Mississippi State vs. Illinois Reliaquest Bowl Prediction: Picks & Start Time – January 2, 2023

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The Reliaquest Bowl will feature a matchup between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Illinois Fighting Illini.

Mississippi State vs. Illinois Odds

Point Spread

The spread for this matchup is set at 3 points, with oddsmakers listing Mississippi State as the favorites.


As for the moneyline, Mississippi State has -160 odds to pick up the win, while Illinois is listed at +128 to claim victory.


Finally, the over/under for the game is set at 45.5 points.

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Game Info

How to Watch Mississippi State vs. Illinois Live?

  • Game Day: Monday, January 2, 2023
  • Game Time: 12:00 PM ET
  • TV Channel: ESPN2
  • Location: Tampa, Florida
  • Stadium: Raymond James Stadium

Betting Preview

Mississippi State

Offensively, Mississippi State ranks 61st in the FBS with 393.2 yards per game. Meanwhile, its defense ranks 41st in total defense (350.3 yards allowed per contest). Mississippi State is averaging 32.7 points per game on offense this year (33rd in the FBS), and is giving up 24.2 points per game (50th) on the other side of the ball. Mississippi State owns the 36th-ranked defense this season in terms of passing yards (206.8 allowed per game), and has been better offensively, ranking ninth-best with 313.4 passing yards per game. Mississippi State has been a bottom-25 run offense this year, ranking third-worst with 79.8 rushing yards per contest. On the defensive side of the ball, the Bulldogs are ranked 58th in the FBS (143.5 rushing yards allowed per game). Mississippi State is putting up a 38.9% third-down percentage on offense (74th in the FBS), and ranks 26th on defense with a 33.9% third-down percentage allowed. Mississippi State ranks 36th in college football with a +4 turnover margin after forcing 20 turnovers (28th in the FBS) and committing 16 (51st in the FBS).

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Illinois has been thriving on the defensive side of the ball, giving up just 263.8 total yards per contest (second-best). On offense, it ranks 66th by racking up 386.8 total yards per game. Illinois’ defense has been leading the way for the team, as it ranks best in the FBS with 12.3 points surrendered per game. In terms of offense, it is compiling 25.4 points per game, which ranks 83rd. Illinois has been excelling on pass defense, giving up just 165.4 passing yards per contest (fourth-best). Offensively, it ranks 93rd in the FBS by compiling 208.1 passing yards per game. Illinois ranks 46th in the FBS with 178.8 rushing yards per game, but it has been carried by its defense, which ranks eighth-best by surrendering only 98.4 rushing yards per contest. Illinois’ third-down defense has been paving the way for the team, as it ranks seventh-best in the FBS with a 29.0% third-down conversion rate allowed. In terms of offense, it is posting a 38.9% third-down rate, which ranks 74th. Illinois has generated 29 forced turnovers this season and have turned it over 15 times, leading to a +14 turnover margin, which ranks second-best in the FBS.

Mississippi State vs. Illinois Betting Analysis

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Mississippi State Betting Insights

Mississippi State has covered the spread in a game six times this season (6-5-1). In games it is played as 3-point favorites or more, Mississippi State has an ATS record of 5-3-1. This season, Mississippi State games have hit the over seven times. The Bulldogs have been favored on the moneyline eight total times this season. They’ve finished 6-2 in those games. When playing as a moneyline favorite with odds of -160 or shorter, the Bulldogs have a 3-1 record (winning 85.7% of their games).

Fighting Illini Betting Insights

Illinois has covered the spread in a matchup eight times this year (8-4-0). Illinois has a perfect 3-0 ATS record when playing as at least 3-point underdogs. Games involving Illinois have hit the over on five occasions this year. This season, the Fighting Illini have been the underdog four times and won two of those games. The Fighting Illini have a record of 2-1 in games where sportsbooks have them as underdogs of at least +128 on the moneyline.

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Mississippi State vs. Illinois Against The Spread & Betting Records

Mississippi State

Overall Home Away
Point Total AVG 55.1 53.6 57.2
Implied Total AVG 34.8 36.1 32.8
ATS Record 6-5-1 4-2-1 2-3-0
Over/Under Record 7-5-0 7-0-0 0-5-0
Moneyline Favorite Record 6-2 5-0 1-2
Moneyline Underdog Record 1-2 0-1 1-1

Fighting Illini

Overall Home Away
Point Total AVG 43.7 43.4 44.2
Implied Total AVG 26.8 26.7 26.8
ATS Record 8-4-0 4-3-0 4-1-0
Over/Under Record 5-7-0 3-4-0 2-3-0
Moneyline Favorite Record 6-2 4-2 2-0
Moneyline Underdog Record 2-2 1-0 1-2

Players to Watch

Mississippi State

  • With four sacks to go with eight TFL, 97 tackles, and one interception in 11 games, Nathaniel Watson has been an important contributor to the Bulldogs’ defense in 2022.
  • Jett Johnson has played 11 games, recording 95 tackles, four TFL, one sack, and two passes defended for the Bulldogs.
  • Emmanuel Forbes has played 10 games, amassing 36 tackles and six interceptions for the Bulldogs.
  • Jalen Green has been a significant contributor to the Bulldogs’ defense in 2022, with two interceptions to go with 56 tackles, two TFL, and seven passes defended in 11 games.

Fighting Illini

  • Sydney Brown has been doing his part on defense, registering six interceptions to go with 66 tackles, three TFL, one sack, and 12 passes defended for the Fighting Illini.
  • Jartavius Martin has collected 65 tackles, three TFL, one sack, and three interceptions in 12 games for the Fighting Illini.
  • Isaac Darkangelo has one sack to go with seven TFL and 67 tackles in 12 games.
  • The Fighting Illini’s Devon Witherspoon has posted 42 tackles, two TFL, and three interceptions in 11 games.

Mississippi State vs. Illinois Predictions and Pick

Mississippi State vs. Illinois betting card

    Pick ATS:

    Fighting Illini (+3)

    Pick OU:

    Over (45.5)

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How to Bet on Mississippi State vs. Illinois

You can bet on Mississippi State vs. Illinois at every legal online sportsbook. For more college football odds, including moneylines, spreads, over/under totals as well as college football prop odds, check out the latest college football lines as well as our guide to the best college football betting sites.

And if you wanted to check out how much you could win on a $10 bet if you parlayed today’s Mississippi State vs. Illinois picks, don’t forget to check out our free parlay calculator.

Not sure what a parlay is? Or even how to bet on college football? Check out our complete guide to sports betting.

Our prediction to win this contest is Illinois, and we project that Illinois will cover the spread (Mississippi State -3). Finally, we see the scoring in this one going over the posted total of 45.5 points.


Matt Rooney

Matt comes from Chicago and has lived in the area his whole life. Graduated from and played football at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, IL while also serving as the director of student sports broadcasting. He writes for Betsperts as well as appears on several shows across the network.

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