The Auburn Tigers are set to face the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Check out our college basketball odds series, which includes our Auburn Mississippi State prediction, odds, and pick.

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The Auburn Tigers are no longer a lock for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, as college basketball odds analysts would tell you. They still have a great chance for a top seed, but recent losses on the road at Florida and Tennessee have unquestionably weakened the Tigers’ profile. Auburn needs to win some road and neutral-court games in the coming weeks to solidify its seeding position and also hold off Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas for the SEC regular-season championship. This is part of the calculus when making an Auburn Mississippi State prediction.

Auburn’s loss to Tennessee was not very different from Auburn’s loss to Florida. Both lossses — like any game in which Auburn struggles — owned a central, defining trait: Auburn’s guards took too many 3-pointers, didn’t take care of the ball, and didn’t get the ball enough to Jabari Smith. Assuming he does declare for the 2022 NBA draft, which is very likely, Smith is the top pick in a number of mock drafts. He has an NBA body and can make next-level plays which separate him from the vast majority of players in college basketball. Auburn’s guards too often go away from Smith, and coach Bruce Pearl has not been able to create enough discipline in getting the Tigers to run the offense through Smith. When Auburn loses, this problem emerges.

The Tigers led Tennessee by six points at halftime and then went through a paralyzing drought in the second half, enabling Tennessee to take control of the game and win with a moderate working margin. Auburn’s offense is not ready for March. This Mississippi State game needs to become a moment in which the Tigers make tangible improvements and adjustments. The Auburn Mississippi State odds are not more favorable to Auburn right now because the Tigers keep opening the door to their doubters and skeptics.

Mississippi State, though, has a ton to prove in this game. The Bulldogs almost beat Kentucky, but not quite. They did beat Arkansas, but they did so before the Razorbacks found their footing and evolved into a high-quality team. Mississippi State lost to Colorado State and other nonconference opponents in the early part of the season when it was trying to build an NCAA Tournament resume. Far too many games of consequence have slipped through the Bulldogs’ fingers this season. They have to win this game and do a lot of work at the SEC Tournament to have any slight chance at an at-large bid. They are almost certainly headed for the NIT. If they want to change their outlook, this is a must-win game for them. Fit these lines of thought into your Auburn Mississippi State pick.

Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the odds:

College Basketball Odds: Auburn-Mississippi State Odds

Auburn: -3.5 (-120)

Mississippi State: +3.5 (-102)

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Over: 141 (-110)

Under: 141 (-110)

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Why Auburn Could Cover the Spread

The Tigers are not going to lose twice in a row. They are more talented than Mississippi State, and the Bulldogs have not performed with the consistency which suggests they are ready to spring an upset.

Why Mississippi State Could Cover the Spread

The Bulldogs have failed to win outright in a number of big games, but in terms of playing close games, MSU has done that on many occasions this season. The Bulldogs could lose by three and still cover the spread. That seems like a very realistic scenario.

Final Auburn-Mississippi State Prediction & Pick

Auburn ran into the tenacious defense of Tennessee this past Saturday. Mississippi State does not defend as well as Tennessee does. Auburn is mad after losing to the Vols. The Tigers should be able to get enough of the kinds of shots they want in this game. That should enable them to win by six points.

Final Auburn-Mississippi State Pick: Auburn -3.5