Auburn Tigers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Pick
Auburn Tigers (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (7-0 SU, 5-2 ATS)
When: Saturday, November 28, 3:30 p.m.
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Point Spread: AUB +24.5/BAMA -24.5 (Get the best bonus offer)
Total: O/U 62.5
The early defensive struggles are out of the way for Alabama, and the Crimson Tide honestly looks pretty close to unbeatable right now. Over the past 14 quarters of football, Alabama has outscored its opponents by a staggering margin of 193-20. The Tide has never had a problem with the offense, but the defense appeared to be a real cause for concern at the start of the season. But in recent weeks, Alabama’s defense has crushed Kentucky and Mississippi State, bringing both offenses to a complete stop.
However, Auburn is a much stiffer test than either the Bulldogs or the Wildcats, and the Tide have to face it without their head coach, as Nick Saban has tested positive for COVID. With or without Saban, Auburn is never an easy game. The Tigers are on a three-game winning streak now after handling Tennessee, and their defense has never really been a worry. A month ago, Auburn managed to hold Mississippi to 28 points, something the Rebels achieved in the third quarter when they faced Alabama. In wins over Tennessee and LSU, Auburn outscored its foes 78-28, firmly establishing itself as the second-best team in the SEC West.
But for all of the Tigers’ success as of late, it’s mostly come in the same place: Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn has been dynamite on the plains, but when the Tigers leave eastern Alabama, the results have not been pretty. Both of the Tigers’ losses came in road games, as they got waxed by Georgia and couldn’t come back against a mediocre South Carolina squad. Now they’ve got the toughest trip in the SEC, and it’s to their most bitter rival to boot. Can Auburn shake off its road struggles and win an Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa for the first time since 2010?
How the Public is Betting the Auburn/Alabama Game
This game went on the board long before the season started because it’s the Iron Bowl, and since then, the public has absolutely hammered Alabama. The line has doubled since the season began, jumping from -12.5 back in September to the current -24.5. The increased spread has pulled the tickets closer to even, as the Tide are only getting 53 percent of tickets. The total has increased two points, going from 60.5 to 62.5.
Offensive lineman Alec Jackson (undisclosed), offensive lineman Brodarious Hamm (undisclosed), and running back Tank Bigsby (hip) are questionable. Linebacker K.J. Britt is out until December with a thumb issue, and offensive lineman Brandon Council (knee) is out for the season.
Wide receiver Slade Bolden (ankle) is questionable. Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (ankle) is out indefinitely, and running back Trey Sanders (undisclosed) is out for the season. Coach Nick Saban has tested positive for COVID and will not coach the Iron Bowl.
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When Auburn Has the Ball
As with most things, Auburn’s success is not that complicated. The Tigers will win or lose based on what Bo Nix ends up doing in terms of touchdowns vs. turnovers. When Nix’s touchdowns are greater than or equal to his interceptions, the Tigers are 5-0. When Nix throws more interceptions than touchdowns, Auburn is 0-2. Not coincidentally, the two games where the Tigers lost were Nix’s most inaccurate games of the season, as he failed to complete more than 53 percent of his passes in either contest.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, Nix’s arm might be even more important in this game because Tank Bigsby might or might not be on the field Saturday. If he’s not in uniform, Nix becomes Auburn’s leading healthy running back, as nobody else has more than 36 carries on the season. D.J. Williams is likely to get most of the carries if Bigsby is unable to go, and he proved serviceable against Tennessee with 66 yards on 11 carries.
But the key for the Tigers will be getting the ball to Seth Williams and Anthony Schwartz as often as possible. Alabama can be beaten with the deep ball if Nix is throwing the ball well, and the play of his receivers will be a critical part of that.
When Alabama Has the Ball
The big news out of Tuscaloosa is that Nick Saban has tested positive for COVID and will be watching the Iron Bowl in isolation. However, the Tide is actually well prepared for this situation. Earlier this season, Saban had a false positive and nearly missed the Georgia game, but Alabama prepared as if he wouldn’t coach, meaning the Tide had a process in place for potentially not having Saban on the sidelines.
With or without Saban, the process has been pretty simple for the Tide: take what the defense gives and crush the opposition with either Mac Jones or Najee Harris. Most times, the success has come from both. Jones has thrown all over the SEC all season, piling up 18 touchdowns against just three interceptions and completing over 75 percent of his passes. Plus, he’s done this without the help of Jaylen Waddle, as the receiver was lost to injury against Tennessee. It hasn’t mattered, as nobody has held Alabama under 38 points all season (and that was in the season opener, and the Tide honestly could have scored more on Missouri but took their foot off the gas with the Tigers well and truly beaten).
When Jones isn’t throwing, Harris’ runs have proven next to impossible for Alabama opponents to stop. With 16 touchdowns, Harris leads the nation in rushing scores and ranks 12th in the country in rushing yards. Given that Auburn wasn’t able to slow down South Carolina, it’s hard to see how the Tigers can keep Alabama in check.
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Few things are harder to do in college football than cover against Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The Tide hasn’t lost a home game in five years, but they’ve also covered six straight games at Bryant-Denny Stadium. That’s part of why the Iron Bowl has tended to favor whoever is at home: the home team has won seven of the past eight Iron Bowls and covered in six of the past eight.
Usually, the Iron Bowl hasn’t even been that close when the game is in Tuscaloosa. Auburn has won three of the past eight Iron Bowls, but the Tigers’ past four trips to Tuscaloosa have seen them lose by an average of 27.5 points. Most of that has been because of Alabama’s defense: seven of the past 10 Iron Bowls have gone under the total, but Alabama hasn’t scored fewer than 30 points in any of its past five wins over Auburn in Tuscaloosa.
Expect the points to come in the first half, with the second half being iffy. When the game starts, the teams will be playing in ideal conditions, with temperatures at 66 degrees and mild winds blowing north-northeast at six miles an hour. However, it’s going to be a cloudy day, and the clouds could bring showers as the evening arrives. The rain is supposed to wait until the late evening, but if the storm gets to Tuscaloosa a couple of hours early, the second half could be tough on the offenses.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
I don’t think having to play without Saban will be that much of a factor for Alabama. This team is firing on all cylinders right now and seems to have the defense figured out. Plus, Mac Jones has to be thinking about evening the score after the Tigers pulled the upset last year on the plains and ruined his first road start.
I can’t see the Tigers slowing the Tide down in this one. Give me Alabama on roll to another home win in the Iron Bowl. Need a bankroll booster? You can get a 100% REAL CASH bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $1000 at BetNow!
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