SEC College Football Betting Picks: #9 Auburn Tigers at Tennessee Volunteers

#9 Auburn Tigers at Tennessee Volunteers
Neyland Stadium – Knoxville, Tennessee

Saturday, November 9, 2013, 12;00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Auburn -7
Current Line: Auburn -7 1/2
Opening Total: 55
Current Total: 55
Opening Money Line: Auburn -280 / Tennessee +230
Current Money Line: Auburn -290 / Tennessee +250

Auburn is a 7.5 point favorite at Tennessee Saturday. Auburn has won 5 straight games.
Auburn is a 7.5 point favorite at Tennessee Saturday. Auburn has won 5 straight games.

The 8-1 Auburn Tigers are 4-1 in the SEC and #9 in the BCS standings. Auburn travels to the 4-5 Tennessee Volunteers Saturday. The Volunteers are 1-4 in the SEC East and must go 2-1 in their last three games in order to become bowl eligible. Tennessee is facing their fifth straight opponent ranked #11 or higher at the time they played the Volunteers. Auburn leads the series against Tennessee 27-21-3, including 14-9-2 in Knoxville. The Tigers have won five straight games in the series, but they haven’t played since a 26-22 Auburn victory in Knoxville in 2009.

Auburn is coached by Gus Malzahn. One year after a disastrous 3-9 season, Malzahn left Arkansas State to replace the fired Gene Chizik. Malzahn was the offensive coordinator for the 2010 BCS Championship team for Auburn. The season the only loss for the Tigers came at LSU 35-21. Auburn has won 5 straight games since that loss. The Tigers have home wins over Washington State 31-24, Arkansas State 38-9, Mississippi State 24-20, Ole Miss 30-22, Western Carolina 62-3, and Florida Atlantic 45-10, along with road wins at Texas A&M 45-41 and last week at Arkansas 35-17. Auburn is 7-2 ATS and the total is 4-5 this season. The Tigers were 9.5 point favorites at Arkansas and the total was 54.5.

Auburn took a 7-0 first quarter lead against Arkansas last week. The Tigers would expand the lead to 14-3 by halftime. Auburn scored two touchdowns to open the third quarter and take a 28-3. The Razorbacks fought back to 28-17 in the fourth quarter. However, the Tigers scored with 10:17 left in the game to make it 35-17. Neither team scored again. Auburn had 366 total yards including 233 rushing yards. Arkansas had 346 total yards including 222 rushing yards. The Razorbacks had 3 turnovers in the game.

Auburn is outscoring teams 37-20 this season. The Tigers are #28 in scoring and #22 in points allowed nationally. Auburn is averaging 494.9 total yards including 188.7 passing and 306.2 rushing yards. The Tigers are #6 in rushing, #17 in total offense, and #101 in passing out of 125 FBS teams. On defense, Auburn is allowing 398.9 yards per game including 249.8 passing and 149.1 rushing yards. The Tigers are +2 in turnovers with 15 takeaways. Auburn is averaging 42 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 41. The Tigers are 57/126 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 57/157. Auburn has forced 21 sacks and allowed 9 this season. The Tigers are 33/37 scoring in the red zone with 27 touchdowns and opponents are 21/30 with 13 touchdowns. Auburn has a pick six and a kick return for a touchdown.

Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has completed 59.2% of his passes for 1,266 yards with 7 touchdowns and 4 touchdowns, along with 90 carries for 520 yards and 5 touchdowns. Back-up Jeremy Johnson has taken snaps in the last 4 games, including starting the blowout against Western Carolina. Johnson has completed 70% of his passes for 408 yards with 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, along with 47 rushing yards. Running back Tre Mason has 161 carries for 921 yards and 13 touchdowns, along with 9 catches for 107 yards. Mason also has a kick return for a touchdown. Cameron Artis-Payne has 74 carries for 515 yards and 5 touchdowns. Corey Grant has 46 carries, 456 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 2 catches. Receiver Sammie Coates has 24 catches, 638 yards and 5 touchdowns. Quan Bray has 16 catches, 172 yards and 3 touchdowns. Marcus Davis has 19 catches for 162 yards and a touchdown. Ricardo Louis has 19 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown. Three defensive players are out for the season.

Tennessee is coached by Butch Jones. The Volunteers have home wins over Austin Peay 45-0, Western Kentucky 52-20, South Alabama 31-24 and South Carolina 23-21. Tennessee has road losses at Oregon 59-14, Florida 31-17, Alabama 45-10, and last week at Missouri 31-3, along with a home loss to Georgia 34-31 in overtime. The Volunteers are 4-5 ATS and the total is 5-4 this season. Tennessee was an 11 point underdog at Missouri last week and the total was 55.

Missouri jumped out to a 17-0 lead against Tennessee and the Tigers would lead 24-3 at halftime. Missouri kicked a field goal midway through the third to make it 31-3. Neither team would score again. The Tigers had 502 total yards including 339 rushing yards. The Volunteers had 334 total yards including 240 passing yards. Tennessee had 9 penalties for 65 yards and 3 turnovers.


Tennessee is being outscored 29-25 this season. The Volunteers are #79 in points allowed and #89 in scoring. Tennessee is averaging 359.1 yards per game including 177.7 passing and 181.4 rushing yards. The Volunteers are #97 in total offense and #110 in passing nationally. On defense, Tennessee is allowing 429.3 total yards, including 227.7 passing and 201.7 rushing yards. The Volunteers are #87 in total defense and #102 against the rush. Tennessee is even in turnovers with 18 takeaways and giveaways. The Vols average 37 penalty yards per game and opponents average 55. Tennessee is 47/128 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 65/140. The Volunteers have forced 12 sacks and allowed 10 this season. Tennessee is 29/35 scoring in the red zone with 22 touchdowns and opponents are 28/38 with 21 touchdowns. The Volunteers have returned 3 interceptions and a punt for touchdowns and has allowed one pick six this season.

Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley injured his hand in the Alabama game and missed the Missouri game last week. He is out until late November. He has completed 55.6% of his passes for 1,239 yards with 10 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, along with 19 carries for 56 yards. Joshua Dobbs took over for Worley against Alabama and started against Missouri. He has completed 57.4% of his passes for 315 yards with 2 interceptions, along with 64 rushing yards. Another back-up Nathan Peterman is also dealing with a hand injury but is probable. He has thrown for 45 yards and 2 picks in limited action.

Running back Rajion Neal has 153 carries for 771 yards and 9 touchdowns, along with 19 catches for 80 yards. Marlin Lane has 69 carries for 397 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 6 catches.Receiver Marquez North has 32 catches 436 yards and a touchdown. Alton Howard has 36 catches, 344 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 73 rushing yards on 12 carries. Josh Smith Jason Croom, Johnathon Johnson, and Brendan Downs will all get some catches as well.  Three defensive players are questionable Saturday.

Auburn is 6-0 ATS overall, 5-0 after a straight up win, against teams with losing records, after a cover, after rushing for more than 200 yards, and on grass, 4-0 in SEC games, 4-1 against teams with losing home records, after allowing 200 rushing yards or more, and in road games, and 2-8 after allowing 20 points or less. The road team has covered the last 4 games in the series.

Tennessee is 4-1 ATS after a cover, 6-2 after scoring less than 20 points, 4-9 after allowing less than 170 passing yards,  2-5 after allowing more than 200 rushing yards, 5-13-1 against teams with winning records, 7-19-1 against teams with winning road records, and 1-5 in November. The underdog has covered the last 4 in this series.

Auburn has games left against rivals Georgia and Alabama after this game so they might overlook Tennessee. They shouldn’t because Tennessee is a dangerous team especially at home with over 100,000 orange clad fans singing Rocky Top. The offense has struggled since Worley went down for the Volunteers. I like Auburn to win on the road but Tennessee keeps it close.

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