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There is no rivalry game in college football quite like the Iron Bowl. This year’s game features the no. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide as 24.5-point home favorites over the no. 22 Auburn Tigers. The over/under for the game is set at 62.5 points.
A little over a month ago, the Tigers were on the verge of a potentially disastrous season after losing to South Carolina. But Auburn has responded with three straight wins to get back in the top-25. The Tigers have done enough to at least finish third in the SEC West, although with games against Alabama and Texas A&M still left, Auburn is yet to play its most challenging games of the season.
The Crimson Tide had some close calls early in the season, but they have been steamrolling teams for the past month. Alabama has outscored opponents 152-20 in its last three games, making the clear choice for no. 1 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings. They are on track to play for the national championship, and a win on Saturday will at least secure a spot in the SEC Championship Game.
Same Old Bama
This might be one of the best Alabama teams Nick Saban has had in several years. Even with Jaylen Waddle suffering a season-ending injury, the Alabama offense continues to thrive. He’s been remarkably efficient, averaging over 12 yards per pass and completing 77% of his passes. Receiver John Metchie has helped fill the void left by Waddle, and Najee Harris has been one of the best running backs in the country, scoring 16 touchdowns in seven games.
Meanwhile, the Alabama defense has been equally impressive. Since halftime of their win over Georgia, the Crimson Tide has allowed 20 total points over their last 14 quarters. Alabama kept a shutout against pass-heavy Mississippi State and limited run-heavy Kentucky to just a field goal, so they can stop teams both on the ground and through the air.
Finding Their Way
As mentioned, the Tigers appear to have found their way after a disappointing start to the season. Since the loss to South Carolina, quarterback Bo Nix has thrown five touchdown passes and just one interception. More importantly, there’s been a drastic improvement in his accuracy. However, he still requires a lot of help from the running game, which could be a problem with Tank Bigsby suffering an injury last week against Tennessee.
Even if the Tigers are at full strength on offense, the Auburn defense will also need to play its best game of the season against Alabama. The Auburn defense has held its own for most of the season, conceding an average of 22 points per game. But in the games they’ve struggled defensively, the Tigers have been hurt the most by the running game, which is something to watch closely against the Crimson Tide.
Roll, Tide, Roll
While Auburn has come on strong lately, the Tigers simply don’t measure up against Alabama. The Crimson Tide are blowing out teams left and right these days, and so 24.5 points isn’t as high as it might seem. Alabama is head and shoulders better, and because Saban will have no problem keeping his foot on the gas, bet on the Crimson Tide to win and cover.