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Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-7) vs Tulsa Golden Hurricane (5-2)

Thursday, December 31, 2020 at 12:00 pm

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At 12 Noon, on Thursday, our selection is on the Mississippi State Bulldogs + the points over Tulsa.  Mike Leach has always been one of my favorite football coaches, with his Air Raid offenses at Texas Tech and Washington State.  This was his first year in Starkville and, although his 3-7 season was his worst since Washington State's 3-9 record in 2014, he was able to lead the Bulldogs to their 11th straight Bowl appearance.  Miss State will face the 6-2 Golden Hurricane, which bookended two losses against Oklahoma State (in their season opener) and Cincinnati (in the AAC Championship game) with a six-game win streak in the middle.  And Tulsa was 7-1 ATS, and covered by an average of 10.5 ppg.  But Leach has been at his best when matched up against opponents with much better records, as he's gone 16-4-1 ATS vs. foes that owned a win percentage at least 40% better than his team, including a perfect 9-0-1 ATS if that foe covered the spread for the season by at least 10 ppg.  Even worse for Tulsa:  teams that lost their conference title game have gone 10-25 ATS in their next game against foes that did not lose a title game, including 1-10 ATS when priced as a favorite of 7 or less points!  Finally, the American Athletic Conference has not had great success vs. the SEC, as its teams have gone 1-5 ATS in the Bowls, and 1-9 ATS their last 10 away from home (including a 23-0 loss by Tulsa at Arkansas two seasons ago).  Meanwhile, the SEC has gone 8-1 ATS its last nine as Bowl underdogs.  Take Mississippi State.  Good luck, as always...Al McMordie

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Al’s Pick Mississippi State Bulldogs: +1 -110

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