Auburn vs. Oregon Betting Guide & Odds: Will Tigers’ Offense Make the Difference?
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Justin Herbert
- Auburn and Oregon will meet at AT&T Stadium on Saturday in the marquee non-conference game in college football Week 1.
- The Tigers are a 4-point favorite, but will be starting a true freshman quarterback.
Auburn vs. Oregon Betting Odds, Pick
- Odds: Auburn -4
- Over/Under: 55.5
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ABC
All odds above are as of 6:40 p.m. ET on Friday and via PointsBet.
The Pac-12’s reputation and Oregon’s distant national title hopes are on the line Saturday when the Ducks head to Jerry World to take on Auburn.
The Tigers bring back one of the best defensive lines in the country but will star a true freshman at quarterback. The Ducks will rely on a strong offensive line to protect Justin Herbert, a smooth thrower expected to be a first-round pick in the NFL Draft.
Will the SEC continue to dominate against the spread in non-conference games, or can Herbert take over this game and get Oregon a win?
Strength on Strength in Oregon vs. Auburn
The matchup of the weekend: Oregon’s offensive line, which brings back more experience than any other team in the country, against Auburn’s defensive front, which may be the best in college football.
It’s truly a battle of two of the best units in the nation. Whichever unit wins more battles in the trenches will go a long way in determining the outcome.
Now, when Justin Herbert does get time to throw, can his receivers hold on to the ball? It was a glaring weakness last year and really held back the offense. The Ducks brought in graduate transfer senior Juwan Johnson from Penn State, who’s big and athletic but has also had drop issues.
Oregon’s receiver group is also banged up but the talent is still there with the two Johnsons on the outside to get open against an Auburn secondary that lost its best corner to the NFL. — Stuckey
Stuckey: Bet the Number
With Gus Malzahn back calling plays, you can expect Auburn to spread it out and go quick without a huddle. And Oregon played at one of the fastest paces in the country last season. That will ultimately keep me off of the under, my initial lean.
In regards to the side, the number matters (play numbers, not teams as the old adage goes). At -4, I have to give a long look to Oregon in a game I make closer to a coin flip. I am concerned about Auburn’s advantages on special teams and coaching but the QB experience discrepancy is a huge edge for the Ducks.
I think receivers will play a huge role for both teams. Can Oregon’s receivers make plays (and avoid drops) and will the timing be off between true freshman quarterback Bo Nix and his receivers?
But then again, it could just come down to better field position and more reliable field goal kicking for Auburn. — Stuckey
Miller: Why I Like the Under
I can’t wait to watch those two lines battle it out when Oregon has the ball, but my eyes will be on the quarterback when Auburn has it. True freshman and Auburn legacy Bo Nix starts under center for the Tigers. He owns every meaningful high school passing record in Alabama and now must face a solid Oregon defense on national TV in his first career start.
Auburn’s offense is worrisome for me in this one because of the offensive line. Now, Gus Mahlzan has raved about the big guys up front so far in camp, but they have a lot to replace from last year. Oregon’s defensive line has a ton of playmakers, including true freshman and number one overall recruit Kayvon Thibodeaux.
I made a bet on Auburn early in the summer at -2.5 and I still like that side at around -3 or better. But I’m looking at another angle as well.
Oddsmakers expect an Auburn win as evidenced by the current line, but if that’s going to happen, I don’t see a way this game is high scoring. I love the under because both defensive lines should get pressure and dominate the line of scrimmage.
Herbert is the more talented QB, but he has a much tougher defense across from him than Nix. Add in some first game jitters for Nix, and I think we’ll see a low scoring contest. — Kyle Miller
Pick: Under 56 or better
Special Teams Edge to Auburn
You have to give the special teams edge to Auburn as a result of its edge at kicker. Kicker Anders Carlson has a huge leg while Aussie Arryn Siposs helped the Tigers finish in the top 5 nationally in kickoff and punt efficiency.
Meanwhile, Oregon has three kickers listed on its depth chart. The Ducks will likely start with kicker Adam Stack and punter Blake Maimone but both struggled last year. Oregon finished third-worst in all of FBS in FG efficiency and outside of the top 100 in punt efficiency. Not ideal.
The strength of Oregon’s special teams last year was in the return game, ranking in the top 25 nationally in both punt and kick return efficiency. However, they lost both dynamic returners in Amadi and Brooks-James.
Outside of finding a new punt returner, Auburn has all of its important special teams pieces back from a unit that was pretty solid last season, while Oregon has many more question marks in this area.
In a game that projects to be competitive, special teams can make all of the difference and you have to favor Auburn on paper. — Stuckey
Coaching Edge to Auburn
I’m not a fan of Mario Cristobal, and while Avalos should be an upgrade on defense like Collin mentions below, I don’t like Marcus Arroyo calling the plays for the Ducks. Per CFB Professor, he ranks 108th or 113 playcallers nationally, and has consistently done little with lots of talent in Eugene.
Gus Malzahn on the other hand will bring big improvements as he takes over the Auburn offense again. He ranks top 10 in that same playcalling metric.
Auburn has the coaching edge and a slight talent edge, so I’d lean toward the Tigers at -3 or better if I can get it on Saturday considering there’s no obvious mismatches. But I’m not counting on that -3 showing up again. — Steve Petrella
Wilson: What I’m Looking For
This game will be make or break when Auburn lines up on offense — not the other way, which is strength on strength.
Questions will be answered around the Oregon defense, led by new defensive coordinator Andy Avalos. The former Boise State defensive coordinator runs a 3-4 scheme, but has plenty of variance.
Avalos is know to float players around to 2-4-5’s and 1-5-5’s and 1-4-6’s. The complexity around the play calling on defense may expose a gap for the Auburn offense to exploit.
Injuries may play a factor, as Herbert loses multiple targets to start the season. Dillion Mitchell cycles out of Oregon, leaving 132 targets and 10 touchdowns behind from 2018.
Special teams could also play a factor that favors Auburn. The Tigers finished top 5 in punt and kickoff efficiency while Oregon had a special teams S&P+ rank of 111th overall. — Collin Wilson
Pick: Auburn, but -4 is a stay-away
In matchups of Top 25 teams, the SEC is 30-16 ATS in non-conference games since 2005 including 5-1 ATS vs. the Pac-12, covering the spread by 10.8 points per game. — John Ewing
Since 2005, when ranked teams have played in the regular season, the favorite has gone 345-279-13 (55%) ATS. When the game is played on a neutral field the chalk is 43-31-3 (58%) ATS. — John Ewing
The Pac-12 has faced the SEC 12 times since 2011. The Pac-12 is 3-9 against the spread in those games, failing to cover the spread by 4.5 points per game. — Evan Abrams