Among the college football action on Saturday, the No. 23 Auburn Tigers will host the unranked Tennessee Volunteers. Auburn’s last game was back on Halloween, a 37-point drubbing of defending champion LSU, while Tennessee has wasted a 2-0 start with four consecutive losses, two of which came to Georgia and Alabama.
Here is a preview for Saturday night’s game between Tennessee and Auburn, complete with a free pick. The Tigers are favored at home by 10.5 points, according to the latest spread.
It has been tough sledding for Tennessee in the last few weeks. After opening up the season ranked at No. 16 and defeating South Carolina and Missouri, they have fallen apart.
The Vols lost comfortably on the road to No. 3 Georgia, shellacked at home by Kentucky, decimated by No. 2 Alabama at home as well, and collapsed in the second half to lose to Arkansas on the road.
The Vols are struggling on offense, managing 20.7 points per game but no scoring more than 17 in their last three games. A big reason is underwhelming quarterback play by current starter Jarrett Guarantano, who has just 956 yards and six touchdowns this season.
Perhaps head coach Jeremy Pruitt will make a move to freshman Harrison Bailey after having an extra week off due to COVID-19 precautions. Tennessee’s offense would also get a boost from running back Eric Gray, the sophomore who has 478 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Defensively, Tennessee is allowing over 400 yards per game and 31.5 points this season, 37.5 in the four losses. They have had most of their struggles in the second half, getting outscored 114-38 in the third and fourth quarter of games combined.
The latest example came in their game against Arkansas, where the Vols blew a 13-point halftime lead by giving up 24 unanswered in the third quarter.
Following a shaky start to the season, particularly on offense, Auburn seems to have found their footing. The Tigers managed to defeat No. 23 Kentucky and Arkansas early on, two teams who defeated the Vols, but lost big at No. 4 Georgia and got beaten on the road by South Carolina.
But at 2-2, Auburn’s offense came alive, scoring 35 and 48 points against Ole Miss and LSU, respectively. Saturday night’s game will be the final warm-up before back-to-back games against top-five opponents in Alabama and Texas A&M.
For the season, the Tigers average 28.3 points per game and a little over 400 yards of total offense. They’re lead by quarterback Bo Nix, a sophomore who has 1,407 passing yards and nine touchdowns, along with three additional rushing touchdowns.
Auburn also boasts a pair of weapons in freshman running back Tank Bigsby and junior wide receiver Seth Williams. Bigsby has just over 500 rushing yards and five touchdowns, while Williams also has a little over 500 receiving yards with three scores.
Auburn isn’t allowing a ton of points, even if they are giving up some big yardage. The Tigers allow 22.8 points per game on just under 392 total yards.
They haven’t allowed more than 30 points in a game all season; however, they put on maybe their best performance in their last game, giving up 11 points to LSU three weeks ago.
Tennessee, as you can expect, has struggled against the spread recently. The Vols are 0-4 ATS in their last four games, all of them sizable losses.
They are also 3-14 straight up in their last 17 road games and 1-6 straight up in their last seven games against Auburn. Meanwhile, Auburn is 13-7 ATS in their last 20 games and 5-0 straight up in their last five home games.
Auburn is not an elite team and may potentially be at a disadvantage with their last game coming from back on Oct. 31 and multiple players sitting out due to COVID-19 contact-tracing. However, Tennessee’s offense has been nothing short of abysmal, particularly over the last several weeks.
I expect Auburn to take advantage of what has been a bad offensive line for the Vols, while Nix leads the offense at home, where he always seems to play better. Give me the Tigers and the points in this SEC showdown.
Pick: Auburn -10.5