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Auburn vs. Arkansas Football Pick with Betting Line Analysis

10/8/11

Arkansas hosts the defending National Champs, Auburn on Saturday, as 10 point favorites with a current total of 63. Both teams come in at 4-1 with Arkansas looking for a little revenge as a result of their 65-43 thumping at the hands of Auburn last year. At first glance the number here, -10, may seem a tad high, but consider that 7 of the last 10 games between these two have seen a margin wider than 10 points.

Despite the wide margins in recent years, there's a big time lack of respect for the Auburn Tigers in the betting world. Not only are they 10 point dogs here, but the game opened up -9 and the early sharp money pushed it to -10!

Both of these teams lost several key players from last years squads, including both QB's in Cam Newton and Ryan Mallet, both now in the NFL and both big time game changers. Of the two teams, we'd have to give Arkansas the edge as far as replacing their stars as QB Tyler Wilson is in off a record breaking comeback performance against Texas AM. Auburn meanwhile, with Barrett Trotter sorely misses Newton, though they have started to work freshman QB Kiehl Frazier into the mix running the wildcat which should keep opponents on their toes.

The knock on Auburn has been their defense which gave up 38 to Utah State, 34 to Miss State and 38 to Clemson in their first 3 games of the year. In their 4th game, they held Florida Atlantic to 14 points with most critics taking note that it was, after all, Florida Atlantic. But they followed that game with a tremendous defensive effort last week, upsetting South Carolina on the road, 16-13.

When you look at Arkansas, you see similar results. They started the year giving up just 3 and 7 points in their first two games. But that was to Missouri State and New Mexico. Their last 3 games have seen them give up 28, 38 and 38, to Troy, Alabama and Texas AM and despite that great comeback against Texas AM, QB Tyler Wilson was running for his life all day long, sacked 4 times and hurried 6 more.

These teams have similar offensive yards per point numbers, both very good, while Arkansas is a point better defensively. The schedule strength is close, with Arkansas having played a schedule perhaps a point or two more difficult. A yards per point line for this game would be under a touchdown, while our score prediction model agrees with the oddsmakers, calling for a 34-23 Arkansas win.

So what do we think? Well, revenge is certainly a great motivator, and this series historically sees wide margins. We are also concerned with a potential Auburn letdown after last weeks huge upset of the Gamecocks. But we'd be equally concerned with the Arkansas side. Their inability to protect the QB along with question marks of their own defensively have us on Auburn here. We never want to be laying significant points against a team that has the potential to put up big numbers offensively. Auburn +10 with a lean towards the over 63.

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