Alabama vs. Auburn Pick 11/30/19
No. 5 Alabama Crimson Tide (10-1 SU, 6-5 ATS) vs. No. 15 Auburn Tigers (8-3 SU, 8-3 ATS)
Date/Time: Saturday November 30th, 2019. 3:30PM (EST)
Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium Auburn, A.L.
Point Spread: ALA -4/AUB +4 (BetAnySports - 20 Point College Football Teasers + Reduced Odds Football/Basketball Betting at -105)
Over/Under Total: TBA
The 2019 rendition of the prestigious Iron Bowl will transpire on Saturday when the no. 5 Alabama Crimson Tide travel to Jordan-Hare Stadium for a battle with the no. 15 Auburn Tigers. The Crimson Tide are currently in the thick of the College Football Playoffs fight with just one loss this season at the hands of no. 1 LSU. The Crimson Tide’s title chances took a considerable blow two weeks ago when star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa went down with a season-ending hip injury. Despite the loss of Tua, Alabama can still secure a trip to the playoffs with a victory over Auburn and a little help from the outside world. However, this Saturday’s Iron Bowl match-up against Auburn promises to be no cakewalk.
Recent Iron Bowl history and trends
It should be pretty evident that Alabama has had the upper hand in the Iron Bowl in recent years. Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide has consistently been in the thick of National Championship battles and has controlled the SEC West for the majority of the Saban era. Alabama has won four of the last five meetings against the Tigers and has also won eight of the previous eleven meetings going back to 2008, which was Saban’s 2nd season in Tuscaloosa. However, if there is any good news for Auburn’s fans in terms of trends, it is the fact that the Tigers have won five of the last eight contests on the plains at Jordan-Hare Stadium, including the most recent meeting at Auburn in 2017. Additionally, Auburn holds a 6-2 mark ATS during those last eight meetings on the plains.
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Alabama QB Mac Jones faces biggest test against Auburn
Before Tua Tagovailoa went down with an injury, I believe most college football fans, including myself, expected Alabama to pull out another victory in the Iron Bowl. With Tua sidelined, Alabama now turns to quarterback Mac Jones to lead one of the nation’s most prolific offenses in its biggest challenge without their star quarterback. Jones’ potential has some uncertainty because we simply have not seen him play much. In the last two games against the inferior likes of Mississippi State and Western Carolina, Jones posted substantial numbers completing 70% of his passes for seven touchdowns with one interception.
We know that Alabama has tons of talent on the offensive side of the football. Running back Najee Harris’ role in the offense is increasing every week. Harris has 942 yards rushing on the season and has totaled nine touchdowns in the last five games. Meanwhile, Alabama has one of the best-receiving groups in the country with DeVonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy, and Henry Ruggs III. The three receivers have combined for 2,600 yards with 28 touchdowns on the season. Obviously, these receivers provide a match-up advantage over nearly any opposing defense. Still, the question remains if Alabama can get the same level of production against a quality defense like Auburn? The Tigers are really strong on the defensive front against the run which means Alabama will likely have to rely on the arm of Jones to pull out the victory.
Auburn offense looking for a spark
Gus Malzahn’s offenses on the plains have often been met with skepticism. At times, the Tigers are the epitome of ingenuity with a rushing attack that finds ways to gash opposing defenses. At other times, Auburn looks like a vanilla one-dimensional offense that lacks the talent to succeed in any other fashion. The quarterback situation in 2019 has mirrored the quarterback issues under Malzahn’s tenure. Bo Nix has completed just 56% passing with 14 touchdowns and six picks on the season. The offense has produced 20 points or less in four of their last five games against SEC opponents including another lackluster effort in the 20-14 loss against Georgia most recently in a game where the Tigers were held to just 84 yards rushing matching the lowest mark of the year.
With these trends in mind, it’s hard to fathom Auburn breaking out against a talented Crimson Tide defense. Granted, Alabama’s run-stop unit is not as dominant as previous defenses under Saban. Still, Auburn’s offense consistently provides subpar outings, which is alarming for bettors that believe the Tigers are “live dogs” this Saturday. Auburn has played their best football at home, and this is a rivalry game meaning anything can happen. For me, I just don’t see any player this offense can turn to in crucial moments in high profile games. We have witnessed Auburn in these moments several times this year, and the offense has failed the test each time. If the Tigers are going to win, they will have to find a spark to ignite this sleeping offense.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I believe Auburn will keep this game close, but I also believe their offense will continue to be their demise. Alabama pulls away in the 2nd half thanks to their defense. Take Alabama -4
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