Baylor vs. Ole Miss Sugar Bowl Preview and Best Bet

Quarterback Matt Corral #2 of the Mississippi Rebels. Michael Chang/Getty Images/AFP.

Ole Miss (10-2 SU, 7-4-1 ATS) has been a solid bowl bet for decades, winning 8 of its last 9 appearances and 12 of 14. For the NCAAF picks, the Rebels opened as short favorites over Big 12 champion Baylor (11-2, 9-4), which has covered 9 of its last 12.

The opening total of 50.5 was a touchdown lower than it’s been for any other Rebels game this year, and it had been bet up to 55 by the time of writing. Meanwhile, after opening as an underdog to No. 8 Ole Miss, the 6th-ranked Bears had moved to a 1-point favorite at the best sportsbooks.

Baylor Bears vs. Ole Miss Rebels

Saturday, January 01, 2022 – 08:45 PM EST at Caesars Superdome

Bet on the Stars

It’s rarely a bad idea to bank on the stars in bowl games. Ole Miss has the distinct advantage in stars, boasting first-round NFL prospect Matt Corral, explosive rusher Jerrion Ealy, pass-rushing demons Chance Campbell and Sam Williams, and playmaking safety A.J. Finley.

Baylor has a terrific rusher in Abram Smith in addition to their own playmaking linebackers, and Smith will be counted on to carve up the 101st-ranked rush defense in the nation.

Nevertheless, the combination of head coach Lane Kiffin and Corral are the headliners after they produced one of the scariest offenses in the nation. They ranked 121st in time of possession but managed to finish as a top-26 offense in every category. Only Auburn and Alabama limited this offense in a meaningful way.

With such a narrow spread, I’m putting faith into the superstar duo of Kiffin and Corral to figure out a solid but slightly overrated Bears’ defense.

The Under Lock

Both teams have impressive under-streaks entering this battle. The Rebels have gone under the total in seven straight games and eight of nine. The Bears have gone under in four straight games, and five of their last six outings.

The Rebels’ defense has dramatically improved from last year when it allowed nearly 40 points per game. Ole Miss has held five of its last six opponents to 21 points or less, with all but one of those games coming in SEC play. They’ll find Baylor’s group challenging but not nearly as dynamic or explosive as their usual SEC foes.

For Baylor, it’s all about a defense that led the Big 12 with 16 interceptions. They also allowed just 19.2 points per game and are anchored by hybrid defensive back/linebacker Jalen Pitre. Pitre was the conference defensive player of the year and could be tasked with spying on Ole Miss dual-threat quarterback Matt Corral.

NCAAF Pick: Ole Miss -1 (-110) at DraftKings

NCAAF Pick: Under 55 (-110) at DraftKings