No. 7 Baylor meets No. 8 Ole Miss in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 2022.
Kickoff is scheduled for 8:45 p.m. ET at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. The game will be televised on ESPN. Both teams had surprising seasons with second-year coaches.
Baylor (11-2) won the Big 12 championship under coach Dave Aranda with a running game that averaged 214.7 yards per game and a defense that allowed just 19.2 ppg. Backup quarterback Blake Sharpen played well in place of Gerry Bohanon late in the season, and SN second-team All-American safety Jalen Pitre anchors that tough defense. The Bears played in the Sugar Bowl after the 2019 season.
MORE: SN 2021 All-America team
Ole Miss (10-2) hit double-digit wins under second-year coach Lane Kiffin with an exciting offense that ranked fourth in the FBS with 506.7 yards per game. Quarterback Matt Corral will play in the bowl game, and offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby is staying on before departing to take the same job at Oklahoma. The Rebels won the Sugar Bowl after the 2015 season.
With that in mind, here is what you should know about betting on the Allstate Sugar Bowl matchup between the Bears and Rebels:
Baylor vs. Ole Miss betting odds
- Spread: Ole Miss -2
- Over/under: 54.5
- Moneyline: Baylor -110, Ole Miss -110
Three trends to know
— Depending on the sportsbook, this line bounces two points in either direction, which makes it a pick ’em of sorts. Baylor is 4-1 S/U and 4-1 ATS as an underdog in 2021.
— Baylor also was 4-1 S/U and 3-2 ATS in games decided by seven points or less this season. Ole Miss played in just one game decided by one score, and that was the 31-26 victory against Tennessee on Oct. 16.
— Which line do you get on the Rebels? It can help you make the pick. Ole Miss is 9-2 S/U as a favorite under Kiffin, but the Rebels are 4-5 S/U as an underdog since 2020.
Three things to watch
— Baylor ball control. It does not matter whether Bohanon or Sharpen is under center. The Bears will stick to their running game with Abram Smith (1,429 yards, 12 TDs) and Trestan Ebner (763 yards, 2 TDs). Ole Miss surrendered more than 200 rushing yards in six games this season. SN second-team All-American Sam Williams (12.5 TFL) can be a disruptive force, and he’ll have to be against the Bears.
— Matt Corral’s big stage. Corral made it a point to play in a New Year’s Day Six bowl, and that’s huge for the Rebels. Corral was arguably the most-dynamic dual threat quarterback in the FBS with 3,333 passing yards, 378 rushing yards and 31 total TDs. Corral had a 72.4% completion percentage in the Rebels’ last four games, and that will be a test for a Baylor secondary led by Pitre. The Bears allowed 7.3 yards per passing attempt.
— Which receiver makes the big play? Baylor’s Tyquan Thornton (61 catches, 946 yards, 9 TDs) and Dontario Drummond (67 catches, 924 yards, 8 TDs) have similar lines this season, and both will be in position to make the clutch catch in this game.
Stat that matters
Ole Miss ran 77.4 plays per game in their up-tempo offense, and they averaged 6.5 yards per play. Baylor ran 67.6 plays per game and averaged 6.4 yards per play. Both teams allow about the same yardage on defense — Baylor allows 5.3 yards per play and Ole Miss gives up 5.5 yards per play. The Rebels might go a little faster, but the Bears are used to that kind of style from Big 12 play. See which team wins yards per play, especially in the first half.
Baylor vs. Ole Miss prediction
Baylor allowed 30 points in just one game this season, and that was the 30-28 loss at TCU on Nov. 6. Lebby will hammer the running game with Jerrion Ealy and Snoop Conner early, and that will set up Corral in the vertical passing game. Baylor will hang and have success on the ground, but the Rebels will play from ahead early and be able to keep the Bears one score away for four quarters. Kiffin earns an impressive victory and builds the hype for 2022.
Final score: Ole Miss 34, Baylor 27