The most anticipated game of the month, and one of the best rivalries in all of sports is upon us. The Alabama Crimson Tide take the trip east to Auburn with a lot of marbles on the line in their matchup against the Tigers. Auburn have been hitting their stride, and are sizing Alabama up for an upset. It wouldn’t be the first time Auburn has played the role of spoiler in the Iron Bowl. To add to the intrigue of this game, it isn’t just another rivalry game. There are large stakes on the table in this matchup. The winner will secure a spot in the SEC Championship game by way of winning the SEC West.
The loser will not play in that game, nor will they be in the college football playoff. Alabama will only have one win, but their resume simply isn’t strong enough. It won’t happen, but if they somehow made it in with a loss, it’d be an injustice. Their best wins on the year is currently against LSU and Mississippi State. The Mississippi State game was a coinflip in the end, which could have gone either way. The great teams find ways to win those games, but when it comes to college football, style points come into play.
Auburn do have a trend favoring them in this game. They’re 4-3 and 2-0 against Nick Saban when both teams are ranked in the top-10. The most memorable of all was the field goal return for a touchdown by Auburn in 2013. It was a 28-28 game, before Alabama came up short on a 58-yard field goal attempt. The rest is history. We can only hope we get a game like that on Saturday.
Auburn are coming into the Iron Bowl already with a big win under their belt. They knocked off Georgia by a large score of 40-17. Their hiccups came against Clemson and LSU. Those losses don’t mean anything now, as Auburn just needs to win out and they’re in. Easier said than done. They must beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl, and then get ready for a rematch with Georgia. Could they pull it off twice? Maybe, but the Tigers have to deal with the Crimson Tide before getting to that point. Head below for our free Alabama vs. Auburn pick in the Iron Bowl.
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Auburn Tigers Betting Odds:
vs. Auburn +5(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Alabama vs. Auburn Pick:
Auburn were fortunate to get Jarrett Stidham to transfer to their school. Stidham left the sinking ship at Baylor, and quickly jetted to Auburn when controversy engulfed their football program. Stidham made the best decision he could have, as he’s proving he can make it work in an elite conference. No disrespect to the Big 12, but there is no defense being played in that conference. It’s go out and see whoever is the best arena football team sometimes.
Stidham has thrown 16 touchdowns and 4 interceptions this season. He’s also rushed for 102 yards and an additional 3 touchdowns on the ground. His presence and poise has only gotten better as the season moved forward. Since losing to LSU on October 14th, Auburn have averaged 44 points per game. They also have a nice running game to go along with Stidham. Auburn are averaging 244 yards per game on the ground. Kerryon Johnson has rushed for 1,172 yards and 18 touchdowns on the year.
They face a stiff test against an always stout Alabama defense. It’s no different in 2017, where they are giving up just 87.4 yards on the ground. To beat Alabama, it’s imperative to complete plays downfield. Auburn counters with a great defense of their own. They are 10th in the country, allowing 303 yards per game and 16.6 points. Just like Stidham, Jalen Hurts is going to have to make plays down the field for Alabama. Hurts has been terrific with the ball, passing for 14 touchdowns and just 1 interception. He is also at an advantage because of his mobility and running ability. If a play breaks down, Hurts has the ability to find a first down with his legs.
The Crimson Tide are allowing 156.7 yards per game through the air, and Auburn are giving up 184.4 yards per game. I expect both defenses to make plays in this game. It’s going to be a matter of who can minimize the mistakes. The offensive and defensive lines will ultimately be the deciding factor in this matchup. If the Auburn offensive line protects, Stidham will hit receivers.
They were able to bully a good Georgia defensive line, which opened things up for the Tigers. On the other side of the ball, Auburn held a very good Georgia ground game to 46 yards. Auburn were up for that game, and I think they’re going to be up for Alabama. The homefield advantage is going to pay off in this one. Auburn keeps it close in a game that could go either way.
PICK: AUBURN +5 (-110)