San Jose State vs. Auburn Odds & Picks: Why to Bet the Tigers (Sept. 10)

San Jose State vs. Auburn Odds & Picks: Why to Bet the Tigers (Sept. 10) article feature image

Pictured: TJ Finley. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

  • San Jose State travels to SEC Country to take on the Auburn Tigers in Week 2 college football action.
  • The Tigers enter as big favorites over their Mountain West foe.
  • Dan Keegan sees betting value on Auburn and explains why below.

San Jose State vs. Auburn Odds

Saturday, Sept. 10
7:30 p.m. ET
San Jose State Odds
-112o / -108u
Auburn Odds
-112o / -108u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Mountain West against Power Five games have not gone well for the smaller schools so far in 2022. San Jose State travels east in hopes of getting one on the board for the Mountain West. 

Both teams faced FCS squads in Week 1, with Auburn demolishing Mercer and San Jose State barely escaping against Portland State. 

The line, of course, is large and is currently sitting at Auburn -22.5, reflecting the talent disparity between these programs.

But do the Tigers have what it takes to cover that spread?

San Jose State Spartans

Unfortunately for the Spartans, the Cinderella Mountain West championship of 2020 is fading fast in the rear view mirror. San Jose State took a step back last season, as quarterback Nick Starkel and MWC 2020 DPOY Cade Hall both battled injuries and ineffectiveness. 

The defense is still respectable, as Hall and seven other starters returned for the 2022 campaign. This unit finished a comfortable 56th in SP+ last season and should be competitive in games against conference peers. 

The big worry for the Spartans — and the key to betting this game — is understanding just how far the offense has fallen.

Fifth-year senior Chevan Cordeiro takes the reins at quarterback after transferring from Hawaii. 

His key weapon is fellow transfer receiver Elijah Cooks, who joined San Jose State this offseason and had an impressive debut, snagging six balls for 123 yards and a score.

He and Cordeiro have instant chemistry.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure Cordeiro will have the time necessary to link up with Cooks on Saturday. The Spartans' offensive line is replacing three starters and struggled in the opener.

Against Portland State — a team Bill Connelly has rated 43rd in FCS — the Spartans' offense was dominated at the line of scrimmage. San Jose State called 22 run plays and nine of them were stopped for two yards or fewer.

Portland State — once again, FCS Portland State — generated 11 tackles for loss and sacked Cordeiro seven times.

What do we know about Auburn? The Tigers have a monstrous front seven. Derick Hall, Colby Wooden and Owen Pappoe are stars. The Tigers may have some question marks at other positions, but the defensive front seven is strong. 

I believe San Jose State fans should be looking forward to getting into conference play and seeing how the Spartans perform against their peers.

However, getting whipped up front by Portland State is a bad sign for how a team can handle the kind of semi-pro defensive fronts that abound in the SEC.

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Auburn Tigers

Auburn started the 2022 season with a dismantling of FCS Mercer in Jordan-Hare Stadium, winning 42-16 in a game that was only that close because of four Auburn turnovers.

The Tigers did what a Power Five team is supposed to do against an FCS squad, almost doubling the yardage total and controlling both sides of the line of scrimmage.

Auburn’s offense is hardly perfect. It ranked 56th in last season’s SP+, but the wide receiver room is one of the weakest in the league.

Junior Ja’Varrius Johnson is a big play threat and he hauled in four catches for 117 yards on Saturday. Finding reliable targets will be key for the passing game to get going in league play.

Auburn played a two-quarterback rotation in the opener, and head coach Bryan Harsin has intimated that will be the case again.

T.J. Finley started and threw one touchdown and two interceptions. That is the story of his career, as he has 13 career Big-Time Throws and 13 career Turnover Worthy Plays, according to PFF charting. 

Robby Ashford also saw action, and Zach Calzada appears to be persona non grata on the depth chart.

Ashford, like Finley, was up and down. He fumbled twice and completed four of seven passes for 100 yards. Most importantly, he was a critical threat on designed runs, tallying 66 yards — including an explosive 49-yard scamper — on five plays.

This is another matchup that swings wildly in Auburn’s favor against San Jose State. Portland State was able to stay in the game because of quarterback Dante Chachere’s 14 carries for 83 yards. While his longest tote was only 14 yards, he picked up five first downs with his legs. 

The designed quarterback runs will be a crucial wrinkle for the Auburn offense and will pair well with star running back Tank Bigsby and his explosive understudy, Jarquez Hunter.

San Jose State vs. Auburn Betting Pick

San Jose State showed two weaknesses in the first game — stopping mobile quarterbacks and offensive line play.

Auburn is not an unstoppable SEC juggernaut and has some weaknesses on offense that could haunt it in league play.

But the Spartans play perfectly into the Tigers’ hands. 

I’ll take Auburn to cover -22, and would play it up to -23.5.

Pick: Auburn -22

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