, Kylin Hill, and Dillon Johnson contribute mostly in the passing game. This game is going to come down to the Mississippi State defense stepping up at least a few times. They don’t have to be great, but they must force a turnover or two as the offense isn’t lethal enough to do it on their own.

Spread Prediction

The Pick: Tulsa -2.5

This Bulldogs team is getting too much respect for being in the SEC. Sure, they played a tough schedule and have seen teams as good as Tulsa. Those teams crushed Mississippi State and that’s what I expect in this ballgame. The Golden Hurricane defense is going to give Rogers and co. trouble and I wouldn’t be surprised if Tulsa walks away with two or three turnovers. On the offensive side of the ball, Tulsa will have success running the ball. They will be able to control the pace of the game and this is a game I am extremely confident in. Hop on Tulsa before this line goes past three.

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Total Prediction

The Pick: Under 48.5
Final Score Prediction: Tulsa 28, Mississippi State 17

If we like Tulsa to control the pace and win this game, the under is the bet to make. The Golden Hurricane lean on their defense and their run game. They don’t mind throwing it with QB Zach Smith, but it’s not the priority. Mississippi State would love to throw it all over the field and push the pace, but they won’t be able to against a Tulsa juggernaut defense. I love the under here and will have equal exposure to both the spread and total.

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