Illinois Fighting Illini vs Mississippi State Bulldogs Best Bet: ReliaQuest Bowl Betting
Illinois Fighting Illini vs Mississippi State Bulldogs Best Bet: Monday, January 2nd
The Mississippi State Bulldogs will take part in the ReliaQuest Bowl on Monday despite having to play the match without their head coach Mike Leach. Leach, unfortunately, passed away on December 12 from a heart condition, but the show must go on. The Fighting Illini opened the line at -1 and since the news of Leach, it has inspired the line setters to favour the Bulldogs by nearly a field goal.
Our resident college football expert Ej Garr belted out a perfect 3 – 0 on Saturday for our readers, and he will have a pair of articles covering two of the four Bowl games being played today Ej has certainly made this the most wonderful time of the year, and his record during bowl season has been stellar. Let’s see what he’s got on the table for the ReliaQuest Bowl.
In this article:
- Illinois Fighting Illini vs Mississippi State Bulldogs Preview
- Illinois Fighting Illini vs Mississippi State Bulldogs Best Bet
Illinois Fighting Illini vs Mississippi State Bulldogs Preview
Mon, Jan 2nd. 17:00 (UK time)
Just wow. I can only just say wow when I heard the news that a massive personality like Mike Leach had suddenly passed as the Bulldogs are preparing for a January 2 Bowl appearance. Anyone who knows some of the antics and quotes from Mike Leach is something that will be missed, and his ability to make an offense go from zero to ballistic is unprecedented.
This news also seemed to affect the line setters thinking because the line opened at Illinois -1 when the matchup was first announced, and now we have the bulldogs favoured by nearly a field goal. Playing with what we always refer to as a heavy heart is not easy to do, and this is not one of those normal departures before a bowl game. As we all know, coaches come and go as soon as the regular season ends, and many a head coach will already be preparing to coach another team next year but this is quite different. Losing your head coach in that fashion has also been a shock for this program, and I cannot imagine being 18-21 years old and being told that your head coach passed away all of a sudden.
The Bulldogs’ offense has the unenviable task of trying to deal with the Illini defense without Mike Leach, and it was going to be difficult enough with him on the sidelines. Before the news, I will tell you right now that when this bowl matchup first came out, I was all over Illinois even with Mike Leach still here.
There can only be one #1, and the Illini only gives up 12.3 points a game, but they’ve had a luxury this year that won’t be on the field this Monday and it is Chase Brown. I get that the Illini defense is the best in the country in scoring, they lead the nation in forced turnovers and are ranked #2 in total yards allowed per game.
Here are the 3 reasons to expect Mississippi State to win the ReliaQuest Bowl.
- The Illini’s leading rusher Chase Brown has opted out of the bowl game and declared for the NFL Draft. All he did was put up 1,643 rushing yards while posting 10 touchdowns, and Reggie Love III has only gained 277 yards as the current leading rusher now.
- Tommy Devito gives me no confidence in expecting points to come our way, and I have zero faith that he will be able to deal with the Miss State defense in the least.
- Will Rogers has had his moments for Miss State this year, and the 3,700 passing yards to go with a 34 / 6 TD to INT ratio is outstanding.
Illinois Fighting Illini vs Mississippi State Bulldogs Best Bet
This game became tougher to predict with both the news of Mike Leach passing and Chase Brown declaring for the NFL Draft early.
The second half will see football getting back to normal, but normal for the Illini is shutting you down and trying to keep games low-scoring and close. Unfortunately, Chase Brown is everything to this Illini offense and Tommy Devito gives me no confidence compared to Will Smith and Miss what State should still be able to do on offense.
I will call for a 31 – 18 Bulldogs win, and you know I do not play favs often, if ever. I just did with Alabama for a reason, and that reason got us a cashed ticket!
- Selection: Miss State -2.5
- Best odds: 1.93 (Pinnacle)
- Stakes 4/10
Odds as of 9:00 am January 2, 2023. Odds may now differ.