While Alabama has won ten straight in this series, the Rebels are 6-4 ATS and have the talent this season to win the game outright before a sellout crowd in Oxford. Mississippi is averaging 39.0 points per game on 4.0 yards per rush play, 9.1 yards per pass play and 6.4 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow 3.8 yards per rush attempt, 7.2 yards per pass attempt and 5.4 yards per play to a mediocre offensive squad. Overall, Mississippi is 0.2 yards per rush play, 1.9 yards per pass attempt and 1.0 yards per play better than average offensively this season.
The good news for Mississippi backers is the fact that the Rebels’ ground attack seems to have hit its stride as they have averaged 196 rushing yards per game at 5.1 yards per carry over the last two games. The explosiveness of Mississippi’s attack is best evidenced by the fact that the Rebels are averaging 12.7 yards per point, including 12.2 yards per point at home. Meanwhile, Alabama has the unenviable task of playing its first road game of the season at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, one of the more hostile environments in college football with a capacity of over 60,000 seats.
With that said, the Crimson Tide have an excellent defense that is allowing just 14.0 points per game on 2.7 yards per rush play, 5.8 yards per pass play and 4.5 yards per play to teams that would combine to average 3.9 yards per rush attempt, 7.2 yards per pass attempt and 5.6 yards per play. Overall, Alabama’s stop unit is 1.2 yards per rush play, 7.2 yards per pass play and 1.1 yards per play better than average in 2014, which is good enough to slow down a potent Mississippi attack.
Alabama Defense vs. Mississippi Offense:
- +1.0 yards per rush play advantage
- -0.5 yards per pass play disadvantage
- +0.1 yards per play advantage overall
Based on the above analysis, Alabama only possesses a nominal 0.1 yards per play advantage defensively over the Rebels’ offense. Moreover, Mississippi quarterback Bo Wallace should have success moving the ball through the air as the Rebels maintain a solid 0.5 yards per pass play edge over the Tide’s secondary. What many football observers do not realize is how incredibly well-balanced the Rebels are this season. Mississippi is allowing just 8.5 points per game on 3.5 yards per rush play, 4.0 yards per pass play and 3.7 yards per play. In fact, the Rebels have only allowed two touchdowns this season, which is the fewest in the nation. Overall, Mississippi is 0.9 yards per rush play, 2.2 yards per pass play and 1.6 yards per play better than average defensively, which is certainly good enough to limit an excellent Alabama attack.
The Crimson Tide have been 0.7 yards per rush attempt, 2.7 yards per pass attempt and 1.4 yards per play better than average offensively this season. Based on the results from both teams through the first five weeks of the 2014 campaign, Alabama could be hard-pressed to move the chains Saturday afternoon:
Alabama Offense vs. Mississippi Defense:
- -0.2 yards per rush play disadvantage
- +0.5 yards per pass play advantage
- -0.2 yards per play disadvantage overall
Fundamental analysis confirms that Mississippi has a 0.2 yards per play advantage from the line of scrimmage when the Tide have the ball, while Alabama possesses a 0.1 yards per play advantage on the defensive side of the ball. So, why are the Tide favored in this game? Well, I have no idea other than to say that Alabama is a heavily bet team by the public, which causes the oddsmakers to artificially inflate the point spread whenever Nick Saban’s squad takes the field. That assertion is substantiated by the fact that Alabama is a money-burning 1-6-1 ATS in its last eight games, 1-5 ATS in its last six road games versus teams with a winning record and 1-4-1 ATS in its last six games following a win. On the other hand, Mississippi is 21-9 ATS over the last three seasons, including 13-4 ATS in the first half of the season and a perfect 6-0 ATS at home in weeks five through nine. Grab the generous points and invest with confidence.