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Auburn Tigers vs Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles

by | Sep 26, 2018 | cfb

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs. No. 10 Auburn Tigers (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date/Time: Saturday, September 29th, 2018. 4:00 PM (EST)
Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium Auburn, A.L.
TV: SECN
By: Jay Horne, College Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: USM +27/AUB -27
Over/Under Total: 54

For the 4th consecutive week, the Auburn Tigers will return to the friendly confines of Jordan-Hare Stadium when they host the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. After the disappointing close loss to LSU, Auburn bounced back last week with a convincing 34-3 victory against Arkansas as they covered the 30 point spread. This week the Tigers will be in a similar situation as heavy 27 point home favorites but I have a strong belief they will struggle heavily against the mighty underdog out of Hattiesburg that has covered 4 of their last 6 games against the spread.

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The Golden Eagles returned to action last week after their game against Appalachian State was postponed in week 3 due to Hurricane Florence. Before the postponement, Southern Miss suffered a somewhat surprising loss to Louisiana-Monroe before bouncing back last week with a 40-22 win over Rice. Despite the mundane 2-1 SU and 2-1 ATS mark this year, the Golden Eagles are a solid football team on both sides of the football. The defense ranks 9th in the FBS giving up just 272 yards per game and in the top 25 in scoring allowing just 16.7 points per game. The offense has averaged nearly 500 yards of total offense and nearly 40 points per game. While most people will write-off those stats as a result of inferior competition, the Golden Eagles are equipped with the weapons to give Auburn a difficult matchup this weekend.

Fade Auburn’s offense

I mentioned above the Golden Eagles have looked pretty solid defensively despite the level of competition. However, Auburn’s offense has looked pitiful against inferior competition as well. In last week’s 34-3 victory over Arkansas, it may appear that the score was the result of a convincing victory. Perhaps in some ways, it was convincing for the defense but the offense struggled severely. In fact, the Tigers only produced 225 yards of total offense. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham could not get anything going down the field and the Tigers dynamic rushing attack averaged just 2.5 yards per carry.

While those numbers indicate just one performance, they are also the trend of this struggling Auburn offense. Stidham has passed for just 718 yards in 4 games and Auburn’s typically explosive running offense has been held in check. Before we even take into consideration the matchup on the other side of the ball, I have to raise the question of; How is Auburn is going to cover this 27 point spread? If your answer is another dominating effort by the defense, that may be your best argument but I highly doubt they can hold the Golden Eagles offense at bay. So far this year, Auburn has posted point totals of 21, 9, 21, and 34 averaging just 21 points per game. On those angles alone, the 27 point margin has extreme value.

Take the points with Southern Miss

The value in the point spread alone is enough to garner some consideration on the underdog this week. You may even be able to find some sportsbooks offering 28 and -105. However, once you take into account the Southern Miss offense, you have the recipe for a perfect matchup. Now before I tell you why I love Southern Miss this week, let me be clear. Auburn’s defense is good. The Auburn defensive line is very good. However, the Golden Eagles run a spread offense with quick throws from quarterback Jack Abraham. The quick throws will limit the Auburn pass rush and put this Tigers’ secondary to the test.

When Auburn does not get a pass rush, they are not nearly as strong defensively. Abraham and this Southern Miss offense runs nearly every snap out of the shotgun formation. The offense gives many different looks and Abraham does a good job with his reads. Abraham has posted great numbers this year through 3 games with 1,048 yards, 10 touchdowns, and just 3 picks while sporting a 72% completion percentage. The Golden Eagles rank 8th in the FBS in passing yards per game and have the tools to put pressure on Auburn’s defense at its most vulnerable position. Trust that Southern Miss will generate offense that will produce points and remember it will likely not take many points to result in a cover!

Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take Southern Miss +27

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