Auburn had a bye week to think about its loss to Florida, and should be taking those frustrations out against Arkansas on Saturday. The Tigers are my pick for this week’s One Bet, $100.
Last week, I took a lot of points with Texas and was rewarded. Usually, laying a large number of points for a team on the road gives me hives. Auburn opened at 16, but the sharps drove the line up to 18.5 or 19 at some sportsbooks.
One Bet, $100
This Week’s Pick Last Week’s Result Season Total
Auburn -18.5 Won Texas 5-2, Up $270
Conventional wisdom would be to follow the sharps, so for this game, that is what I am going to do. I do believe that Auburn is the better team. How much better, is the question.
Auburn Defense Should Stymie Razorbacks
The No. 11 Tigers have the 36th ranked defense in college football, while Arkansas is No. 70 in total offense. The biggest problem is the Razorbacks can’t decide on who should be their quarterback.
The team has two graduate transfers at the position, and neither one has wowed Arkansas coach Chad Morris. Last Saturday against Kentucky, Nick Starkel was 7 for 19 for 41 yards. He was replaced by Ben Hicks in the second half, who threw eight times, completing five passes for 81 yards.
Morris hasn’t named a starter yet, but told reporters in a teleconference that the two have been practicing well. “Everything is a possibility at this point,” Morris said.
It sounds like Morris hasn’t made up his mind, and could continue interchanging the two if one struggles.
Arkansas Defense Can’t Stop Anybody
Auburn’s Bo Nix has been able to score points on other SEC opponents. Throw the 24-13 Florida loss out, and the Tigers scored 56 against Mississippi State, and 28 on the road against Texas A&M.
Another factor I like is that Nix can, and does, run with the ball. The Razorbacks faced a wide receiver turned quarterback last week when they lined up against Kentucky’s Lynn Bowden. The junior ran all over Arkansas’ defense, gaining 196 yards and two touchdowns.
Now, the Razorbacks must face a quarterback who is much more adept at running out of the backfield. Nix concerns Morris, who told reporters that it will be a challenge to contain the QB.
“I think from Bo’s standpoint, compared to Bowden, there is a lot more window dressing, a lot more different presentations with Bo’s run game,” Morris said. “A lot of that is by design with the scheme that Coach Malzahn runs. I think you got to, again as I mentioned earlier, you got to be assignment sound, and you got to get yourself aligned. That is going to be the most critical thing this week, we got to make sure we are aligned correctly. Different in running styles, but very much effective.”
Why Auburn Will Win
The Tigers are coming off a bye week, and have had nearly two weeks to get over the Florida loss. They should be fresh, and ready to work on getting back inside the top 10.
Arkansas is struggling against quality opponents. The team is 2-4, and the victories came against Portland State and Colorado State. Morris has gone winless against conference opponents. He is 0-11 against the SEC, and still hasn’t beaten a Power 5 team.
This could be the best team the Razorbacks face all year. They shouldn’t be able to move the ball against Auburn’s defense, much less score. Plus their defense is so porous, that Nix should be almost able to score at will. I’m looking for a blowout here, but a definite cover.