Missouri vs. Mississippi State NCAA Basketball Best Bets for Friday

Guard Iverson Molinar #1 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs drives against guard Davion Warren #2 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders. John E. Moore III/Getty Images/AFP

If you are wondering why there is an SEC basketball game on a Friday night, you are not alone. But as we have seen often this month, this is a makeup game from earlier for virus reasons and the conference prefers every team plays the same number of conference games.

Followers of SEC basketball agreed it was going to be another long season for Missouri basketball. The days of the Tigers being relevant in hoops seems like a bygone era, with two NCAA tournament appearances since the 2013-14 season. That lack of true postseason play will extend another year with Mizzou 10-15 (12-11-1 ATS).

After losing in the NIT Championship last year to Memphis, Mississippi State (14-11 SU & ATS) was picked 6th in the preseason polls. The Bulldogs looked to be on track for such a finish, but having lost four in a row and six of seven, coach Ben Howland could be headed back to the NIT, which would be an unsavory development. 

Missouri Tigers vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs

Friday, February 18, 2022 – 07:00 PM EST at Humphrey Coliseum

Bet365 and other top sportsbooks have Mississippi State as 11-point favorites, with a total of 134.5. Do the Bulldogs have enough bite to pull off this one?

Missouri Has Shown Improvement This Month

The Tigers have alternated losses and wins this month to have a 2-3 record. While Missouri backers want to see more marks in the win column, this team is 3-1-1 ATS this month with one true dark cloud, a 76-57 drubbing to Arkansas in the last contest as a 7.5-point home underdog.

Missouri is not an exciting team to follow, scoring just 65.2 points a game, hitting only 43.2 percent from the field. Nobody is going to say this Tigers team is “great” when it comes to three-point shooting either since they average only five makes an outing at 28.6%.

The Cuonzo Martin era as the coach has not shown a propensity to bring in or develop players and they just kind of shuffle along lacking not going anywhere. A prime example is having just two players, forward Kobe Brown (12.6 PPG) and guard Javon Pickett (10.0 PPG), averaging double digits.

In the end, that sort of sums up Missouri basketball, it’s a dish of vanilla pudding, lacking in flavor or zest.

Mississippi State Has Prime Time to Rattle Off Wins

Mississippi State is off the bubble and does not appear to have a chance to reach coach Howland’s goal of making the Big Dance, yet, they could at least change the narrative in their next four SEC skirmishes.

Because of the makeup game, they are playing home and home games with Missouri tonight and Sunday. Their next two tilts are at South Carolina and home to Vanderbilt, providing them four chances to alter the trajectory of their season.

Saying and doing it are two different things for a squad that has seen opportunities to win games in the last five minutes and they turn into defeats. The loss to Alabama Tuesday was a perfect example.

Down seven at Tuscaloosa, Mississippi State roared to an eight-point lead with eight minutes left and Bama coach Nate Oats lost his marbles and got tossed. Instead of seizing the moment, the Bulldogs were outscored 20-8 the rest of the way, which included 11 straight missed shots.

Hard to imagine a more frustrating loss for Mississippi State fans.

What is the Best Side to Be On?

The betting odds on Mississippi State look prohibitive for college basketball picks. Then we dug deeper. Missouri is 3-9, 4-7-1 ATS in away games, faltering by 14.1 PPG. The Bulldogs are 12-2 and 9-5 ATS in Starkville, winning by 13.8 PPG at home.

In matchups played at the Humphrey Coliseum, Mississippi State is an ultra-impressive 7-1 SU and ATS over the Tigers, and they are 8-0 ATS after two or more consecutive losses, winning by 12 PPG. Now that makes more sense, take the home team.

NCAAB Pick: Mississippi State -11 (-110) at Bet365