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The games just keep getting bigger and bigger. The undefeated and No. 1 team in the country Alabama, goes on the road to face surprising Auburn, who is now No. 4 in the BCS Standings. The winner of this game will make the SEC Championship game and be on a track to the National Championship game. As expected, the Crimson Tide are sizable favorites at -10.5 points on the road at sportsbook.com where the action is surprisingly balanced with the Tide getting 53% of the action.
Alabama won this matchup 49-0 last year so it’s kind of hard to look at that game as Auburn only finished with 163 total yards. It’s going to be a different story this year.
Auburn’s only loss of the season came at LSU back in September when no one really gave them much thought. Auburn was 17-point underdogs in that game and gave up 228 rushing yards to LSU. Outside of that, the Tigers have big wins at Texas A&M and no one can forget their last miraculous win against Georgia. Considering that most of this success is unexpected, it makes sense that Auburn has covered in eight straight games.
Alabama just keeps churning out wins as expected. LSU was thought to be a tough task and that game was never really in question. The Crimson Tide also have a big road win at Texas A&M earlier in the season so you can’t really doubt this team.
Led by a tough defense and consistent offense, something will have to break in this game for Auburn to win. Auburn’s defense isn’t one of the best and will likely get beat up in the trenches. Leading running back T.J. Yeldon missed last weekend’s game for ‘Bama, but he should be ready for this game. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake will be seen plenty as Nick Saban likes to feed his RBs as much as possible in big games. Because of that, AJ McCarron hasn’t played a huge factor in many games this year, even though his 23 touchdowns and five interceptions are impressive. When needed to move the ball though, McCarron has shown he can do it on just about anyone with receivers Kevin Norwood and Amari Cooper.
The only way for Auburn to win this game is to somehow win the rushing battle. Not only will it be hard on the defensive end, but offensively they’ll have to run on the Crimson Tide. It’s not going to be the easiest of tasks especially since Alabama knows what’s coming.
Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall is having a fine season, but you’re not going to count on him to put together a game-winning drive or win on another desperation 73-yard touchdown pass. The Tigers are led by a ground game that’s tops in the nation. Marshall is at his best on the ground with 823 yards and nine touchdowns, but leading the way is running back Tre Mason with 1,153 yards and 17 TDs. If Auburn can’t run in this game, they will lose by more than 10 points, simple as that.
The only problem Alabama’s defense has had this year was against Johnny Manziel and Nick Marshall is not Manziel. Can Marshall and Mason change that?
The Crimson Tide are only 1-4 ATS in their last five road games vs. a team with a winning home record. They are 5-1 ATS in their last six conference games. As stated before, the Tigers are on a roll with eight straight covers. In addition, they are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 home games vs. a team with a winning road record. The favorite has covered in six of the last eight meetings between these teams.
We really wanted to pull the trigger on Auburn here. Alabama's weak schedule, the Auburn home crowd, the emotion involved here, etc. But at the end of the day, we can see Alabama, the better, deeper team, pulling away and extending the margin here. That's the way our model sees it as well. The one very good team they both played was LSU and while Auburn hung in there and got the cover, LSU was the better team. When Bama played LSU, there was no question Bama was the better team.
Auburn may be worth a peek +3 for the first quarter and maybe even +6 for the first half as the emtion along can carry them. We're going to take a shot here with Aubuth getting the points but it's just that. A shot. Based on emotion. Auburn +11
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