The Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl gets underway on the December the 30th at 6:40pm ET in LP Field, Nashville, Tennessee. The College football odds makers have Mississippi favored by 7 with the total at 48.

I like Wake Forest in this matchup. Mississippi State had much bigger aspirations for this season than finishing with an even 6-6 record and just 2-6 in SEC Conference action. Wake Forest had a solid season, going 5-3 in ACC Conference action and 6-6 overall. 

 

The college football betting line 

This college football odds opened with Mississippi State installed as 6 ½ -110 point favorites and large numbers of bets have been placed on Mississippi State driving the price up to its current level of 7 -110 at the majority of shops. I monitor betting flows at the major offshore and Vegas sportsbooks. I have found that when frenzied betting occurs on a team there is a strong propensity that the opponent will win the money. This level occurs when better than 70% of the bets are on the one team. Currently, 80% of all bets are on Mississippi State and normally such an extreme would have moved the line by more than just one point. By deduction, this implies that the sharp money and large bettors are on Wake Forest. 

Brandon PendergrassNow, this type of contrarian analysis of the betting flows is not always correct, but when it underscores the grading from the simulator it does reinforce the strength of the play. 

The total opened at 48 points laying -110 juice. Betting flows have been nearly equal with a slight imbalance to the ‘under’ wagers. Some shops have lowered their line to 47.5 , but I don’t foresee any significant lie movement in either direction. 

Simulator projections 

My simulator shows a significant probability that Wake Forest will cover this spread and may win the game outright. The key to this game will be the Wake Forest rushing attack. By establishing the run early in this game the probabilities of winning the game improve exponentially. In games where they ran the ball for 100 to 150 rushing yards they went 6-2 ATS. 

The simulator shows that Wake will gain between 300 and 350 total offensive yards. This projection again underscores the deduction that Wake Forest will also have an advantage in time of possession and that will keep the Mississippi State offense off the field and the Wake Forest defense physically fresh. 

Team rankings 

Mississippi State is a team built around their passing attack. They rank 37th in the FBS gaining 256 passing yards per game, 93rd gaining 119 rushing yards per game, and 72nd in scoring offense at 25.5 points per game. Defensively, they have been a bend and don’t break style of unit. They rank poorly at 70th allowing 236 passing yards per game, 67th allowing 163 rushing yards per game, but are a solid 19th in scoring defense allowing just 19.9 points per game.

Wake Forest is a similar team, ranking 37th gaining 256 passing yards per game, 96th gaining 119 rushing yards per game, and 61st in scoring offense at 26.8 points per game. Wake has the better defense ranking a solid 23rd allowing 195 passing yards per game, 63rd allowing 161 rushing yards per game, and 68th in scoring offense allowing 28.8 points per game. 

Keys to the game 

The State defense will respect the Wake passing attack led by quarterback Tanner Price, who completed 61% of his pass attempts gaining 2803 passing yards and throwing 20 touchdowns with just six interceptions. The fact that State will be mostly in base cover-2 scheme to eliminate getting beat on deep vertical routes is the reason the Wake Forest running game will have a big game. 

Wake Forest’s senior running back Brandon Pendergrass is 5-9 and 200 pounds and brings a rare combination of pounding power and elusiveness that is hard to defend and tackle in open space. With the State defense looking more for the pass than the run, Pendergrass will shoot through the first line of defense and there will be large chunks of gains to be had. I strongly believe he will have a big day in his last game at Wake Forest. 

Take Wake Forest