Mississippi State vs Illinois Prediction, Odds & Best Bet for ReliaQuest Bowl 2023 (Bulldogs Continue Red-Hot Run)

Devon Platana
Mississippi State vs Illinois odds, prediction and betting trends for NCAA college football ReliaQuest Bowl.
Mississippi State vs Illinois odds, prediction and betting trends for NCAA college football ReliaQuest Bowl. / ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Mississippi State vs Illinois Game Info

2022 NCAA College Football Game — ReliaQuest Bowl
No. 22 Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4) vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (8-4)
Date: Monday, Jan. 2, 2023
Time: 12 p.m. ET
Venue: Raymond James Stadium — Tampa, FL
Coverage: Big Ten Network

The 2022 NCAA college football bowl game matchups have been revealed, including the ReliaQuest Bowl between the No. 2 Mississippi State Bulldogs and Illinois Fighting Illini.

Mississippi State has momentum on its side after prevailing for the third time in its last four games with a 24-22 win against ranked Ole Miss on Nov. 24. Illinois also tasted success in its last outing, picking up a 41-3 blowout victory over Northwestern, ending a three-game skid in the process.

Can Mississippi State leave Raymond James Stadium with the victory? Or will Illinois figure out how to achieve its first bowl victory in over a decade?

Mississippi State vs Illinois Odds & Spread

All NCAAF betting lines, odds and prop bets are from FanDuel Sportsbook.
Moneyline: MSST: (+112) | ILL: (-134)
Spread: MSST: +2.5 (-110) | ILL: -2.5 (-110)
Total: 46.5 — Over: (-105) | Under: (-115)

Illinois enters this contest as a slight favorite on the spread and moneyline. This ReliaQuest Bowl clash also features a total of 46.5, which is just below average compared to this year's bowl games.

Mississippi State vs Illinois Prediction & Pick

I really like Mississippi State in this matchup, especially after its win over Ole Miss (ranked No. 20 at the time), proving that the former can handle some of the better competition. It's hard to say the same about Illinois, especially after three losses in its last four games with the only win in that stretch coming against the 1-11 Northwestern Wildcats.

Even with the Fighting Illini's strong defense, they're beatable through the air. They allow over 80 more passing yards in road and neutral site games (219.8) than they do at home (139.5). That might not be an eye-popping total, but it gives the Bulldogs' offense more than enough to work with after averaging 32.6 completions (No. 1) and 310.9 passing yards (No. 11) this fall.

Illinois has also been outscored 70-38 in its last two bowl games, having not won in over a decade. With Mississippi State having won the Armed Forces Bowl just two years ago and going 10-5 in its last 15 bowl outings, it's easy to see that the Bulldogs are capable of pulling off an upset to kick off 2023.

Final Score Prediction: Mississippi State: 24 | Illinois: 21

Mississippi State vs Illinois Betting Trends

- Mississippi State is 2-4 against the spread (ATS) in its last six games.
- Illinois is 7-3 straight up in its last 10 games.
- The total has hit the over in five of Mississippi State's last six games as the favorite.
- The total has hit the under in 13 of Illinois' last 20 games.

Mississippi State vs Illinois Best Bet

All NCAAF betting lines, odds and prop bets are available on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Again, Illinois hasn't shown lately that it's capable of capitalizing on its status as the favorite. A blowout win over lowly Northwestern is hardly impressive, whereas Mississippi State has looked strong lately, especially after beating Ole Miss.

With the Bulldogs not exactly being trustworthy on the spread (2-4 ATS in last six games), an outright bet makes much more sense here. Back Mississippi State at (+112) on the moneyline.

Bet: Mississippi State ML (+112)

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Devon Platana is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Devon Platana also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username PepeSilvia0. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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