The 24th-ranked Tulsa Golden Hurricane will engage in battle against the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the Armed Forces Bowl on New Year’s Eve. The market is giving Mississippi State a lot of credit since it is an SEC team and has had some close games, especially against a Georgia team ranked 13th at the time. Let’s dive into our Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl betting preview.
This game will be played at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Tx, on Thursday. The contest will be at noon ET and televised by ESPN, so make sure you get your online betting done early.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
Mississippi State ended its season with a 3-7 record and finished last in the West division in the SEC. The Bulldogs’ victories were against winless Vanderbilt and 5-5 Missouri, and they made college football news with an upset of then-No. 6 LSU in the season opener, though the Tigers finished 5-5.
This will also be the 11th straight bowl appearance for Mississippi State, but it has not won a bowl since 2017. Due to NCAAF COVID-19 news and effects on the year, teams like Mississippi State are eligible for bowl games despite bad records.
Will Rogers has had some positives, but he’s ultimately not the best out there. He passed for a total of 1,828 yards and 10 touchdowns but was turnover prone with seven interceptions. In addition, he was sacked 16 times.
The running game from the Bulldogs could have used anyone. They were primarily led by Jo’Quavious Marks, who had 240 yards and two touchdowns. As a team, the Bulldogs averaged just 36 yards a game.
On offense, Mississippi State averaged 20.7 points per game while allowing 28.3. This combination will be a tough challenge, to say the least, in this matchup.
Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Tulsa had a lot to be proud of, completing the regular season 6-2 and going 6-0 in the American Athletic Conference. The Golden Hurricane recently lost in the AAC championship game to ninth-ranked Cincinnati 27-24.
You would not have guessed it, but this is also the first winning season for Tulsa since 2016.
The Tulsa offense has not been the best despite its record, placing 51st in passing and 69th in rushing. On offense, the Golden Hurricane average 27.3 points per game and allow 20.8.
Their running game is composed of three solid running backs, TK Wilkerson, Deneric Prince, and Corey Taylor II. These three compiled 1,177 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Quarterback Zach Smith also threw for 1,600 yards and 12 touchdowns but was a little sloppy with eight interceptions. On defense, safety Kendarin Ray led the team in tackles with 57, while linebacker Zaven Collins led in sacks with four.
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Betting Odds
BetUS Sportsbook has the spread currently sitting at:
- Tulsa: -2.5 (-110)
- Mississippi State: +2.5 (-110)
* odds are subject to change
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Betting Prediction
Tulsa came up short in the American Athletic Conference title game to Cincinnati by just a field goal. If the Golden Hurricane won that game, this most likely would have been a different matchup.
The Golden Hurricane has a balanced trio of running backs and is led by Smith. Their offense should be intact regardless of what Mississippi State attempts.
Mississippi State has trouble defending anyway, with 28.3 points per game allowed. Tulsa’s defense will also prove to be too much for the Bulldogs.
Overall, Tulsa looks very appealing and has the potential to throttle the Bulldogs, so this could turn ugly quickly. The college football odds market is wanting to give them some credit, for whatever reason, but the numbers do not favor the Bulldogs at all.