Mississippi State Football: Early 2024 Win Totals Released

FanDuel Sportsbook released early win totals for the 2024 college football season, and they don't seem particularly high on Mississippi State football.

Nov 18, 2023; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs running back Jeffery Pittman
Nov 18, 2023; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs running back Jeffery Pittman / Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Football season just came to an end, but it's never too early to start looking ahead to next fall. The oddsmakers in Vegas certainly have because they're already putting out team win totals for the 2024 season.

A few weeks ago, FanDuel Sportsbook put out their first Over/Under Win Totals for power conference teams. That of course includes the SEC, so it's our first look at what Vegas thinks of Mississippi State football going into Jeff Lebby's first season in Starkville.

As you can see, the folks at FanDuel aren't particularly high on the Bulldogs. Oddsmakers have set Mississippi State's opening win total at 4.5. That's the second lowest total in the SEC, ahead of only Vanderbilt. It's also a full two games lower than State's projected win total in 2023, which was at 6.5. Obviously MSU very easily went under on that total, finishing with a 5-7 record in Zach Arnett's only season as head coach.

National outlets having a low opinion of MSU is nothing new, but 4.5 is abnormally low. I attempted to go back and find the last time Mississippi State's win total was that low, but results from before 2011 weren't available. I imagine you'd have to go back to at least Dan Mullen's first season in 2009 to find a win total of 4.5 or lower. Regardless of the exact year, it's been a while.

Why is Vegas so low on the Bulldogs? Well for starters, the 2023 season didn't exactly inspire much confidence in the program in the post-Mike Leach era. That isn't at all fair to Jeff Lebby, as this year's team will be completely different both in roster makeup and style of play. But there's probably some expectation of further regression to the mean. Keep in mind the dip in on-field success under Joe Moorhead compared to his predecessor in Dan Mullen. When programs lose really good coaches, it's tough to expect the next guy to match that success.

Speaking of Lebby, this is his first head coaching job. We know he's an offensive mastermind, but we don't yet know who he is as a head coach. And MSU is going through a total reset in terms of it's roster. There's a ton of experience lost not just from last year's team but the last few years. The Bulldogs will be relying on a lot of new faces, and that's rarely a recipe for success.

Finally, Mississippi State faces a very difficult schedule in 2024. The additions of Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC brought changes to the league's scheduling format. Gone are divisions, with each team playing eight league games, prioritizing their primary rivals. The end of the SEC West means State avoids playing Alabama, LSU, and Auburn this season. But despite that, things aren't' getting any easier.

The Bulldogs will play SEC road games at Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Ole Miss. ESPN's early Top 25 rankings have each of those teams in the top 16, with three of them in the top six. That doesn't include home games with #7 Missouri and #25 Texas A&M. That's a brutal schedule, and with some of the more beatable opponents having more continuity going into this season, Vegas doesn't like the odds of the Bulldogs finding more than four or five wins.

With all of that being said, it's not like Mississippi State football hasn't faced ridiculously difficult schedules before while outsiders had doubts about the team. Jeff Lebby has done a great job on the recruiting trail and in the transfer portal filling holes on the roster, and his high-powered offense will give the Bulldogs a chance in most games. I won't be shocked to see MSU get back to outperforming national expectations in 2024.