Iron Bowl Betting Preview: Auburn Tigers at #2 Alabama Crimson Tide

Auburn Tigers at #2 Alabama Crimson Tide
Saturday, November 24, 2012, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Bryant-Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Opening Line: Alabama -33
Current Line: Alabama -33 1/2
Opening Total: 46 1/2
Current Total: 46 1/2
Opening Money Line: Alabama -12300 / Auburn +6700
Current Money Line: Alabama -15000 / Auburn +8000

Alabama is a huge 33.5 point favorite at home against Iron Bowl rival Auburn. The Crimson Tide will clinch the SEC West Division title with a win.

Though you wouldn’t know it by that unbelievably huge 33 point line, the 77th edition of the Iron Bowl matches the last two national champions. The Auburn Tigers won the 2010 BCS Championship but this year have hit rock bottom with a 3-8 overall record, and an 0-7 record in the SEC. Coach Gene Chizik led the Tigers to that championship, but could be out of a job after this game. The Tigers have never  finished winless in the SEC, and it it will take a monumental effort against the 10-1 #2 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide to avoid that dubious achievement.

For defending champion Alabama, the stakes are much higher. The Crimson Tide will clinch a berth in next week’s SEC Championship game against #3 Georgia with a win over Auburn. If Alabama and Georgia both win this week (Georgia hosts Georgia Tech) then the SEC Championship will serve as a de facto semifinal game for the BCS Championship. An Alabama loss to Auburn would open the door for LSU and Texas A&M to win the SEC West and would knock the Tide out of contention for the national title.

Alabama leads the series 41-34-1, but Auburn is 7-1 in Tuscaloosa all time. (For many years, the game was held in neutral Birmingham at historic Legion Field.) The Crimson Tide won last year in Auburn 42-14.

We have talked about Auburn’s struggles (to put it mildly) this season. The Tigers beat Louisiana-Monroe at home 31-28 in overtime and also have wins at home over New Mexico St 42-7 and Alabama A&M 51-7 last week.  . Sadly, the only other highlights are narrow losses to ranked teams Clemson 26-19 in Atlanta, and 12-10 at home to LSU. The Tigers also have losses at Mississippi St 28-10, Ole Miss 41-20, and Vanderbilt 17-13, along with home losses to Arkansas 24-7, Texas A&M 63-21 and Georgia 38-0. Auburn was a 30.5 point favorite against Alabama A&M last week and there was no total. The Tigers are 4-7 ATS this season and the total is 4-6.

Auburn is averaging 317.9 yards per game on offense, including 164.4 passing yards and 153.5 rushing yards. The Tigers are being outscored 27-20. Auburn is 109th or worse (out of 124 teams) in total offense, passing and scoring nationally and 75th in rushing. Auburn is -10 in turnovers having given up 22 turnovers. The Tigers are 43/140 on third and fourth down conversions, and 23/28 scoring in the red zone with 14 touchdowns. Auburn has allowed 35 sacks through 11 games and averages 47.6 penalty yards per game. On defense, the Tigers are allowing 414.8 total yards, including 223.5 passing yards and 191.3 rushing yards. Auburn opponents are 67/174 on third and fourth down conversions, and 37/43 scoring in the red zone with 28 touchdowns. The Tigers have forced 22 sacks and 12 turnovers this season. Auburn has 3 defensive / special teams touchdowns.

Auburn quarterback Kiehl Frazier has completed 62/115  passes (53.9%) for 664 yards with 2 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, and has been sacked 18 times. He missed two games with an elbow injury and has only thrown 12 passes in the last 4 games. Clint Moseley started a few games but he is doubtful with an ankle injury. He is 38/60 passing for 373 yards with a touchdown and 3 interceptions. He has been sacked 11 times this season. Jonathan Wallace has started the last 3 games. He is 41/66 passing with 649 yards with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, along with 46 carries for 146 yards. Frazier is healthy and will be the back-up.

Running back Tre Mason has 150 carries, 920 yards, and 8 touchdowns, along with 7 catches for 86 yards. Ontario McCalebb has 91 carries, 573 yards, and 6 touchdowns, along with 17 catches for 121 yards. McCalebb has a kick return for a touchdown. Receiver Emory Blake has 47 catches, for 733 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen had 15 catches for 139 yards but is out for the season. Quan Bray has 14 catches for 94 yards. He also threw a touchdown pass to Frazier. No other Tiger has more than 9 catches. Sammie Coates has only 6 catches but two of them went for touchdowns. Auburn has 9 players listed on the injury report, and 4 of them are defensive players.

Alabama is 10-1 overall and 6-1 in the SEC under Coach Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide were seemingly out of the BCS Championship game after a 29-24 loss at at home to Texas A&M two weeks ago. However, losses by Kansas St and Oregon last week put the Tide back in control of their own destiny. The Crimson Tide have wins over Michigan 41-14 in Arlington, TX, home wins over Western Kentucky 35-0, Florida Atlantic 40-7, Ole Miss 33-14, Mississippi St 38-7 and last week against Western Carolina 49-0. Alabama has road wins at Arkansas 52-0, Missouri 42-10, at Tennessee 44-13 and last week against LSU. The Crimson Tide are 5-6 ATS and the total is 4-5-1 this season. Alabama was a 55 point favorite against Western Carolina  and there was no total.

Alabama is averaging 429.5 yards per game on offense including 219.1 passing yards and 210.4 rushing yards. The Crimson Tide are #26 in rushing nationally. Alabama is outscoring opponents 38-10 this season. Alabama has 3 shutouts in 11 games. Alabama has forced 24 turnovers with 12 of their own. The Crimson Tide has 28 sacks and has allowed 20 this season. Alabama is 63/137 on third and fourth down conversions and 44/47 scoring in the red zone with 35 touchdowns. Alabama is allowing 240.1 total yards per game on defense, including 164.5 passing yards and 75.6 rushing yards per game. Alabama is in the top 5 nationally in all defensive categories. Crimson Tide opponents are 57/176 on third and fourth down conversions, and 14/23 scoring in the red zone with 11 touchdowns. Alabama has 3 defensive/special teams touchdowns.

Quarterback A.J. McCarron has completed 163/244 passes (66.8%) for 2,291 yards with 21 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Both interceptions came in the loss to Texas A&M.  He has been sacked 19 times this season and has one rushing touchdown. Running back Eddie Lacy has 146 carries, 870 yards, and 12 touchdowns, along with 18 catches for 165 yards and a touchdown. He is probable with a hand injury. T.J. Yeldon has 121 carries, 809 yards and 9 touchdowns, along with 10 catches for 131 yards and a touchdown. He is probable with a foot injury. Kenyan Drake has  29 carries for 206 yards, but 5 of them went for touchdowns. Receiver Amari Cooper has 40 catches, 658 yards and 6 touchdowns. Kenny Bell has 16 catches, 416 yards and 3 touchdowns. Kevin Norwood has 21 catches, 330 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is probable with a leg injury. Christion Jones has 21 catches, 284 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also returns kicks and punts for the Tide and has a 99 yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Five Alabama players are out for the season, including 2 running backs and 2 wide receivers.

Auburn is 21-911 ATS after a straight up win of 20 points or more, 7-15 after allowing 100 rushing yards or less, 3-7 against teams with winning records, 3-7 against teams with winning records, 10-25 after allowing less than 20 points, 3-8 on grass, 1-4 in SEC games, 2-8 after rushing for 200 yards or more, and after allowing 275 yards or less, 1-5 after a straight up win and in road games, 0-4 after scoring 40 points or more, and in road games against teams with winning home records, and 0-7 after a cover. Auburn is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 games in Tuscaloosa in this series. The under is 4-1-1 in the last 6 in this series, and 6-0 in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama is 8-2 ATS after scoring more than 40 points, 13-5 after a straight up win of 20 points or more, 5-2 after allowing less than 170 passing yards, 11-5 in SEC games, 13-6 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, 3-9 on grass, 1-4 after gaining more than 450 yards,and less than 170 passing yards, and 1-7 in November. The favorite is 5-2 ATS in this series overall.

Ok, let’s get one thing straight. Auburn is not winning this game. However, they do have pride and I imagine Chizik will make sure his guys know that Auburn is a 33 point underdog. Alabama wins, but Auburn stays within the huge number.

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