Auburn vs Arkansas Odds, Picks & Predictions | How to Bet Saturday’s SEC Showdown (Oct. 29)
Justin Ford/Getty Images. Pictured: Auburn running back Tank Bigsby.
Auburn vs Arkansas Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Dark clouds surround the head coaching position at Auburn, as Bryan Harsin is on the hottest seat in college football.
A six-win season sent the Tigers to the Birmingham Bowl last season, and they took a loss to a Group of Five school in Houston. Rumors of an unverified affair with an employee made the rounds and became a punchline for Harsin in every interview.
Players have quietly hit the portal, while defensive coordinator Derek Mason took a lateral job at Oklahoma State. With a new athletic director soon to be named and no indication of improvement, Harsin's days on the plains are short.
There are no job security issues in Fayetteville, as Arkansas comes off of a much-needed bye week after an offensive domination of BYU. The Hogs have taken hits up and down the roster, but none are more severe than what has taken place in the secondary.
Head coach Sam Pittman got some recruiting in while the Razorback roster looked to mend injuries. Arkansas is 4-1 against the number coming off of a bye week since Pittman took over as head coach.
The Hogs will need to win every one of the final five games if they hope to reach a high-profile bowl game.
Teams on the verge of firing a head coach generally don't put up much of a fight on the field. However, Auburn has covered two of its last three games against Ole Miss and LSU.
This particular series has belonged to the Tigers over the past decade, as they've won eight of the last 10, including a drubbing of the Hogs in Fayetteville last season.
Since taking over as the starter in Week 4 against Missouri, quarterback Robby Ashford has made the Auburn offense competitive. Although the passing game averages as many turnovers as touchdowns, the rushing attack with Ashford serves as the primary concern for any defensive coordinator.
Robby Ashford era is HERE
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 24, 2022
Ashford has 194 yards apiece in designed and scramble rush attempts. Offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau has implemented a mix of zone read, designed draw and more than 50 passing attempts utilizing screen or play action.
The Tigers not only have a quarterback with a high ceiling for explosiveness but an anchor at running back in Tank Bigsby. The junior averages 4.7 yards after contact, more than any other running back in college football with at least 100 attempts.
The defense allows an average of 4.5 points to opponents that cross the 40-yard line, while the front seven rarely tackles ballcarriers behind the line of scrimmage.
Want an illustration of how far the defensive unit has fallen? Ole Miss and Georgia combined to put up 740 rushing yards on the Tigers.
There are reinforcements coming for a secondary unit that lost leader Jalen Catalon early in the season. Safeties Myles Slusher and Latavious Brini are considered questionable, while fellow defensive backs Khari Johnson and Jayden Johnson will return.
Although wide receiver Jadon Haselwood will take part in no-contact drills this week, there's an expectation that one of the most explosive targets on the team will be available.
After three consecutive losses in SEC play, Arkansas had a renaissance against BYU. The defense didn't allow a point in the fourth quarter, while the offense put up 52 points against an underachieving Cougar defense.
Quarterback KJ Jefferson had five touchdowns and connected with 10 different targets, while Raheim Sanders logged 175 yards while averaging over five yards after contact.
— Arkansas Razorback Football (@RazorbackFB) October 21, 2022
The biggest difference in the BYU game was coordinator Kendal Briles' offensive play-calling. Pittman was pleased to see the playbook open up in early downs. Arkansas has the ability to rush Sanders behind a fierce offensive line, but Briles elected to start half of possessions with a passing attempt.
Arkansas is one of the best squads in staying in standard downs on offense, ranking 16th in that area. The Hogs also show explosiveness with a rank of eighth in expected points on passing attempts and a top-10 mark in passing plays over 30 yards.
The problems with the Razorbacks have come on defense.
Coordinator Barry Odom has multiple issues with ranks outside the top 100 in tackling, Line Yards and coverage. Those warts tend to pop when teams get behind schedule, as the Hogs rank 125th in Defensive Success Rate on passing downs.
Although the statistics indicate a decent pass rush, the Razorbacks did not record a sack against BYU or Mississippi State. Even with a number of starters returning to the defense, fundamentals continue to plague the Razorbacks in high-scoring affairs.
Auburn vs Arkansas Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Auburn and Arkansas match up statistically:
Arkansas Offense vs. Auburn Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Auburn Offense vs. Arkansas Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||100||48|
|Seconds per Play||23.4 (16)||26.4 (71)|
|Rush Rate||63.5% (10)||57.3% (42)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Auburn vs Arkansas Betting Pick
One look at the defenses suggests this game is a definite over play on the total.
Both of these teams are two of the worst defensive units in the nation in Stuff Rate, signaling that Bigsby and Sanders will run wild. Arkansas' poor coverage and tackle grading suggest Ashford will lead Auburn's top-15 explosive attack to quick scores.
The issue with both of the offenses is mistakes in critical situations. Arkansas has climbed to 115th in penalties, while Auburn sits outside the top 100 in third-down conversions.
Ashford is a pure dual-threat talent who could torch the Hogs on the ground. The last quarterback with the same qualities to face Arkansas was Alabama backup Jalen Milroe, who averaged 15 yards a carry in relief of Bryce Young.
Auburn may elect to use Ashford and Bigsby much like Alabama used Milroe and Jahmyr Gibbs, but fumbles have been a consistent issue. No team in FBS has fumbled the ball more than Auburn.
The Razorbacks have struggled against explosive plays this season, as only Charlotte has allowed more 30-yard plays from scrimmage. Those numbers are more present in passing downs, as Arkansas ranks 125th in Defensive Success Rate and 123rd against the explosive play. Auburn has been outstanding when behind the chains, ranking 18th in passing downs explosiveness.
The Action Network projection makes this game Arkansas -4 with a total of 58.5. Both numbers are close to the market, but Auburn's offense in long down and distances will make the difference.
Considering Arkansas has produced close to no pressures or sacks the past two weeks, Auburn will score enough on explosives to keep up with the Hogs.