Kentucky vs Mississippi State Odds, Picks, and Predictions: Carol of the Cowbells

Mississippi State is a home underdog with some personnel uncertainty this week, but our college football betting picks have trouble placing faith in this Kentucky team. Find out which market we're attacking in this one.

Jason Ence - Betting Analyst at
Jason Ence • Betting Analyst
Nov 4, 2023 • 08:04 ET • 4 min read
Mississippi State Bulldogs NCAAF Lideatrick Griffin
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With their season suddenly heading in the wrong direction, the Kentucky Wildcats hope to right the ship when they hit the road against the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday night. Currently, the college football odds are in their favor.

After a 5-0 start, the Wildcats have dropped three straight games and now face a tough stretch to end the season. Devin Leary had his best game of the season last week, but it wasn’t enough to upset the Tennessee Volunteers at home. 

The Bulldogs are dealing with some big injuries on offense, but running back Jo’quavious Marks is expected to be available. If quarterback Will Rogers is unable to go, then Mike Wright — who led Vanderbilt to an upset against Kentucky a season ago — is ready to attempt a repeat of history.  

Our free college football picks and predictions for Kentucky vs. Mississippi State explain why that very well could happen again on Saturday. 

Kentucky vs Mississippi State best odds

Kentucky vs Mississippi State picks and predictions

Since accepting the job as head coach at Kentucky for the 2013 season, Mark Stoops has taken his team on the road to face an SEC West opponent on 11 different occasions. And on 11 different occasions, he’s come home without a win.

Should Kentucky lose on Saturday, it would resign Stoops to a winless record against the SEC West forever. That’s because the addition of Texas and Oklahoma in 2024 will see the conference move away from divisions.

Winning in Starkville will be no easy feat for the Wildcats, no more so than winning in Lexington has been for the Bulldogs. In fact, the last eight meetings between these annual foes has seen the home team come out victorious. The last away win in the series was in 2014, when Mississippi State rolled into Lexington and won easily as 13-point favorites.

The last five times they’ve met in Starkville, the Bulldogs have put on an offensive show. They’ve managed at least 421 yards of offense in each of those games, while holding the Wildcats under 300 yards in each of the last three visits.

That’s not a fluke, and it’s not by coincidence. I personally know two former Kentucky offensive linemen, and they’ve said that without question the toughest place they’ve ever played was Starkville. When asked why, they both had the same one-word answer — cowbells. 

Unlike typical crowd noise, the cowbells can’t be easily drowned out. They have continually caused issues for Stoops’ Kentucky teams. They make it difficult for a quarterback to set up his protection, and for an offensive line to communicate.

Kentucky’s last four visits to Mississippi State haven’t really even been close. The Wildcats’ 31-17 loss two years ago is the smallest margin of defeat they’ve had in that stretch. So to be favored in this game, mired in a three-game losing streak, doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

I get that Mississippi State’s offense has struggled this season. But so has Kentucky’s defense. Only four teams are allowing a higher passing completion rate than the Wildcats, and they rank in the Bottom 25% in passing yards allowed, pass plays against, and third-down defense. 

That’s great news for the home team. The best way for a struggling offense to get some confidence is to complete short passes, and Kentucky’s soft zone coverage has been picked apart these past few weeks. 

Whether Rogers is ready to go or Wright has to spell him, they’ll be facing a defense that has spent the last three weeks giving up yards, missing tackles, and allowing too many big plays. That’s now a recipe for success away from home, especially in a place that has been a house of horrors for your program.

Leary’s going to have to prove last week wasn’t an aberration. He’s also going to need Ray Davis to have a strong day. The Bulldogs have held multiple running backs this season to their worst yards per carry of the year, and they’re likely to load the box and dare Leary to beat them.

As a Kentucky fan, I hope that he can. But as a bettor, I’m not putting money on it. I’ve seen Stoops go into Starkville too many times with the better team, and have it matter not one bit. I’m definitely not falling for it again, especially with a team that hasn’t won a game since September. 

DraftKings is offering Mississippi State to win outright at +180 in their Week 10 college football odds, and for me this is too high of a price to ignore. The implied odds of 35.7% are significantly below the 40-45% I’m projecting, especially given how inconsistent the Wildcats have been this season.

I could play it safe here and take the 5.5 points, but I’m going to  go for the big win and take the Bulldogs to get a hard-fought victory and continue their frustration of Stoops’ troops.

My best bet: Mississippi State moneyline (+180 at DraftKings)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.

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Kentucky vs Mississippi State same-game parlay

Mississippi State moneyline

Devin Leary Under 215.5 Passing Yards

Kentucky Team Total Under 27.5

Leary threw for more yards against Tennessee than he did his previous three games combined. He’s eclipsed the 215-yard mark just four times this season, and this is a matchup between two teams that like to take it slow. He simply won’t get enough opportunities to rack up the yardage.

To that point, we’re taking the Wildcats to score fewer than 28 points. No team in college football runs fewer offensive plays than Kentucky, but the Bulldogs run just five more per game. The Wildcats had their best all-around offensive performance of the season against Tennessee and managed just 27 points.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Kentucky vs Mississippi State spread and Over/Under analysis

As we’re on Mississippi State to win, I’m obviously expecting them to also cover the +5.5 on Saturday. That said, there’s serious variance in the line. The Wildcats are favored by 4.5 at FanDuel, and laying anywhere from 5.0 to 5.5 depending on the book.

Kentucky opened as 3-point favorites on Sunday, but the line has gradually moved as the week has progressed. The questions at quarterback for Mississippi State combined with Kentucky’s sudden offensive output are key factors why.

As for the total, the number can be had at either 45.5 or 46 in a game that’s expected to be one of the lower-scoring matchups this weekend. As we mentioned before, neither of these teams want to be in a hurry. This isn’t the Mississippi State team we saw under Mike Leach.

Making things worse, both teams are not doing well at avoiding costly penalties. The Wildcats rank 103rd in both penalty yards per game and penalties earned, while the Bulldogs rank in the bottom half as well. I’m leaning Under here, but the line has barely moved since opening so it doesn’t appear anybody’s strongly feeling either side.

Kentucky vs Mississippi State betting trend to know

The home team has won eight straight meetings in this rivalry. Find more college football betting trends for Kentucky vs Mississippi State.

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Kentucky vs Mississippi State game info

Location: Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS
Date: Saturday, November 4, 2023
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: SEC Network

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