Time to get ready for this year’s edition of the Iron Bowl! Though the contest has lost some luster due to a quarterback injury, we have a point spread to balance the action.
After beating Mississippi four weeks ago, Auburn was looking like a possible threat to Alabama in their matchup. However, an ugly loss at Texas A&M, blowing a big lead at home to Mississippi State, and losing quarterback Bo Nix, all but erased the anticipated drama in this encounter, especially after a setback at South Carolina last week.
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Auburn Tigers
Saturday, November 27, 2021 – 3:30 PM EST at Jordan-Hare Stadium
The Tigers might be going to a postseason bowl game, but the truth is told, the Iron Bowl is the one that will count and the other will be for fun for the players.
No. 2 Alabama (as of voting on 11/16) is a 19.5-point road favorite at sportsbooks like BetMGM. We went back to 1992 and we are fairly certain you could add another 10 years on that at least since Auburn was this large a home underdog to the Crimson Tide.
Alabama’s Offense Remains Dynamic, So Are Defensive Concerns
The Crimson Tide under QB Bryce Young is scoring 44.4 points a game. He’s been an electric playmaker and he has a plethora of receivers that not only can get open and catch the ball, but they also blow by those in the secondary when Young hits them in stride. This grouping is nearly impossible to defend.
The Bama running game however is nothing special at 158 yards a game, at 4.2 yards a carry. This is basically what the teams they have faced have surrendered at 152 YPG with a matching 4.2 YPC.
The is not one of Nick Saban’s super team’s and that is shown on the defensive end. There is nothing wrong with Alabama permitting 19.7 points a contest. The more worrisome part is they allowed 29 points to Florida, 41 to Texas A&M, and 35 to Arkansas last Saturday.
The NFL caliber defensive linemen are less apparent, as our future draft choices in the secondary. That will be Saban’s main concern coming into this encounter.
Auburn Has to Avoid Mental and Physical Miscues
Auburn is in the midst of its first three-game losing streak since 2012 and while a matchup will get the juices flowing, little doubt the Tigers are looking at closing the regular season on a four-game downer.
For the second week in a row, Auburn opened a substantial lead, 14-0 at South Carolina (28-3 at home the week prior vs. Miss. State), only to see it disappear like an illusionist trick. In both cases, the offense stalled like a car in traffic on a Los Angeles freeway.
The defense, as it has all year either stops the opposing team stone-cold or is like a dike that opens up to let whatever pass through. Neither of those aspects can happen this week. This week, Nix’s replacement, TJ Finley, has to play near perfect.
The offensive line has to open holes for Tank Bigsby, who will need to play like his name. The Tigers’ overall defense has to pester Young and hope the secondary holds up and not take a series off, as this will result in Alabama kicking extra points.
Who Covers the Sportsbooks Spread?
Though many in the SEC feel this way, Bo Nix added fuel to the Bama fire by accusing Alabama of getting preferential treatment from the conference and its hired officials. We guess that’s easier to say if you don’t have to face the Tide.
Though Saban does excellent work in preparation, with the Georgia battle next week, this could/will be a distraction against this foe, though it’s Auburn this week.
Alabama didn’t play its best last week and if they jump out to a 14-0, 17-3 lead in the first half, there is little reason for the Crimson Tide to try and punish Auburn. The Tigers are 9-5 SU and 7-7 ATS in the plains of Alabama vs. their hated rival and keep this manageable, losing by 17.
College Football Pick: Auburn +19.5 (-110) at BetMGM