No. 17 Auburn Tigers (5-0, 4-1 ATS) at Arkansas Razorbacks (2-2, 1-2 ATS)
Donald W. Reynolds Stadium Fayetteville, A.R Saturday October 10th, 12:00PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Auburn -3/Arkansas +3
The no. 17 Auburn Tigers have had little attention thrown their way through the first 5 weeks of the season, but they rightfully deserve it after an impressive 5-0 start. The Tigers offense has exploded into one of the most potent units in America averaging 41 points per game. The electrifying offense will now take their undefeated campaign on the road to Fayetteville to battle the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Arkansas is a team that has also over achieved on the offensive side of the ball compared to expectations. The Razorbacks have posted 35 points per game behind quarterback Ryan Mallett who leads the SEC averaging 287 yards per game. The SEC is mostly known for their strong defensive teams, but that will not be the case when these two high power offenses collide this Saturday.
The Razorbacks surprisingly struggled most of 2008 scoring points averaging just 21 points per game. However, the offense has been revitalized from Michigan transfer Ryan Mallett. Mallett has picked defenses apart racking up 1,148 yards through the air to go along with 11 touchdowns in just 4 games this season. The Razorbacks quarterback has had a lot of success spreading the ball to talented sophomore wide outs Joe Adams, Greg Childs, and Jarius Wright. All 3 receivers are averaging over 16 yards per catch and have resulted in nearly have of all Arkansas touchdowns this season. The Arkansas offense may look a bit more like a Big 12 offense in the way they spread the ball around with little running help. However, they have been able to rack up a lot of yards and also a lot of points this season which will help them in an upset attempt this Saturday.
However, the Razorbacks defense is the side of the ball holding the team back. It is obvious when you have a successful offense; the opposing team has more chances on offense. Still, the defense ranks nearly dead last in the SEC in every major category. The Razorbacks have allowed over 400 yards per game and just less than 30 points per contest. Those are not good numbers considering they are about to take on the best offense they have played to date. The Razorbacks must find a way to play better especially in the secondary. The secondary has allowed a lucrative 283 yards per game and has an SEC worse 3 total interceptions on the season. If Arkansas is to have a chance this Saturday, they must get better effort from the defense.
Auburn on the other hand will go into Saturday’s contest as one of the most balanced and dangerous offenses in the country. The Tigers are averaging 259 yards passing and 253 yards of rushing to equal the nations 5th ranked overall offense. Tigers running backs Ben Tate and Onterio McCalebb are an unstoppable force on the ground. Tate has 540 yards on the season while McCalebb trails closely behind with 416 yards on the year. The running attack will be the best the Arkansas Razorbacks have seen this season, but the passing game may be the best way to attack the Razorbacks.
As stated before, Arkansas has been flat horrible in the secondary. Tigers QB Chris Todd may be on the verge of a big performance. Todd has been terrific this season throwing for 1,230 yards with 11 touchdowns and only 1 interception. Todd will have every opportunity to improve on those numbers this weekend and will look to find WR Darvin Adams. Adams is a tall receiver who makes plays and could also post big numbers if the Razorbacks secondary continues to falter.
Auburn is 4-1 ATS this season as the betting lines have yet to given them any respect for their 5-0 start. Auburn has also won 4 of the last 6 games against Arkansas.
Jay’s Pick – The game is destined to be a shootout with both talented offenses. However, the Tigers defense is much better than given credit for and Auburn is also perhaps the most under rated team in the SEC. Take Auburn -3.