It’s the Mac Jones show for the rest of the season for Alabama and this game will be his biggest test yet. Auburn may have three losses, but it isn’t a pushover and could make this game fun. The Crimson Tide opened as just -3.5 point road favorites with an over/under of 50 for the Iron Bowl.
Part of the reason the spread is so small is because of Tua Tagovailoa’s injury, but also Auburn has been competitive in every game this year. Sure, it’s struggled at times like in the 20-14 win against Ole Miss, but it also kept the Georgia game close a couple weeks ago and lost by just three points at LSU a month ago. Its defense has the ability to keep this game tight and that’s possible because of Mac Jones.
The sophomore quarterback has only seen significant time against Arkansas and Western Carolina so it’s hard to put much into his 10.9 yards per pass. He may be better than he was a month ago, but this game is in Auburn against one of the best defensive lines in the country. The Tigers are allowing just over 300 yards per game and 3.3 yards per carry.
The Crimson Tide will likely lean on Najee Harris and the ground game as much as possible, but at some point that may not work. If so, it’ll be up to Jones to move the ball and that’s an unknown even with a receiving corps that includes DeVonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy and Jaylen Waddle (Henry Ruggs is questionable due to injury).
Of course, to cover, Auburn will need to score which isn’t a guarantee. Alabama may not have its best defense ever, but it’s allowing 16.2 points per game, 3.7 yards per carry and has stepped up when Jones is under center (again, partly due to schedule).
Either way, the Tigers have struggled to score all season behind Bo Nix, who is completing 57.6% of his passes on 6.8 yards per attempt. They may try and run the ball as much as possible with JaTarvious Whitlow and D.J. Williams, but there’s no doubt Nick Saban is going to stack the box and force Nix to beat them.
Outside of one 70-yard run, Auburn didn’t find much running room against LSU or Georgia, and Alabama is an equally difficult matchup.
The problem with betting Auburn is that while it’s at home, you have to bet on Nix. A lot of people are off Alabama because of Tagovailoa’s injury, but this is still a dominant team and winning this game by more than three points is more than reasonable.
The under has hit in Auburn’s last four games overall, while Alabama doesn’t have any relevant trends. The home team is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings between these teams and the Tigers are 5-2 ATS in the last seven played in Auburn.
Our Pick – Auburn +4