Washington-Auburn Betting Guide: Can Tigers Get Past Huskies Secondary?

Washington-Auburn Betting Guide: Can Tigers Get Past Huskies Secondary? article feature image

Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jake Browning

Washington vs. Auburn Betting Odds

  • Spread: Auburn -2.5
  • Over/Under: 48.5
  • Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: ABC

Washington and Auburn meet on Saturday for the first time. And it could be a season-defining game for the Huskies.

Washington returns its quarterback and an elite defense from a strong 2017 team. With that comes College Football Playoff aspirations that could be buoyed by a win and sunk with a loss.

Auburn is a small favorite, although the line has fluctuated throughout the week between Tigers -3 and -1.5.

Market Moves

By Danny Donahue

The public is close to split on this game, with 53% of bettors behind Auburn. There do seem to be a few more sharps mixed into Washington’s 47%, however, as the Huskies’ tickets have accounted for 53% of actual dollars wagered.

The line has jumped between Auburn -3 and -1.5, and now sits at -2.5.

>> All odds as of 7 a.m. ET on Friday. Download The Action Network App or go to our CFB live odds page to get real-time odds and track your bets.

Injuries to Know

By Stuckey

UPDATE: Washington left tackle Trey Adams did not make the trip to Atlanta because of a pick injury. He’s a projected first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Jamel Dean’s injury could be big. Auburn’s starting corner is officially listed as day-to-day with a finger injury, but rumors are he’s been in a cast (which could just be precautionary).

Dean did practice yesterday and will play on Saturday according to Malzahn, but it’s something to monitor for one of Auburn’s best defenders.

Aerial Mismatch

By Stuckey

Auburn should feature an explosive passing attack once again in 2018, but I think it may struggle against a Washington secondary that might be the best in the nation.

Don’t forget that Auburn lost two receivers in spring practice to ACL injuries in Eli Stove (projected starting slot) and Will Hastings (who would have certainly been in the rotation).

Stove’s loss hurts more, but the depth certainly takes a hit until one or both can return at some point during the season — but neither will return against a vicious Washington secondary that could have seven or eight future pros.

The stars of the show will be one of the best shutdown corner tandems in all of college football in Byron Murphy (second-team AP All-American) and Jordan Miller. Oh and did I mention first team AP All-American safety Taylor Rapp? If I didn’t, spotlight him on Saturday. He’s a star.

And the run defense should be stout again. Remember that this is a defense that returns nine starters from a unit that gave up the second-fewest yards per rush (2.9, trailing only Alabama) last year.

Trends to Know

By Evan Abrams

Under Gus Malzahn, Auburn is 25-16-1 ATS (+7.5 units) against SEC opponents. Since Malzahn was hired in 2013, he is the most profitable SEC coach against conference foes.

But, against nonconference opponents, it’s a different story.

Auburn is 10-15 ATS (-5.5 units) vs. nonconference opponents under Malzahn, failing to cover its last six games in that spot by a whopping 11.8 points per game.

By John Ewing

Betting against Chris Petersen-led teams when they have extra time to prepare has been a bad idea.

Since 2006, his teams are 21-10 ATS with more than 10 days between games (including opening games, when they have all summer).

Don’t Sleep on Special Teams

By Stuckey

Auburn (which decided to roll once again without a designated special teams coordinator in 2018) struggled all season on special teams last year. Now, the Tigers will have a new kicker, long snapper, holder and an ongoing competition at punter. The coverage units especially struggled, as they ranked 71st in Net Field Position.

Washington finished fifth. While Auburn would have had an advantage in the field-goal kicking game last season, both teams will be trotting out brand new kickers this year (even if the name of the jersey still says Carlson for Auburn).

Until I see an improvement from Malzahn’s bunch, I give the nod to Washington overall in special teams — which could make all the difference in what should be a tight game.

Bet to Watch

By Ken Barkley

I think it’s fair to ask how either team is going to score any points. Washington is operating without last year’s top receiver (Dante Pettis, now a 49er) and second-leading receiver (Hunter Bryant, out indefinitely), and possibly without its left tackle at full strength. Myles Gaskin is going to be taking on one of the top defensive fronts in the country.

Meanwhile for Auburn, their primary advantage in returning production is QB Jarrett Stidham and a handful of receivers, which plays right into Washington’s greatest strength — elite, experienced defenders in the secondary.

What gives?

Another factor to consider is the pace at which the game will be played. Auburn is perceived as a no-huddle, fast-paced machine, but in “time between snaps” last year, the Tigers were a measly 86th in the country. Washington was 110th, although it will be breaking in a new offensive coordinator in Bush Hamdan, who doesn’t have a lot of experience.

None of this is particularly surprising to the market, as the total has dropped from an opener of 54 all the way to 49, and in some places, 48.5.

I won’t be playing this game as of now, but even at those numbers, I would still lean to the under. I think the flow and style of this game will more closely mirror Alabama’s 24-7 win over Washington in the College Football Playoff than anyone the Huskies have played recently, such as the Fiesta Bowl against Penn State last year (a 35-28 Nittany Lions win).

Editor’s note: The opinion on this game is from the individual writers and is based on their research, analysis and perspective. It is independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.