Liberty Bowl Picks, Predictions and Odds: Mississippi State vs. Texas Tech

Dec. 28, 2021
Jonathan Willis
VI Betting Expert

The Mississippi State Bulldogs take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the Liberty Bowl this year,as many personal ties are associated in this one. Opening kick is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN from Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee.

Score Prediction

Mississippi State 41, Texas Tech 24

Best Bets

Mississippi State -9.5 (-110) at FanDuel

Liberty Bowl Predictions

Mike Leach must be licking his chops at the thought of playing his former school. Leach put Texas Tech on the map before he was fired at the end of the 2009 season. The Red Raiders haven’t won more than eight games in a season since that point, while Leach has had success at both Washington State and Mississippi State. His Bulldogs are a double-digit favorite against the Red Raiders in the Liberty Bowl.

Texas Tech upset Iowa State in November to become bowl eligible, but the Red Raiders lost four of their last five games. They were no match for most of the teams in the Big 12 (losing four conference games by 21 points or more), and they probably won’t be a match for the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the Liberty Bowl on Tuesday evening.

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Liberty Bowl Betting Resources

  • Matchup: SEC vs. Big 12
  • Date: Tuesday, December 28, 2021
  • Venue: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
  • Location: Memphis, Tennessee
  • TV-Time: ESPN, 6:45 p.m. ET

Mississippi State Bulldogs Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 7-5
  • ATS: 7-5
  • O/U: 6-6

Will Rogers finished the regular season tied with Brennan Armstrong as the quarterback with the most passing yards among Power Five teams. Mike Leach’s quarterbacks always light up a stat sheet, and Rogers was no different this season. He completed over 75% of his passes for 4,449 yards (7.1 YPA) with 35 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

The top receiver on this team was Makai Polk with 98 receptions for 989 yards and nine touchdowns. Jaden Walley and Austin Williams also factored into the passing game, and running backs Jo’quavious Marks and Dillon Johnson combined to catch 141 passes for Mississippi State.

Star offensive tackle Charles Cross will not be suiting up for the Bulldogs in this game. Cross was an All-American and was projected to be a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, so that loss will be huge for this offensive line.

Mississippi State had a surprisingly good defense this season. The Bulldogs ranked 21st in total defense, and they checked in at 25th in Defensive SP+. Linebacker Aaron Brule made the decision to transfer to Michigan State a couple weeks ago, and starting cornerback Martin Emerson announced that he will skip the bowl game on Christmas.

Texas Tech Red Raiders Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 6-6
  • ATS: 6-5-1
  • O/U: 5-7

Interim head coach Sonny Cumbie will face his former coach before taking the head coaching job at Louisiana Tech. Cumbie was one of Mike Leach’s quarterbacks at Texas Tech, and he became the offensive coordinator here last year.

This offense is in shambles though. Tyler Shough suffered a broken collarbone in September, and Henry Colombi could not effectively fill his shoes. That led to the Red Raiders rolling the dice with freshman Donovan Smith down the stretch.

Smith was ghastly in a loss to Oklahoma State, but he was solid in his other three outings. He moved the ball effectively against both Baylor and Iowa State, giving Texas Tech hope for the future.

Unfortunately, Smith won’t have leading receiver Erik Ezukanma as he declared for the NFL Draft just before Christmas. Other top options Myles Price and Travis Koontz are both questionable to play in this game, so senior Kaylon Geiger might have a lot of passes thrown his way.

Texas Tech continues to struggle on defense. The Red Raiders were 83rd in Defensive SP+ this season. This secondary ranks outside the top 100 nationally, so the Bulldogs should be able to light up the scoreboard even without Cross.

Mississippi State has covered the spread in four of its last five games away from Starkville. (AP)

Inside the Stats - Mississippi State Bulldogs

  • Record: 7-5
  • VI Ranking: 32
  • Points Scored: 371
  • Points Allowed: 303
  • PS/G: 30.9 (47th)
  • PA/G: 25.2 (57th)

Inside the Stats - Texas Tech Red Raiders

  • Record: 6-6
  • VI Ranking: 49
  • Points Scored: 360
  • Points Allowed: 385
  • PS/G: 30 (53rd)
  • PA/G: 32.1 (104th)

Key Players to Watch

  • MSST: Will Rogers - QB (473/630, 4,449 yards, 35 TD, 8 INT)
  • MSST: Makai Polk - WR (98 catches, 989 yards, 9 TD)
  • TT: SaRodorick Thompson - RB (94 carries, 448 yards, 9 TD)
  • TT: Erik Ezukanma - WR (48 catches, 705 yards, 4 TD)

Liberty Bowl Betting Conclusion

Mike Leach won’t be afraid to run it up on his former team. Leach and Texas Tech had one of the most acrimonious divorces you will find in college football, and he will relish the opportunity to stick it to the Red Raiders.

Liberty Bowl Betting Trends

  • Mississippi State has covered the spread in four of its last five games away from Starkville.
  • Mississippi State has covered the spread in five of its last six games.
  • Mississippi State has gone OVER the point total in four of its last five games.