This year, the Liberty Bowl could be renamed the Mike Leach Bowl, with Leach’s current team, the Mississippi State Bulldogs, facing one of his former programs, the Texas Tech Red Raiders. From a betting standpoint, meanwhile, the total, rather than the point spread (Mississippi State between -9.5 at PointsBet and -10 at BetMGM), makes this game intriguing.
The betting market consensus total sits at 58.5 points. While the number has been bet down from 60.5, it would not be shocking to see Leach try to run up the score against Texas Tech, a program that fired him back in 2009, and its lackluster defense.
Depending on what Texas Tech chips in, we can see this game going ‘over’ the traditional total, and the ‘pick your own total’ option at PointsBet may be fun way for bettors to get involved.
Liberty Bowl Betting: Pick Your Own Total
If you think defense could play a significant role in the outcome of this game, PointsBet is offering alternate totals as low as 46.5 points. But in this preview, we focus on the totals higher than 58.5 points.
|Liberty Bowl--Pick Your Own Total via PointsBet||Over||Under|
Mississippi State (7-5 SU, 7-5 ATS) vs. Texas Tech (6-6 SU, 6-5-1 ATS)
The Mississippi State offense is everything you would expect from Leach. It ranks third in the country in passing (385.7 yards per game), last in rushing (63.9 yards per game), and does a decent job of putting points on the board (30.9 per game; 47th in the country).
But the Bulldogs do something unusual for a pass-heavy team: controls the clock, ranking seventh in the nation in time of possession (33:39).
Leach has a solid defense at Mississippi State, unlike many of his past teams. This season it ranked 21st in the nation in total yards allowed — 1oth against the run and 68th against the pass.
As for Texas Tech, the Red Raiders seem to struggle to deal with many aspects of the game Mississippi State excels at. They ranked 113th in the country in time of possession (27:42), 118th in pass defense (266.4 yards/game), and 104th in scoring (32.1 points/game).
An Alternate Total At Nearly 2-to-1 Odds
Mississippi State will be down offensive tackle Charles Cross, but his absence is something it can deal with. Texas Tech will be without its No. 1 wide receiver (Erik Ezukanma), but its Nos. 2 and 3 receivers are talented enough to pick up the slack.,
The stage is set for Bulldogs QB Will Rogers to have a career day against the Red Raiders, and Donovan Smith gets the start for Texas Tech. Against Iowa State and Baylor, he showed some real potential. He should be able to find some success against the Bulldogs secondary.
Not enough to win, but enough to make the score nice and high.
Our Pick: Over 66.5 (+195)