As 15-point home dogs, it’s easy to put the Auburn Tigers in your NCAAF picks for Saturday’s matchup with the Georgia Bulldogs.
Georgia Bulldogs vs. Auburn Tigers
at Jordan-Hare Stadium
They say never to look a gift horse in the mouth – but what about a tiger? The No. 18 Auburn Tigers (4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS) sure seem like a gift as 15-point home dogs at BetMGM for Saturday’s SEC matchup with the No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs (5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS). Giving this Auburn team more than two touchdowns at Jordan-Hare Stadium is very generous indeed, but the consensus reports at press time show 86 percent of bettors on Georgia. Maybe we’d better have a look at those teeth after all before we make our college football picks.
Life of Bryan
The Bulldogs have covered double-digit spreads in three of their last four games, allowing a grand total of zero points in back-to-back games against Vanderbilt (+36 at home) and Arkansas (+16.5 away). Impressive, but then again, the Razorbacks have the No. 51-ranked offense in the nation, according to the F+ Ratings at Football Outsiders, and Vandy are near the bottom of the pack at No. 118. Georgia face a tougher test this Saturday. Auburn’s offense, with Bo Nix playing quarterback for first-year head coach Bryan Harsin (himself a former QB at Boise State before taking the reins there), ranks a more respectable No. 33 in offensive efficiency. That’s exactly where they finished in 2020, the final year of the Gus Malzahn regime. Harsin is starting pretty much from scratch on both sides of the ball, and the emphasis has been on keeping it simple for Nix, who has yet to throw an interception this year – thanks in no small part to a more experienced offensive line in front of him. Their performance level should improve as the season wears on.
How Low Can You Go?
Minimizing mistakes could be all the Tigers need to get paid in this matchup. There’s a tiny total (for college) of 45.5 points on the NCAAF odds board at bet365; as a general rule, it’s more difficult to cover large spreads in lower-scoring games. Auburn can help keep the score low with their No. 17-ranked defense. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs feature the top defense in the nation, to go along with their No. 5-ranked offense. To make matters even more challenging for Georgia, quarterback JT Daniels has a latissimus injury that kept him out of last week’s 37-0 romp over the Razorbacks. Daniels didn’t throw during Monday’s practice; head coach Kirby Smart hopes he will play this weekend, but they might have to go with Stetson Bennett, who threw just 11 times for 72 yards against Arkansas while Smart leaned heavily on the run game.
All that running chews up the clock, too, so if that’s Georgia’s game plan on Saturday, Auburn’s chances of covering go up even more. Factor in what should be a sweltering afternoon at Jordan-Hare, and you’ve got another classic contrarian college football pick on the home underdogs. You might even want to grab the Tigers by the moneyline, where they’re +570 at FanDuel. They’ve already beaten Penn State and LSU as road dogs. The choice is yours, so bet accordingly, and enjoy the game.
NCAAF Pick: Auburn +15 (-110) at BetMGM