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Oddsmakers expect another ten win season

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Handicapping Auburn: oddsmakers expect another 10-win season for Tigers

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SEC roundup: Auburn wins it
 

As if Auburn’s season-opener against Washington in Atlanta wasn’t tough enough, news that deep-threat senior receiver Will Hastings suffered a torn ACL in a scrimmage this spring leaves Jarrett Stidham and Gus Malzahn’s offense now two receivers short heading into the 2018 season. Eli Stove, a receiver the Tigers like to use on jet sweeps and bubble screens, also suffered a torn ACL earlier this spring.

Auburn opened up a four-point favorite over national championship contender Washington in early Week One betting action and not having two veterans could impact not only an offense that already has a list of questions to answer, but the point spread as well.

 

While Auburn will have to navigate one of the tougher schedules in the country, (most services have Auburn’s strength of schedule in the 10 to 20 range) it will do so as a favorite in 10 of 12 regular season games. The Tigers will remain a small favorite in their opener with the Huskies despite the aforementioned injuries and Auburn’s third string would be a favorite over Alabama State.

LSU travels to Auburn for a solid SEC opener, but will do so as a double-digit underdog. The Tigers from Louisiana may have more questions to answer than any team in the conference.

 

After LSU, Auburn hosts an Arkansas squad with a first-year coach and a suspect defense. The Tigers will be two-plus touchdown favorites over the Razorbacks before facing Southern Miss (22-23 point underdog) as a monster favorite.

RELATED: Why injuries to Stove and Hastings may not be as bad for Auburn’s offense as it seems.

The Tigers will make their first true road trip to play a Mississippi State team full of fresh faces. The Bulldogs would be an underdog here even if Dan Mullen and Nick Fitzgerald stuck around. As it stands, the Tigers again project as a double-digit favorite in Starkville.

Tennessee and Jeremy Pruitt aren’t going to travel to Auburn as anything less than two touchdown underdogs the following week. Ole Miss has the offense to keep up with most teams, but a porous defense will set the Tigers up again as two touchdown favorites on the road in Oxford to close October.

At this point in Auburn’s season, any number of unpredictable events could have taken place. Still, the Tigers have a very real chance of entering their bye week at 8-0 – the oddsmakers will expect them to.

To begin the home stretch, Texas A&M will make the trip to Auburn as an underdog. That shouldn’t lull the Tigers into a false sense of security. Auburn won last year in College Station as a 14.5 point favorite putting the nail in Kevin Sumlin’s coffin. Clearly, the Aggies will be a different team behind Jimbo Fisher, regardless, Auburn should be nothing less than a double-digit favorite.

Few coaches have had the success as a favorite as Gus Malzahn. Only Alabama (63), Georgia (45), and LSU (42) have more wins as a favorite since Malzahn was hired, and only Alabama (90%), Mississippi State (86.5%), Kentucky (86.4%), and Vanderbilt (84.2%) have a higher winning percentage when playing as a favorite than the Tigers in that span (Kentucky and Vanderbilt have only played 41 games as favorites, combined, since 2013).

The point in Auburn’s schedule where the season will be decided is the final three games. No, not the Liberty Flames on November 17th. The Flames are the meat in between the national championship sandwich.

 
Road trips to Athens and Tuscaloosa will define the Tigers’ success in 2018. Beat Washington in the opener and the table will be set for a second appearance in Atlanta at the SEC Championship Game.

Auburn will be an underdog against both Georgia and Alabama. The Tide were a five-point favorite last year in Jordan-Hare and Georgia closed as a two point favorite on a neutral field in 2017’s conference title games. All three teams are certainly different than last year, but the situation will be the same. I currently have Alabama a seven point favorite against Auburn in Tuscaloosa and Georgia a six point chalk in Athens.

 

One of the reasons I have Auburn’s strength of schedule rated so highly, aside from having to face Washington, Alabama, and Georgia, is a lack of rhythm to the second half of it. The first half of the schedule is essentially four straight home games sandwiched in between a neutral site game – and there will be FAR more Auburn fans than Huskie fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta where Auburn will be playing its third game in a row – and a road trip to Oxford. The bye week falls at a good time, just past the halfway point in the season. Three road trips the last five games of the season against the tougher part of the schedule should concern Auburn fans.

While Malzahn is ranked 6th nationally and 2nd in the SEC as a home favorite, the Tigers are mediocre as road underdogs. Auburn is 7th in the SEC and 35th nationally as a road underdog with Malzahn, winning just 30% of the time (3-7).

For Auburn, making the College Football Playoff is simple: win the games you’re favored in and grab at least one of the two you’re not. An 11-1 SEC team with Auburn’s pedigree and schedule isn’t getting left out of anything.

 

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That's interesting but......  The writer doesn't know a lot about Auburn's history. We have seldom beat major opponents by two, three, four TD's. We have put up our share of W's, but seldom by a big margin. I don't see all those early and mid-season two+  TD wins.

 

Also, all-time we have a winning record in Tuscaloser and a winning record in Athens. Winning in those places hasn't been Mission Impossible for Auburn.

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Won't be shocked if we continue our upward trajectory with 11 wins and both Bama and Georgia have down years.  

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9 hours ago, Mikey said:

That's interesting but......  The writer doesn't know a lot about Auburn's history. We have seldom beat major opponents by two, three, four TD's. We have put up our share of W's, but seldom by a big margin. I don't see all those early and mid-season two+  TD wins.

Also, all-time we have a winning record in Tuscaloser and a winning record in Athens. Winning in those places hasn't been Mission Impossible for Auburn.

We've been thumping the soft tissue of our schedule the last 2 seasons- regular season-only/conference-only scoring champs!- and that really shouldn't change this season. Most of the West is in major rebuilding mode. Fisher will likely get TAMU back on the map but still, season 1 for him. We get them on the back 9 and he'll be settled in a bit by then, but still, it's a long trip from College Station to Auburn. Ditto for Tennessee, except we get them earlier and Pruitt will have no business being ready for JHS that early. There is no reason to think that the Mississippi schools, Arkansas or LSU (could and should have beaten them by double digits last season in Red Stick) will be any better than last season. 

Even with the injuries and the questions at center, this should be a 3 or 4 game conversation. And Washington is scary, but much moreso on offense than defense. That means that we shouldn't suffer Gus's pre-Clemson pants wetting in this year's edition of Auburn's Annual Top 10 OoC Matchup, as Kevin Steele will probably make reasonable and rational preparations for a formidable-but-hardly-invincible opponent. 

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Color me nervous. 

Yeah, one of those (always have been).

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1 hour ago, aucanucktiger said:

Won't be shocked if we continue our upward trajectory with 11 wins and both Bama and Georgia have down years.  

What does that look like?

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16 minutes ago, keesler said:

What does that look like?

Only 10 wins. Happened 7 short years ago. 

They've only made it to Atlanta 4 times since then, and they only won national titles in 2 of the other 3 years. 

I hate them so much. 

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2 hours ago, aucanucktiger said:

Won't be shocked if we continue our upward trajectory with 11 wins and both Bama and Georgia have down years.  

With their new QB, I would be shocked if bama had a down year. Georgia I could see, since they are replacing both of their key weapons from last year.

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Georgia should be on a down year, but good (redacted), Alabama's going to be ******* stacked with an actual QB. 

 

Hope Willis and Gatewood impress, because we might have to throw the kitchen sink out at them. Triple reverses 

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If we get embarrassed in another opener I might have to concede ever having another good thought about Gus again 

 

this team hasnt looked vividly prepared to play week 1 in like 5 years

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4 minutes ago, Dual-Threat Rigby said:

this team hasnt looked vividly prepared to play week 1 in like 5 years

2014. Last time we had our QB and OC back. We also had our Rimington-winning center back that season, though...

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12 minutes ago, Dual-Threat Rigby said:

If we get embarrassed in another opener I might have to concede ever having another good thought about Gus again 

 

this team hasnt looked vividly prepared to play week 1 in like 5 years

Washington can definitely defeat us in the opening based on what they have coming back to be honest and question marks we have at RB and the O-Line. Honestly the game will be how our defensive line performs and how their NFL QB plays.

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4 hours ago, AUld fAUx@ said:

Color me nervous. 

Yeah, one of those (always have been).

 

38 minutes ago, McLoofus said:

2014. Last time we had our QB and OC back. We also had our Rimington-winning center back that season, though...

Like, um, thanks a bunch.I am minded of:

“…the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed,…” 

[waaaay out of context from Yeats, but also see “My Journey Through Madness," Saks]

 

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5 hours ago, aucanucktiger said:

Won't be shocked if we continue our upward trajectory with 11 wins and both Bama and Georgia have down years.  

Unfortunately, Bama and UGA have weak enough schedules where a down year is almost impossible. 

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5 hours ago, aucanucktiger said:

Won't be shocked if we continue our upward trajectory with 11 wins and both Bama and Georgia have down years.  

Alabama won't have a down year. That schedule they have is a joke. They will be undefeated when we roll into the redneck town. 

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5 hours ago, McLoofus said:

We've been thumping the soft tissue of our schedule the last 2 seasons- regular season-only/conference-only scoring champs!- and that really shouldn't change this season. Most of the West is in major rebuilding mode. Fisher will likely get TAMU back on the map but still, season 1 for him. We get them on the back 9 and he'll be settled in a bit by then, but still, it's a long trip from College Station to Auburn. Ditto for Tennessee, except we get them earlier and Pruitt will have no business being ready for JHS that early. There is no reason to think that the Mississippi schools, Arkansas or LSU (could and should have beaten them by double digits last season in Red Stick) will be any better than last season. 

Even with the injuries and the questions at center, this should be a 3 or 4 game conversation. And Washington is scary, but much moreso on offense than defense. That means that we shouldn't suffer Gus's pre-Clemson pants wetting in this year's edition of Auburn's Annual Top 10 OoC Matchup, as Kevin Steele will probably make reasonable and rational preparations for a formidable-but-hardly-invincible opponent. 

Make sure not to underrate their defense. They have a solid front 7 and a really solid sophomore cb in particular, forgot his name. I don't care who we play first game I will still be ready for the Gus pants wetting.

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2 hours ago, McLoofus said:

2014. Last time we had our QB and OC back. We also had our Rimington-winning center back that season, though...

At least we have said award winner's coach back :)

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5 minutes ago, lionheartkc said:

At least we have said award winner's coach back :)

And for that I am super duper happy, at least for this season.

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Gus has never had a team ready to contend to open the season.   It is insane to believe this year is different.   I hope I am wrong.   

The real problem with our schedule is timing:

1. UGA: advantage:  nobody

we have to play 100% against UGA to win and thus we have shown basically everything to bama by then.  We typically are nicked up also, being a huge rival game.

2. bama game: advantage: bama 

the bama game seems to come down to a coaching match-up also....hmmm   

3. Atlanta/SECCG: advantage:  most likely not Auburn..... if a strong, physical team - not our advantage; we will likely wear down or kinda break down.

if we are fortunate enough to win and get to Atlanta, we have played 2 of our 3 most physical opponents and are surely bumped and bruised.  How we were injury-free in 2013 is beside me.   Also, within the past 2-3 weeks, the film from UGA and bama is out there and we don't have time to develop new wrinkles before SECCG.  Had we played one of those games a month ago, it would be a different story. 

crazy to think about getting through that 3 team gauntlet, only to have a playoff afterwards....most likely 5 straight games* against 5 teams ranked in the top 5.  Nobody else has to overcome those odds.   

 

*I know we have Liberty in between.   Not sure how much that will help.   

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I think it is crazy to have to play so many great teams in that amount of time.  I hope scheduling is changed soon.

Edited by Btiger1982
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5 minutes ago, Btiger1982 said:

I think it is crazy to have to play so many great teams in that amount of time.  I hope scheduling is changed soon.

Completely asinine.

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If we were to get through that gauntlet there would be no doubt we deserved to be there though! 

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13 hours ago, Btiger1982 said:

I think it is crazy to have to play so many great teams in that amount of time.  I hope scheduling is changed soon.

There will be no schedule change unless the SEC should decide to drop the championship game back a week. That's not likely to happen because it would make the rest of the country wait a week before bowl announcements.

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8 hours ago, Mikey said:

There will be no schedule change unless the SEC should decide to drop the championship game back a week. That's not likely to happen because it would make the rest of the country wait a week before bowl announcements.

Would be nice for these "pretty good" P5 OOC teams to stop turning into juggernauts by the time we actually play them, though. 

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1 hour ago, McLoofus said:

Would be nice for these "pretty good" P5 OOC teams to stop turning into juggernauts by the time we actually play them, though. 

Washington is very good, but they're not Clemson (definitely a juggernaut)...yet.

Edited by AUwent

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