Alabama vs. Auburn Odds, Picks, Predictions: Will Tigers Pull Off Iron Bowl Upset Over Tide?
John David Mercer, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Mac Jones
- Updated Alabama vs. Auburn odds list the Tide as -3.5 favorites in the 2019 Iron Bowl.
- Alabama was a 9.5-point favorite in lookahead lines before Tua Tagovailoa's season-ending hip injury, so the market is accounting almost a touchdown for his absence.
- Our experts give their Alabama vs. Auburn picks and break down whether or not the Tigers can pull off the outright upset.
Iron Bowl Odds: Alabama vs. Auburn
- Spread: Alabama -3.5
- Over/Under: 51
- Moneyline: Alabama -179, Auburn +150
- Time: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
Everyone seems to be talking about Alabama’s path to the College Football Playoff. But shouldn’t they first be talking about whether or not the Tide can win the Iron Bowl?
Nick Saban’s team is a 3.5-point favorite as of Friday afternoon, a sharp drop from the lookahead lines posted at various Vegas sportsbooks throughout the season. Before Tua Tagovailoa’s season-ending hip injury, the Tide were -9.5 at the Westgate SuperBook.
Can Auburn’s defense do enough to cover and even pull off the upset? Let’s break it all down.
Odds as of Friday afternoon and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.
Alabama vs. Auburn Line Movement
Alabama has mostly sat at -3.5 throughout the week, but did get up to -4 a few times before being knocked back down to -3.5.
The total has dropped from 50 to 49.5 behind 90% of the money on the under.
Collin Wilson: Is Alabama on Upset Watch?
The media made a big deal of Nick Saban saying that Auburn is the best team his team will face this season, but he may be correct (sorry, LSU fans) — at least on defense.
Auburn’s defense ranks inside the top-10 in rushing and passing success rate and 11th in finishing drives. The Tigers struggle defending passing explosiveness, but Alabama, for all of its success after the catch, couldn’t beat an LSU defense that ranks 127th in the same category.
Indeed, this may be the toughest team Nick Saban has had to face this year.
LSU’s Joe Burrow may have set the template for dismantling a young Crimson Tide defense. The soft part of the Alabama defense is the front 7, specifically over the middle. Auburn is a successful rushing team, but ranks outside the top-100 in rushing explosiveness.
Alabama quarterback Mac Jones spent most of the game against Western Carolina hitting Devonta Smith in the flats on quick passes. That formula should be neutralized by an Auburn defense that ranks 23rd in defensive havoc, led by Roger McCreary, who has 11 passes defended on the season.
Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs is listed as questionable and if he is out, that frees McCreary up to pay attention to the remaining Alabama targets.
At this point of the season we have a pretty good idea of just how good this Auburn team is. The Tigers have played the 13th-hardest schedule in the nation and have played close games against LSU, Florida and Georgia. The truth is, we don’t have a good feel for this Alabama team. The Tide ranks 84th in strength of schedule.
The Tigers hold a clear special teams advantage, will be able to rush for short yardage at will and boast the strongest defense that Alabama has faced this season.
My money is on Auburn to pull off the upset in the Iron Bowl.
Pick: Auburn +3.5
Stuckey: This Game Is a Coin Flip
I make this game a coin flip and think there are two reasons why my number differs from the market in such a marquee game this late in the season.
I have the difference between Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones as closer to six points, but the market seems to indicate it’s closer to 2-3 points.
Tua is a generational talent and brings a mobile component to the game. Jones does not have the mobility that Tagovailoa has. Jones is a solid quarterback and has the best wide receiving corps in the country, but let’s not act like he’s on par with Tua.
Jones, a former Kentucky commit from Florida, was graded somewhere in the 15-20 range as a pro-style quarterback coming out of high school. While Tua was a five-star recruit, Jones was just a three-star, which illustrates the difference in talent level.
Jones does have good numbers in limited action this season, but the majority of his action came in two starts against FCS Western Carolina and lowly Arkansas. Color me not impressed.
Auburn will not only mark the toughest defense he’s faced by far, it will also be his first ever collegiate road start.
Led by Derrick Brown, this ferocious defensive front for Auburn can match up with Alabama in the trenches and make Jones beat them, which I’m willing to pay to see.
This Alabama team is not without flaws elsewhere, especially along the defensive line where the Tide can be pushed around. Despite looking great at times this season, the Tide has played an easy schedule and when they had to step up in weight class against LSU, the Tigers took the game to them.
Despite playing a much tougher schedule, the Auburn defense still has superior advanced metrics. Per my numbers, the Tigers have faced eight top-50 offenses and have held them to 19 points per game. That includes holding LSU, Georgia and Oregon to under 24 points.
Let’s look at the common opponents on each team’s schedule:
- At Alabama: 46 points and 7.1 yards per play
- Home vs. Auburn: 23 points and 5.8 yards per play
- At Alabama: 31 points and 5.5 yards per play
- At Auburn: 14 points and 3.9 yards per play
- Home vs. Alabama: 28 points and 5.6 yards per play
- Home vs. Auburn: 20 points and 5.6 yards per play
- Home vs. Alabama: 7 points and 4.7 yards per play
- At Auburn: 23 points and 5.2 yards per play
- Home vs. Alabama: 7 points and 3.8 yards per play
- Home vs. Auburn: 10 points and 3.4 yards per play
If you look at the five common opponents they’ve played this year, Alabama has allowed an average of 28 points per game (112) while Auburn has allowed an average of only 20. And from a yards per play perspective, Auburn allowed 4.8 yards per play to Bama’s 5.4. (Auburn also held Georgia to 21 points and below 4 yards per play).
Lastly, don’t forget about Special teams, which could become an x-factor. The third phase should favor Auburn, which has the superior special teams unit. Per S&P, Auburn’s special teams unit ranks 30th while Alabama sits at No. 74.
I understand freshman quarterbacks have not had much success in the past against Nick Saban but Bo Nix has gotten valuable experience against one of the toughest schedules in the nation. Plus, he will be much more comfortable at home.
You’re getting the better defense and more experienced quarterback as a home underdog.
Pick: I’d play Auburn at +3 or better. [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]