College Football Odds, Picks for UMass vs. Auburn

College Football Odds, Picks for UMass vs. Auburn article feature image

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Auburn running back Jarquez Hunter.

UMass vs Auburn Odds

Saturday, Sept. 2
3:30 p.m. ET
UMass Odds
-110o / -110u
Auburn Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

It felt like an inevitability, but Hugh Freeze is finally making his return to the SEC.

After four fairly successful seasons at Liberty, the former Ole Miss coach now must turn around an Auburn program that finished in the bottom four of the SEC in both offensive and defensive scoring and failed to make a bowl game for the first time since 2012.

UMass visits the Plains after a very rare bright spot for the program, winning its Week 0 game against New Mexico State as touchdown underdogs on the road.

Don Brown’s Minutemen finally have a glimmer of hope on the offensive side of the ball, but facing an SEC opponent is a completely different type of animal.

Let's dive in and see if we can extract any value out of this one, with everything you need to know about UMass vs. Auburn odds and picks in this NCAAF betting preview for Saturday, Sept. 2.

Check out our NCAAF Betting Hub for more college football previews, predictions, news and analysis.

Massachusetts Minutemen

By God, the Minutemen did it. They finally broke a 15-game FBS losing streak and a 24-game road losing streak that dated back to 2018 with their 41-30 Week 0 win over New Mexico State.

UMass has a dual-threat playmaker at quarterback in Taisun Phommachanh, who joins the Minutemen after stops at Clemson and Georgia Tech. The former three-star recruit completed 10-of-17 passes for 192 yards and rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries against the Aggies.

After finishing last year as the lowest-scoring offense in the FBS at 12.5 points per game, Brown’s Minutemen may have something going on offense.

UMass’ busy offseason in the transfer portal is already paying off, with four transfer receivers catching at least one pass in Week 0. The offensive line that was vastly inexperienced in 2022 is now full of experience.

Defense was supposed to be the more sure thing for UMass, but New Mexico State’s run-first offense did well in Week 0. Quarterback Diego Pavia’s 248 passing yards were the second most of his 13-game career, and the Aggies ran for 210 yards on 38 carries.

Auburn Tigers

There may be a new coach and starting quarterback on the Plains, but Auburn brings back a talented offense that should be ready to go from the get-go, leading the SEC in offensive TARP.

Freeze and the Tigers get an upgrade at the quarterback position in Payton Thorne, who made 26 career starts at Michigan State. Thorne is a statue and better passer compared to Robby Ashford and should make for a better fit in Philip Montgomery’s offense. Montgomery was the co-architect of Art Briles' Baylor offense and will return the Tigers to a more uptempo system than they had under Bryan Harsin.

The biggest requisite for this offense to succeed will be cutting down on turnovers. Last year, Auburn ranked 122nd in turnover margin, so that should hopefully improve with the new offense and veteran quarterback, although Thorne has double-digit interceptions in each of the last two seasons.

Thorne likely won't be needed much in this game, so expect a heavy dose of ground and pound. Jarquez Hunter, whose 6.5 yards per carry ranked third in the SEC last season among backs with over 100 carries, was suspended over the offseason, and his status is uncertain, but Damari Alston is a more than capable back against the UMass run defense.

The Auburn defense fell off a cliff last season, allowing the third-most points in program history. Freeze brought in Ron Roberts as defensive coordinator after he spent the last three years running Baylor’s defense. He should make the Tigers a Havoc-generating unit.

The front seven has been completely retooled in the transfer portal, including the addition of impact nose guard Justin Rogers from Kentucky.

There have been some concerns during camp this offseason about how bad the Auburn running backs have made the front seven look, but it could just be that the Tigers have a very talented running back room.

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UMass vs Auburn

Betting Pick & Prediction

The changing of coaching personnel at Auburn has flown under the radar relative to the impact it should have. Hiring Montgomery as OC and letting him call plays over Freeze may be one of the smartest coaching decisions of the year.

It was awesome to see the Minutemen finally pick up an FBS win on the road, but their defense left a lot to be desired.

The Tigers offense, although still ultimately learning a new system, should have a field day — particularly running the ball with whatever backs suit up and Robby Ashford in mop-up time. Throw in the added tempo, and I think the Tigers should flirt with a 50-burger.

Pick: Auburn TT Over 43.5 (Play to 44.5)

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