Game Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: SEC Network
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Odds: Mizzou opened as a 1-point favorite. They’re now a 3.5-point/4-point favorite in some locations, for some reason.
Mizzou will welcome Vanderbilt to Columbia on Saturday afternoon as the Tigers seek their first conference victory since last October. It will be no easy task though as Vandy has been seemingly getting better and growing to be more competitive by the week. They nearly took down No. 9 Auburn last week at Jordan-Hare but ultimately fell 23-16, yet there’s still some growing optimism that the ‘Dores will end the season on a high note after things looked mighty bleak.
Going into this matchup, Missouri and Vanderbilt stand at 58th and 90th in Bill Connelly’s S&P+ rankings. F/+ projects a slim victory victory for the tigers (1.9 to be precise), so despite the gap between the Tigers and Commodores in S&P+ rankings (and an ~11-point victory by that projection), the F/+ model doesn’t exactly see it the same way.
It’s easy to see why given Mizzou’s trajectory of late. The Tigers have been pitiful, wretched, calamitous - you name the word, it best describes them. It might even be an understatement. They haven’t won an SEC game since last October and their attempt to go full circle turned hollow last week when they fell at the hands of South Carolina - the team they beat in October 2015 - in the annual battle of the Columbias.
With such a big spread from the oddsmakers and S&P+, and even the marginal one in F/+, you might expect this to be a cakewalk for Mizzou and for them to grab a conference victory that has eluded them for over a year. Well, not so fast. Vandy has been playing much better recently and it’s shown in their efforts on the field and in the win-loss column.
It started with their surprising win over Georgia in Athens. Then came the romp of Tennessee State. And finally, last week’s hard-fought loss to Auburn - a game where their win expectancy was a mere 12 percent - showed that this Commodores team is gaining quite a bit of steam lately. Their defense has been playing very well, mostly spearheaded by the work of Zach Cunningham who is likely to be an All-SEC linebacker and possibly the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Conventional wisdom would suggest that if Mizzou is going to win... this has to be the week to do it. Their next two games against Tennessee and Arkansas don’t look great, even with the Volunteers appearing to be in disarray. The Commodores aren’t the favorites in this matchup, even though recent trends would suggest that they probably should be. I get the sense that trends will win out over wisdom here.
Prediction: Vanderbilt 19, Missouri 13