Auburn (5-2) at Alabama (7-0)
When: Saturday, November 28th, 2020
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium,
Time: 3:30 ET | TV: CBS
Opening Odds: Alabama -23.5/60.5
The Alabama Crimson Tide are well on their way to playing in the SEC Championship Game next month, but there’s one more pesky hurdle to overcome before that can happen. It’s the annual Iron Bowl with instate rival Auburn this coming Saturday from Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Tide will be looking for revenge after the Tigers pulled out a dramatic 48-45 thriller last year to ruin Alabama’s playoff chances. The Crimson Tide (7-0, 7-0 SEC) are 24.5-point favorites against the Tigers, who have not won in Tuscaloosa since 2010. Alabama has been on a roll all season and are coming off a 63-3 route of Kentucky last week, while Auburn won its third consecutive game by beating Tennessee 30-17 at home. Alabama enters the game with the third-highest-scoring offense in the nation (49.4) led by Heisman Trophy candidate Mac Jones at quarterback. Jones made his third career start in last year’s Iron Bowl, throwing for 335 yards and four touchdowns, but he threw two costly interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. Auburn is dealing with a couple of key injuries including freshman running back Tank Bigsby (527 yards rushing, five touchdowns, 5.73 yards per carry), who suffered a hip injury early in last week’s win over Tennessee and is questionable. Tackles Brodarious Hamm and Alec Jackson also are questionable for Saturday’s contest.
The Tide lead the all-time series 46-37-1 including a 52-21 win two years ago in Tuscaloosa as 25.5-point favorites – a similar spread we have for this week. The home team has won each of the last four meetings and covered the last three. In fact, the home team is 6-2 ATS in the last eight matchups, while the Over is 5-3 in that span. Alabama head coach Nick Saban will not be on the sidelines in this one after testing positive for Covid-19 earlier this week.
If Bigsby can’t go for Auburn, junior Shaun Shivers would be in line for more carries. Shivers scored the decisive touchdown in last year’s Iron Bowl win for Auburn. He and sophomore D.J. Williams combined for 131 yards and a touchdown last week in the win over Tennessee. Sophomore quarterback Bo Nix has thrown for 1,627 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, with five interceptions, as the Auburn passing attack is improving. Nix started the season falling short of hitting at least 50 percent of his passes in three of four games, but he’s now connected with his receivers for at least 70 percent in all of their past three games – all wins. Last week, Nix went 17-of-26 for 220 yards and a touchdown with an interception. In the Iron Bowl last year, Nix went 15-of-30 for 173 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. The defense isn’t as strong as in years past, ranking 61st overall in the country, allowing 402.1 yards a game. Auburn will face another top 10 team next week, hosting Texas A&M.
Alabama is steamrolling the opposition right now with 40 or more points this year in all but the opening game (38 vs. Mizzou). Alabama’s 63-3 win last week over Kentucky came one week after their scheduled Nov. 14 meeting with the LSU Tigers got postponed. Jones has passed for 2,426 yards and 18 touchdowns against three interceptions this season and his 95.3 QB rating is the highest among all qualified quarterbacks in the nation. In seven games this season, Jones has the third-highest passer rating in the nation (205.06), while averaging 12.1 yards per attempt and 346.6 yards per game. Alabama’s rushing offense ranks 48th among FBS teams, averaging 182.4 yards a game. Senior Najee Harris (137 carries for 797 yards this season) leads the nation with 16 rushing touchdowns. Alabama’s run defense ranks 26th in the nation, allowing an average of 118.9 yards per game.
Though Auburn has played well of late, they still don’t have what it takes to keep up with this Alabama offense. Nix is not someone I can trust on the road against a good team to keep the score from getting out of hand. Jones is going to have a field day against this Tigers defense and the Crimson Tide roll.
Pick: Alabama -24.5
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