LSU at Auburn Betting Odds & Pick: War Eagle Offers Betting Value in Saturday’s SEC Battle
Timothy Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Anthony Schwartz.
- The defending national champion LSU Tigers travel to Alabama on Saturday to take on the Auburn Tigers in an SEC showdown.
- While neither team has looked like its usual self this season, BJ Cunningham has pinpointed where the betting value sits.
- Check out Cunningham's full betting analysis with updated odds below.
LSU at Auburn Odds
|LSU Odds||+1 [BET NOW]|
|Auburn Odds||-1 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-106/-115 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||63.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET|
After getting their season back on track in Oxford last weekend, the Auburn Tigers will try to get to 4-2 on the season. The Tiger offense has been a shell of what it looked like in 2019 and will have to refocus to avoid another upset on Saturday.
After last year’s magical national title run, LSU has fallen on hard times, starting the season 2-2 after plenty of changes in the offseason. It did show a lot of improvement last Saturday night against South Carolina, even with a backup quarterback.
Auburn held Joe Burrow and the Tiger offense to its lowest point total last season, and LSU barely held on for a 23-20 win at home. Auburn will be looking for some revenge, as the Bayou Bengals have won three straight in this battle of Tigers.
At the time of writing, it looks like starting quarterback Myles Brennan is out for a second straight game on Saturday.
Ed Orgeron says Myles Brennan hasn't practiced this week and says he doesn't believe he's going to play, "but things could change."
Looks like another start for TJ Finley. #LSU
— Brody Miller (@BrodyAMiller) October 28, 2020
That means freshman quarterback TJ Finley will be getting his second start of the season. He was incredibly efficient against South Carolina last weekend, completing 81% of his passes and throwing for 12.6 yards per attempt.
Along with replacing Burrow, LSU also had to replace its top-three skill position players from a year ago. Tyrion Davis-Price has taken over for Clyde Edwards-Helaire and had struggled running the ball up until the South Carolina game when he broke out for 135 yards.
However, the biggest problem LSU faced coming into this season was its offensive line. The unit returned only one starter from last year’s national championship run and struggled to protect the quarterback, allowing nine sacks this season.
The key for LSU in this game is whether or not it can throw the ball on Auburn’s secondary with a backup quarterback. Finley looked great against South Carolina, but there’s tape on him now. If LSU can’t, it may have a tough time running the ball on Auburn’s front seven.
One of the casualties of LSU’s national championship run was losing defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, who is now the head coach at Baylor. Bo Pelini was brought in and immediately switched the defense from a 3-4 to a 4-3 formation. So far, it’s been a major disaster as the Tigers are allowing a whopping 6.8 yards per play. Even though they blew out South Carolina last weekend, they still allowed the Gamecocks to gain 7.9 yards per play.
LSU has been pretty average up front, ranking 74th in Defensive Line Yards and allowing 4.2 yards per carry. It did bring back a ton of talent at the defensive tackle positions but doesn’t have much at either defensive end position. The Tigers were hardest hit in the offseason at the linebacker position, as two of their top three tacklers are gone.
The biggest issue for LSU, though, has been in its secondary. Through the first four games, it’s allowing an inexcusable 9.7 yards per attempt — especially since the team has had a very easy schedule up to this point. With Bo Nix showing improvement from the Ole Miss game, the Tigers secondary could be in trouble against Auburn’s elite wide receivers.
Nix has clearly regressed in his sophomore season; he’s averaging only 6.1 yards per attempt. However, he was more efficient against Ole Miss, throwing for 7.9 yards per attempt on 30 throws. The biggest problem for Nix is the lack of a stable offensive line to block for him. All five starters are gone from last season, and so far in 2020, the Tigers have allowed 11 sacks in their first five games.
If Nix actually receives time to throw, he has possibly the best wide receiver combination in the SEC with Seth Williams and Anthony Schwartz. So far, though, those two wideouts haven’t seen anything near their 2019 production.
Auburn has run the ball with solid success this season, averaging 4.6 yards per carry. It ran all over Ole Miss last weekend for 224 yards and four touchdowns. Last year’s leading rusher, JaTarvious Whitlow, transferred in the offseason, which meant Tank Bigsby was thrust into the starting role. He’s produced great numbers so far, averaging 5.8 yards per carry. The Tigers should be able to establish the run against LSU, which ranks 77th in Defensive Rushing Success.
The defensive side of the ball is in a period of transition right now. Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson were two of the best defensive linemen in the SEC last season but have moved on to the NFL. Auburn boasts the talent to replace them, and it’s been pretty stout against the run, allowing only 4.1 yards per carry. However, Ole Miss gashed the Tiger defense, running for 283 yards and 5.5 yards per carry. They’ll need to improve on Saturday because LSU brings 13th ranked offense in terms of rushing success to town.
The biggest issues for the Tigers this season have come in their secondary. All four starters from last season departed, and they’ve struggled mightily against the pass. Auburn allows 7.4 yards per pass attempt and ranks 82nd Defensive Passing Success. However, it improved against Ole Miss last weekend, allowing only 5.8 yards per pass attempt. Now, Auburn will face a backup quarterback on Saturday.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Even though Nix has taken a step back in his sophomore season, he should be able to throw all over LSU’s secondary. Additionally, LSU is utilizing a backup quarterback on the road, which usually serves as a recipe for disaster.
I have Auburn projected at -1.55, so I think there’s some value on Nix and the Tigers to move to 5-2 at home on Saturday.
Pick: Auburn +114 (down +105)