Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, October 24, 2014 at 5:00 PM
Not long ago, the #3 Mississippi Rebels relished their role as giant-killers when scoring an upset over SEC powerhouse Alabama. It was a statement victory, and launched Ole Miss very seriously into the national championship discussion. Head Coach Hugh Freeze had made it clear he was intent on building a serious title contender. That moment has arrived.
But the pressures that come with being at the top have also arrived. For the first time in this new regime, the Rebels have a target painted squarely on their backs when they visit #24 LSU this Saturday Night in a game that will be nationally televised by ESPN. They are no longer the underdog with nothing to lose. They’re now the favorite trying to protect their spot in the SEC West and Final Four championship picture.
Mississippi State, currently #1 in the polls, has already won in Baton Rouge. Can Ole Miss keep up with their state rival? Can Ole Miss avoid thinking about upcoming games with that state rival and Auburn as the intense SEC West race sorts itself out? Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats have to say about Saturday Night’s matchup, and the potential longterm championship hopes for Ole Miss.
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Ole Miss: 7-0 (#13 schedule in USA Today)
LSU: 6-2 (#22 schedule in USA Today)
Great news so far. Ole Miss is undefeated, more than halfway through their regular season schedule, while facing one of the toughest slates in the land. There’s no doubt that Ole Miss is “for real” in the sense of talent and execution. Now comes the pressure! LSU looked sluggish in losses to Mississippi State and Auburn, but may have gained some confidence since by dispatching of Florida and Kentucky. Tough year to just be “pretty good” in the SEC West.
Ole Miss: 6.0 on offense, 4.2 on defense
LSU: 5.9 on offense, 5.0 on defense
Wow…that’s a differential of +1.8 for Ole Miss against a killer schedule. Big edge here over LSU. And, frankly, the first sign that the pollsters may have the wrong Mississippi team at the top of the national heap. As we’ve told you for YEARS here in our web articles, DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS! Ole Miss has a much better defense than Mississippi State, which you saw in that game against Alabama. Right now, many statheads have their eyes on the Rebels as the best threat to survive the coming gauntlet because of that stout stop unit.
Ole Miss: +10
Strong stuff from both teams. And, again…another sign that Ole Miss is positioned well to go deep. They’re forcing mistakes with that great defense, and playing smart when they have the ball. The first sign that the pressure is getting to Ole Miss will come in this category, so pay particular attention to sharpness of execution when you watch the game Saturday Night.
Ole Miss: 6-0-1
LSU sure laid some big eggs when they were outclassed by Mississippi State and Auburn. But, those are the only two non-covers from the 15 times these teams took the field! LSU has covered against everyone else. Ole Miss had one push vs. Memphis and has been cashing tickets otherwise. LSU is in the odd position of being initially overrated by pollsters while they’ve been underrated by the markets. Ole Miss was just flat underrated by everybody.
Current Line: Ole Miss by 3.5, total of 45
The number hasn’t come down, even though it’s been sitting just above a critical betting number all week. That tells you that the sharps don’t like LSU. They would have taken out the hook right away if that were the case. Ole Miss is seen by the markets as equal to or better than Mississippi State, who won stats huge on this field in a game that should never have gotten close at the end. Maybe the market sees Auburn as better than Ole Miss (they’ll play soon, which will answer that). Since Auburn beat LSU 41-7, it doesn’t much matter! Ole Miss is seen as the clearly superior side to LSU given that price in Baton Rouge.
JIM HURLEY will only release this game to his clients if there’s an advantage worth betting. There are several attractive options on the busy Saturday schedule. You can purchase the final word in the morning before kickoff of the early games right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155.
It’s back to the NFL tomorrow in the NOTEBOOK when we crunch the numbers for what should be a very entertaining Green Bay/New Orleans game Sunday Night. Up next will be Washington at Dallas on Monday Night Football.
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