SEC College Football Betting Picks: Auburn Tigers at Arkansas Razorbacks

Auburn Tigers at Arkansas Razorbacks
Saturday, October 24, 2015, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: SEC Network
Razorback Stadium – Fayetteville, Arkansas
Opening Line: Arkansas -5 1/2
Current Line: Arkansas -6 1/2 (-115)
Opening Total: 48
Current Total: 51
Opening Money Line: Arkansas -240 / Auburn +200
Current Money Line: Arkansas -265 / Auburn +225

The 2-4 Arkansas Razorbacks host the 4-2 Auburn Tigers in a battle of teams desperate for a conference win.
The 2-4 Arkansas Razorbacks host the 4-2 Auburn Tigers in a battle of teams desperate for a conference win.

At the beginning of the season, the Auburn Tigers and Arkansas Razorbacks were trendy picks to win the loaded SEC West Division. However, as the 4-2 Tigers and 2-4 Razorbacks meet Saturday in Fayetteville, both find themselves at 1-2 in SEC play and tied for last in the division with Mississippi State. Both Arkansas and Auburn will have scramble just to become bowl eligible, but obviously four win Auburn is much better shape.

Auburn leads the series 13-10-1 against Arkansas including 6-4 in Fayetteville. The Tigers have won 2 straight games against the Razorbacks including 45-21 last year in Auburn.

Auburn is coached by Gus Malzahn. The Tigers have a win over Louisville 31-24 in Atlanta, along with  home wins over Jacksonville State 27-20 in overtime San Jose State 35-21. Last week, Auburn taveled to Kentucky for a Thursday night game and escaped with a 30-27 win. Auburn has a road loss at LSU 45-21 and at home against Mississippi State 17-9.

Auburn was a two point favorite against Kentucky and the total was 57. Auburn took a 14-7 lead in the first quarter, and expanded the lead to 23-10 by halftime. Kentucky pulled to within 23-20 going into the fourth quarter. Auburn scored early in the fourth to lead 30-20. Kentucky scored with 4:06 left to make it 30-27. After and Auburn punt, Kentucky took over at their own 15 with 2:12 left. The Wildcats advanced all the way to the Tiger 44 but turned the ball over on downs. The Tigers ran out the clock to seal their first conference win. Each team had over 400 yards or total offense. Auburn is 1-5 ATS and the total is 1-3-2 this season.

Arkansas is coached by Bret Bielema. The Razorbacks have a home win over UTEP 48-13 and at Tennessee 24-20. Arkansas has home losses to Toledo (in Little Rock) and Texas Tech 35-24, a neutral site loss to Texas A&M 28-21 in overtime in Arlington, Texas, plus a road loss to Alabama two weeks ago 27-14.

The Razorbacks were 15 point underdogs at Alabama and the total was 48. Arkansas took a 7-3 lead into halftime, but Alabama scored 20 straight points to take control of the game. Arkansas scored a late touchdown to get within the number. The Razorbacks had 220 total yards and just 9 first downs. Arkansas is 3-3 ATS and the total is 1-5 this season.

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Auburn is being outscored 25.7-25.5 this season. Auburn is #89 in scoring nationally. The Tigers average 354 yards per game including 171 passing and 184 rushing yards. Auburn is #50 in rushing but #98 in total offense and #111 in passing out of 128 teams. On defense, Auburn is allowing 426 total yards per game including 229 passing and 198 rushing yards. The Tigers are #100 in rush defense and #95 in total defense nationally. Auburn has forced nine turnovers but also has nine giveaways this season. The Tigers average 42 penalty yards per game and opponents average 33 per game. Auburn is 37/78 on third and fourth down conversions, and opponents are 43/92. The Tigers have forced ten sacks and have allowed ten this season. Auburn is 18/22 scoring in the red zone with 13 touchdowns, and opponents are 21/26 with 16 touchdowns. Auburn has a defensive touchdown this year.

Quarterback Jeremy Johnson has struggled this season. He has completed 59.7% of his passes for 473 yards with 5 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, along with 21 carries for 59 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. Freshman Sean White has played in the last three games. He has thrown for 551 yards with an interception, and also has 54 rushing yards on 21 carries. White started against Kentucky and will likely remain the starter barring injury. Another back-up QB Tyler Queen is out for the season with an elbow injury.

Running back Peyton Barber has 135 carries for 650 yards and 8 touchdowns, along with 5 catches for 59 yards. Roc Thomas has 33 carries for 151 yards, and 8 catches for 163 yards and a touchdown. Kerryon Johnson has 25 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown along with 8 catches for 70 yards. Little used running back Jovon Robinson is questionable with an ankle injury.

Receiver Ricardo Louis has 26 catches for 347 yards and a touchdown, along with 12 carries for 56 yards and a rushing touchdown. D’haquille Williams has 12 catches for 147 yards and a touchdown. Melvin Ray has 9 catches for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns. Four defensive players are listed on the injury report.

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Arkansas is outscoring teams 23.8-23.2 this season. Arkansas is #98 in scoring but #45 in points allowed.  The Razorbacks are averaging 436 total yards per game including 256 passing and 180 rushing yards. Arkansas is in the top 55 in all three categories nationally. The Razorbacks are allowing 365 total yards per game including 258 passing and 107 rushing yards. Arkansas is #15 in rush defense but #101 in pass defense. Arkansas is #46 in total defense nationally.  The Razorbacks have forced eight turnovers and have six giveaways this season. Arkansas averages 59 penalty yards per game and opponents average 41 per game. The Razorbacks are 37/86 on third and fourth down conversions, while opponents are 41/90. Arkansas has forced six sacks and has allowed five this season. The Razorbacks are 16/25 scoring in the red zone with 11 touchdowns and opponents are 18/23 with 11 touchdowns.

Quarterback Brandon Allen has completed 62.4% of his passes for 1,536 yards with 10 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, and has 31 carries for 108 yards. Running back Alex Collins has 125 carries for 682 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 4 catches. Rawleigh Williams has 52 carries for 236 yards and a touchdown, plus 5 catches. Kody Walker has a rushing touchdown. Little used Juan Day is out Saturday with a knee injury.  Running back Jonathan Williams is out for the season with a broken foot. He rushed for over a 1,000 yards last year.

Receiver Drew Morgan has 27 catches for 428 yards and 4 touchdowns. Hunter Henry has 21 catches for 286 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jeremy Sprinkle has 10 catches for 132 yards. Dominique Reed has only 6 catches but has 2 touchdowns. Three key wide receivers are out indefinitely. Keon Hatcher is out with a foot injury. Hatcher has 13 catches for 198 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Jared Cornelius is out indefinitely with an arm injury. He has 7 catches for 150 yards and a touchdown. Cody Hollister is out with a foot injury.

Auburn is 6-0 ATS against teams with losing records, 4-1 against teams with losing home records, 11-3 after a cover, 5-2 after allowing more than 280 passing yards, 1-4 after a straight up win, and in road games, 3-14 overall, 1-5 in SEC games and 1-6 after allowing more than 450 total yards.

Arkansas is 13-3 ATS against teams with winning road records, 4-1 in October, 11-4 against teams with winning records, 8-3 after a cover, 13-5 overall, 5-2 in SEC games, and after scoring less than 20 points, 7-3 after a straight up loss, 3-7 after a bye week, 1-4 on fieldturf, 1-5 after rushing for less than 100 yards. The favorite has covered four of the last five games in this series.

I am not sure Arkansas should be a touchdown favorite over anyone in the SEC except maybe Vanderbilt and South Carolina, even at home. It isn’t like Auburn is terrific either though. The Razorbacks biggest weakness is pass defense, but Auburn is more of a running team to say the least. I think the razorbacks win but take the points with the Tigers.

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