College Football Iron Bowl Betting Preview: #13 Auburn Tigers at #1 Alabama Crimson Tide

#13 Auburn Tigers at #1 Alabama Crimson Tide
Saturday, November 26, 2016, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Bryant-Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Opening Line: Alabama -18
Current Line: Alabama -18
Opening Total: 47 1/2
Current Total: 47
Opening Money Line: Alabama -900 / Auburn +600
Current Money Line: Alabama -850 / Auburn +575

Alabama and Auburn meet in the Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama and Auburn meet in the Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa.

The 11-0 Alabama Crimson Tide are far and away the best team in college football and have already clinched the SEC West title with a 7-0 record. Alabama will face Florida in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta next week. On paper, you might say Alabama has nothing to play for in their season finale. You would be wrong as the Crimson Tide host Iron Bowl rival Auburn on Saturday. The Tigers are 8-3 and in second place in the SEC West at 5-2.

Alabama leads the series 44-35-1. The Crimson Tide have won 6 of the last 8 games in the series, including 29-13 in Auburn last year. The rivalry dates back to 1893 and they have met annually since 1948.

Auburn is coached by Gus Malzahn. The Tigers have losses at home to Clemson 19-13 and Texas A&M 29-16, plus a road loss at Georgia 13-7. Auburn has home wins over Arkansas State 51-14, LSU 18-13, UL-Monroe 58-7, Arkansas 56-3, Vanderbilt 23-16 and Alabama A&M 55-0 last week, plus road wins at Mississippi State 38-14 and Ole Miss 40-29. After a 1-2 start, Auburn won 7 of their last 8 games. The Tigers were 54 point favorites against Alabama A&M and the total was 74.5. Auburn is 8-3 ATS and the total is 4-7 this season.

Alabama is coached by Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide have a neutral site win over USC 52-6 in Arlington, Texas, home wins over Western Kentucky 38-10, Kent State 48-0, Kentucky 34-6 and Texas A&M 33-14, Mississippi State 51-3 and Chattanooga 31-3 last week. Alabama also has  road wins at Ole Miss 48-43, Arkansas 49-30, Tennessee 49-10 and LSU 10-0.  Alabama was an 47.5 point favorite against Chattanooga and the total was 64. The Crimson Tide are 8-3 ATS and the total is 5-6 this season.

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Auburn is outscoring teams 34-14 this season. The Tigers are #6 in points allowed and #37 in scoring nationally. The Tigers average 474 yards per game on offense including 176 passing and 298 rushing yards per game. The Tigers are #5 in rushing nationally, but #109 in passing. The Tigers are #29 nationally in total offense.  On defense, Auburn allows 335 yards per game including 217 passing and 118 rushing yards. Auburn is #19 or better in total and rush defense. The Tigers are +3 in turnovers with 15 takeaways. Auburn averages 36 penalty yards per game and opponents average 47 per game. The Tigers are 76/172 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 66/185. Auburn has forced 25 sacks and allowed 18 this season. The Tigers are 44/51 scoring in the red zone with 29 touchdowns, and opponents are 22/33 with 11 touchdowns.

Quarterback Sean White has thrown for 1,644 yards with 9 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, and also has 52 carries for 148 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is questionable with a shoulder injury.  Jeremy Johnson and John Franklin III have also take snaps this season. Johnson has thrown for 185 yards with a touchdown and an interception, along with 2 rushing touchdowns. Franklin has 38 carries for 400 yards and 2 touchdowns, and has thrown a touchdown pass.

Running back Kamryn Pettway has 173 carries for 1,106 yards and 7 touchdowns, plus 2 catches. He is probable with a leg injury. Kerryon Johnson has 165 carries for 823 yards and 11 touchdowns, along with 16 catches for 120 yards.  Stanton Pruitt and Kam Martin will also get some carries. Malik Miller is out indefinitely with a knee injury.

Receiver Tony Stevens has 29 catches for 466 yards and 3 touchdowns. Darius Slayton has 14 catches for 236 yards and a touchdown. Kyle Davis has 11 catches for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ryan Davis has 25 catches for 194 yards and a touchdown. Marcus Davis has 17 catches for 160 yards. He is out for the season with a shoulder injury. Will Hastings has 9 catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. Ten defensive players are on the injury report for Auburn.

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Alabama is outscoring teams 40-11 this season. Alabama is #14 in scoring and #2 in points allowed nationally.  The Crimson Tide average 478 yards per game on offense including 225 passing and 253 rushing yards. Alabama is in the top 30 nationally in total and rushing offense.  Alabama is allowing 253 yards per game on defense including 184 passing and 69 rushing. The Crimson Tide are #2 in total offense, #13 against the pass, and #1 against the rush nationally. The Crimson Tide are +3 in turnovers with 20 takeaways. Alabama averages 43 penalty yards per game and opponents average 32 per game. The Crimson Tide is 79/166 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 55/193. Alabama has forced 40 sacks and allowed 19 this season. The Crimson Tide are 43/50 scoring in the red zone with 31 touchdowns, and opponents are 14/17 with six touchdowns. Alabama has 9 defensive touchdowns and 3 punt returns for touchdowns.

True freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts has thrown for 2,168 yards with 19 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, and has 142 carries  for 803 yards with 11 touchdowns. He is a Heisman contender. Blake Barnett took a few snaps and has thrown for 219 yards and 2 touchdowns. He left the program and transferred though. Cooper Bateman has taken a few snaps.

Running back Damien Harris has 114 carries for 853 yards and 2 touchdowns and also has 10 catches for 83 yards and a touchdown. Joshua Jacobs has 73 catches for 481 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 11 catches for  133 yards. Bo Scarbrough has 62 carries for 385 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is probable with a knee injury. B.J. Emmons has 35 carries for 173 yards and a touchdown. He is out indefinitely with a foot injury.

Receiver Calvin Ridley has 57 catches for 640 yards and 7 touchdowns plus a rushing touchdown. ArDarius Stewart has 39 catches for 683 yards and 7 touchdowns, plus 4 carries for 33 rushing yards. Gehrig Dieter has 12 catches for 186 yards and 3 touchdown. Tight end O.J. Howard has 30 catches for 359 yards and 2 touchdowns. Cam Sims will also get some catches. Three offensive linemen are listed on the injury report. Defensive back Eddie Jackson had three punt returns for touchdowns but is out for the season with a broken leg.

Auburn is 4-0 ATS against teams with winning home records, 7-1 after gaining 450 yards or more, 5-1 after allowing less than 20 points, 4-1 after a cover, in road games, after passing for 170 yards or less and after a straight up win by 20 points or more, 9-3 overall, 5-2 on grass, and after allowing less than 275 yards, 12-5 after scoring 40 points or more, 3-8 after allowing 170 passing yards, and 1-5 in November. The over is 4-1 overall in this series, but the under is 6-2 in Tuscaloosa recently.

Alabama is 6-0 ATS after failing to cover, 5-0 in Big Ten games and after passing for less than 170 passing yards, 4-0 after allowing less than 170 passing yards, 7-1 in November, 5-1 after a straight up win, against teams with winning records, and overall, 4-1 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, on grass, and after allowing less than 20 points, and 6-2 at home. Alabama has covered four of the last five games in this series and were favored in each of those contests.

In the last five games, Alabama has given up a total of 30 points. People are saying Auburn has a shot of pulling off the upset. I suppose anything could happen in a rivalry game, but the Tigers are so banged up I don’t see this game being close. I like the Tide to roll to 12-0 in a low scoring affair.

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