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Auburn Tigers vs. Kentucky Wildcats Betting Picks and Prediction

25 September 2020

NCAAF Picks Austyn Varney
Date: Saturday, September 26th
Time:12:00 PM ET
Venue:Jordan-Hare Stadium
Network:SEC Network
Spread:Auburn -7.5
O/U:49.5

The Auburn Tigers will host the Kentucky Wildcats in what is week four of the CFB season and week one for the SEC. The Tigers open as comfortable favorites and this is a popular pick around the country as the upset of the week. No matter how this game ends, it’s going to be a low-scoring, grind-it-out affair that will be won by the team that makes fewer mistakes.

It remains to be seen just how good either of these teams are, but don’t ask their fan bases. Tigers fans believe Bo Nix will turn the corner while Anthony Schwartz will prevail as the receiver he has always hoped to be. Kentucky fans believe Terry Wilson is back to shock the SEC and their defense is scarier than ever. Let’s dive right into how this one will play out!

When The Auburn Tigers Have The Ball

The Tigers 2019 season was an interesting one. They beat elite teams like Alabama and Oregon, but lost four total games and didn’t show up in the bowl season. Still, they gave LSU their biggest test of the season and showed flashes of being one of the best teams in the country at times.

QB Bo Nix was a true freshman a season ago and while he made some young mistakes, he also looked like one of the best arms in college football. He’s only going to get better this season and it’ll also be his second season working with WR’s Seth Williams and Anthony Schwartz. Williams is a prototypical outside receiver while Schwartz is the fastest man in the SEC, if not all of college football. 

The backfield will belong to Shaun Shivers initially, who’s a hard-nosed Junior with an aggressive run style. Freshman Tank Bigsby and D. J. Williams are listed as co-backups and both will see their fair share of carries. Malzahn always spreads the ball out to multiple backs. 

Defensively, Auburn will try to make up for the loss of Derrick Lewis and Marlon Davidson. They were two of the best players in the country and have already seen both make an impact on Sundays. Seven other starters return, though, and the Tigers should sport another top-five SEC defense. Combine that with the hype around Bo Nix and this offense and you get an interesting sleeper behind the Gators and Crimson Tide.

When The Kentucky Wildcats Have The Ball

The Wildcats had a similarly weird 2019 season. QB Terry Wilson went down with a season-ending injury and WR Lynn Bowden Jr. stepped up and ended up winning the Paul Hornung Award. That goes to the most extraordinary college athlete of the season. He’s now on the Las Vegas Raiders and the Wildcats will have a huge hole to fill. 

The hope is that Terry Wilson can stay healthy and this offense turns back into a balanced versatile attack. In 2018, Wilson threw for 1,889 yards and 11 scores while adding 547 and four TDs on the ground. At WR, it’ll be a group effort to replace Bowden Jr. Bryce Oliver and Allen Dailey will start on the outside and both have a phenomenal upside. Clevan Thomas and Josh Ali will start on the inside and I expect Wilson to look at those two a bit more often as he prefers to throw short passes. 

Running back might be the most concrete position on offense as Amir Rose returns for his senior season. Chris Rodriguez and Kavosiey Smoke will complement him and are dangerous change-of-pace threats. Terry Wilson will also run the ball and you’ll see a ton of two-RB sets that will force the defense to remain honest. 

If Kentucky wants to keep it close against Auburn, the defense will need to step up. The talent is there, but they gave up too many points in 2019. The Tigers are dangerous offensively and they’re not going to be rusty. Nix is now in his second season and will look a lot more comfortable under center. Terry Wilson better step up if he wants to keep this game close. 

Spread Prediction

This could certainly be a trap for the Auburn Tigers. Terry Wilson is back under center for Kentucky and the offense is going to be the best it’s been in ten years. With that being said, I think Auburn ends up dominating this season and taking the second spot in the SEC West from LSU. Guz Malzahn doubled down on Bo Nix this offseason by saying “this kid is going to win a championship before he leaves”.

I expect the Kentucky defense to struggle containing this dangerous offense. Kentucky might be able to put up a few touchdowns of their own as Auburn figures out their own defensive issues, but they won’t get close to outscoring the Tigers. Give me Auburn up to eight points, and don’t be afraid to buy the half-point to make it a football number.. I also love the first-half bet here as Auburn is going to start out strong.

The Pick: Auburn -7.5

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

Total Prediction

I love the over here. Both of these defenses will be going through a ton of change and the offenses are only going to be better. This is also week one of a weird SEC season, and defenses haven’t been hitting as much as they usually do. I expect there to be a bit more scoring than usual in these first few weeks and this is a low number.

These two teams have leaned on their defenses in past years, but that won’t be the case in 2020. The Tigers will play faster than ever and look to give Bo Nix free run on the playbook. Terry Wilson and the Wildcats will run amore methodical attack, but they still aren’t slow. The over is my favorite bet in this game as either way it goes, I think we see plenty of points.

The Pick: Over 49.5

Final Score Prediction: Auburn 31, Kentucky 21

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

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