Texas A&M vs. Auburn College Football Odds & Picks: Which Is the Right Side to Bet? (Nov. 6)
Bob Levey/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Field.
- Texas A&M takes on Auburn in an SEC college football showdown this afternoon.
- The Aggies enter as five-point favorites, but is that enough against the Bo Nix-led Tigers.
- Two of our bettors, Tanner McGrath and Mike Ianniello, debate both sides of the spread below.
Texas A&M vs. Auburn Odds
|Texas A&M Odds|
-105o / -115u
-105o / -115u
Bo Nix SZN is in full effect.
In his third season, Nix is completing more passes than ever (62.2%) for more yards per attempt than ever (7.3) and a better touchdown-to-interception ratio than ever (9:2). As a result, the whole offense has started to take flight.
The Tigers are scoring almost 35 points per game, and their rushing game has complemented Nix to the tune of 5.6 yards per carry with the 19th-best Rush Success Rate. Plus, the offensive line has been overwhelming this season, ranking 21st in Line Yards and sixth in preventing Havoc.
But when it hits the fan, nobody is better than Nix at creating something from nothing.
Bo Nix holy crap pic.twitter.com/CQgLdgy4gb
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 3, 2021
Auburn moves the ball on the ground, ranks 12th in creating big plays, and has the most exciting quarterback in college football playing the best football of his career.
Good luck with that, Aggies.
After finishing 2020 ranked No. 4 in the country and beginning 2021 ranked at No. 7, expectations were very high for the Aggies.
Starting quarterback Haynes King won the job out of camp but got hurt in just the second game. Zach Calzada took over the job and struggled in the team’s first two SEC games, falling to Arkansas and Mississippi State.
The Aggies bounced back with the biggest win in the Jimbo Fisher era, taking down then-No. 1 Alabama. Calzada needs to avoid turnovers, but he has thrown seven touchdowns in the last three games.
More importantly, they have really gotten their running game going, averaging 286.5 rushing yards over the last two games. They have a pair of stud backs in Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane, and both are averaging over 75 yards per game and more than 6.0 yards per carry. They’ve each posted back-to-back 100-yard games as well.
Defense is still the calling card for the Aggies. They rank 16th in the country against the pass, and 19th in coverage grade, led by star cornerback Leon O’Neal Jr.
Texas A&M has great balance with its skill on the back end, and skill up front. The Aggies possess great beef up front with DeMarvin Leal, Michael Clemons and Jayden Peevy.
The two best defenses that Auburn has played to this point are Georgia and Penn State. Those were Auburn’s two losses, and it averaged just 15 points, 343.5 total yards and 4.5 yards per play against those two defenses.
McGrath: Defense is the calling card of the Aggies. But they’re a fair-weather defense, and TAMU doesn’t have the proper attire for Bo Nix SZN.
Meanwhile, Texas A&M doesn’t have the offense to move the ball on the War Eagle defense. Auburn’s ranks inside the top 30 in Rush Success Rate, Pass Rush, Line Yards, PFF’s coverage grades, and PFF’s tackling grades.
The Aggie ground game is pretty good, but they’ll have to face this Auburn front — one that’s allowed just 3.3 yards per carry. If TAMU doesn’t get a push up front, Jimbo will have to ride the arm of Calzada.
Calzada was spectacular in the Alabama game, but he’ll be forced to have a repeat performance to keep up with Nix and the Auburn attack. Outside of that game, he’s completed 60% of his passes once (Mississippi State) and thrown for more than 200 yards once (New Mexico).
I don’t believe Calzada can recreate the Alabama magic, and I’d feel much more comfortable backing the better quarterback.
Ianniello: Seasons come and go. And just like Daylight Savings ending this weekend, so does Bo Nix SZN.
I think Tanner is forgetting that this game will be played in College Station. No player in the country is more Jekyll & Hyde than Nix on the road.
- HOME: 21 Touchdowns, 2 Interceptions. 63.1% completion rate. 7.7 yards per attempt.
- AWAY: 12 Touchdowns, 11 Interceptions. 56.2% completion rate. 5.9 yards per attempt.
That patented Nix chuck-up-a-duck-and pray play might have worked against the dumpster fire that is currently LSU, but it will not work against the Aggies defense and their elite secondary that’s one of the best coverage units in the country.
Calzada has been inconsistent, but we saw what he is capable of against Alabama.
The Auburn defense ranks just 100th in the nation in Passing Success on defense. The Tigers also allowed over 300 yards to signal-callers like Sean Clifford and Max Johnson.
This is not the dominant Auburn defense we saw under Gus Malzahn. A&M is trending in the right direction and has improved its offensive output in each of the last five games.
The Aggies shouldn’t have much of a problem against this Auburn defense.
McGrath: In his last road game, Nix traveled to Arkansas and dropped 292 yards on 21-of-26 passing and two touchdowns. That’s good for an 80% completion and 11.2 yards per attempt. I think he’ll be fine.
You say this isn’t the dominant Auburn defense we saw under Malzahn, but the Tigers are third in the SEC in scoring defense (19.8 points per game), right behind the Aggies. The Tigers have also fared better against the run than the Aggies have, with Auburn allowing 127 rush yards per game to the Aggies’ 129.
But that comes around to my larger point: The Auburn defense can stand toe-to-toe with the Aggies defense, but the Aggie offense can’t stand toe-to-toe with the Auburn offense.
You can look up-and-down the advanced stats, and Calzada and Co. don’t have the firepower to outlast Nix and a top-20 rushing attack.
Ianniello: The only reason Nix was able to have that much success against Arkansas was because it managed to pressure him just three times all game.
On average this season, Nix has been under pressure on 26.9% of his dropbacks and is completing just 39% of those passes.
Texas A&M averages 16 quarterback pressures per game and is third in the SEC in sacks. Defensive coordinator Mike Elko loves to blitz on third downs and said his secondary has been studying the zones Nix looks to throw to when he tries the schoolyard BS.
It isn’t Calzada who will need to be the one keeping up with the Auburn offense. It will be Spiller and Achane, who both rank in the top 25 in yards after contact among all running backs with at least 80 carries.
Auburn ranks 87th against rush explosiveness and has allowed an average of 196.3 yards and 4.1 yards per carry, along with five rushing touchdowns over its last three games.
McGrath: Bet Auburn +4.5
Texas A&M ranks outside the top 80 of FBS teams in:
- Line Yards
- Pass Success Rate
- Pass Blocking
- Finishing Drives
Do you really want to lay five points with this offense? Especially when Nix has shown he’s capable of anything on any given Saturday?
I’m ready, willing, and excited to take the points on Saturday. War damn Eagle.
Ianniello: Bet Texas A&M -4.5
The Aggies are coming off a bye and are well-rested with an extra week to prepare.
This defense is still elite and is fourth in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 16.1 points per game. It ranks 13th in yards per play. Auburn will not be able to create big plays, and A&M will.
Do you really want to back Nix on the road? Texas A&M is the better team and at home. Gig ‘em!
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