Mississippi State at Illinois - 1/2/23 College Football Picks and Prediction

Illinois Fighting Illini (8-4) vs Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4)

Game Info: Monday, January 2, 2023 at 12:00 pm (Raymond James Stadium)

Betting Odds: Illinois Fighting Illini +2.5 -- Over/Under: 45.5 Click Here for the Latest Odds

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The Mississippi State Bulldogs will play the Illinois Fighting Illini on Monday afternoon in the ReliaQuest Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs are 8-4 this season after they defeated Ole Miss by a score of 24-22 in their last game. Mississippi State out gained Ole Miss by one yard and went 8-16 on third down attempts in the win. Mississippi State won three of their last four games, but will be playing without their head coach, who passed away December 12th. The Mississippi State offense is averaging 32.3 points per game with 314.3 passing yards per game and 78.8 rushing yards per game. Will Rogers has thrown for 3,713 yards, 34 touchdowns, and six interceptions for the Bulldogs this season. Jo’quavious Marks has rushed for 532 yards and nine scores, while Rufus Harvey has caught 50 passes for 472 yards and three touchdowns for Mississippi State. The Mississippi State defense is giving up 24.2 points per game and 350.3 yards per game.

The Illinois Fighting Illini are 8-4 this season after they defeated Northwestern by a score of 41-3 in their last game. Illinois was out gained by Northwestern, but was able to force six turnovers in the win. Illinois lost three of their last four games to end the regular season. The Illinois offense is averaging 25.4 points per game with 208.3 passing yards per game and 178.3 rushing yards per game. Tommy DeVito has thrown for 2,397 yards, 15 touchdowns, and four interceptions for the Fighting Illini this season. Illinois’ starting running back, Chase Brown, has opted out of this game, so Reggie Love III is in line to get the start. Love III has rushed for 277 yards and two touchdowns, while Isaiah Williams has caught 72 passes for 595 yards and five scores for Illinois. The Illinois defense is allowing 12.3 points per game and 263.8 yards per game.

Mississippi State is 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games. The over is 4-1 in Mississippi State’s last 5 neutral site games. Illinois is 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games and 9-2-1 ATS in their last 12 games against a team with a winning record. The under is 6-1 in Illinois’ last 7 neutral site games.

Illinois was very good defensively this season, but they will be missing some players that have opted out and will be facing an explosive offense. Mississippi State will be playing this game for Mike Leach, who passed away in mid-December. I believe Mississippi State is going to be extra motivated and focused to get this win. I think the Bulldogs are a bad matchup for Illinois, who have not seen many spread offenses this season. I like Mississippi State in this game.

David’s Pick Mississippi State -2.5

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The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a PickDawgz site consensus.

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