This article is part of our College Football Picks series.
College Football Picks: Alabama vs. Auburn Best Bets
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College football's final week of the regular season will mark Alabama and Auburn's 88th meeting in the Iron Bowl. Alabama currently leads the matchup with an all-time record of 49-37-1. The two teams come into Saturday's matchup heading in different directions. Alabama comes in off a 66-10 blow out of Chattanooga and has looked like one of the top teams in the country in recent weeks. Auburn comes into this game off a devastating 31-10 loss to New Mexico State with nothing left to play for other than knocking off its storied rival.
Alabama vs. Auburn Betting Odds for Week 13
Spread: Alabama -13 (ESPN Bet); Auburn +13.5 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Moneyline: Alabama -535 (DraftKings Sportsbook); Auburn +450 (BetMGM)
Total: Over 47.5 (ESPN Bet); Under 48 (BetMGM)
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Alabama vs. Auburn Betting Picks for Week 13
After the spread opened at Alabama -14.5 on most books, it remained stagnant for quite some time; however, Thursday, the line moved a full point down to 13.5, even getting as low as 13 on ESPN Bet. The moneyline has also had some movement but at a slightly different rate, as it opened on most major books at Alabama -700/Auburn +500. Since Monday, the moneyline has slowly moved down to where it sits now at -550/+450 on most major books. The total has also followed a similar trend to the moneyline here, opening at 49 on most major books and incrementally working its way down to where we stand now at 47.5 on most major books.
Alabama vs. Auburn Expert Pick: Alabama -13 (ESPN Bet)
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Rivalry games are always some of the most difficult games to handicap as there is a lot at play. With tons of emotion and a year's worth of bragging rights on the line for schools and fan bases, all the stats and analytics can be thrown out the window at times. However, we can dive into the numbers a little bit to try and gain some perspective. As has been documented, Alabama has been on quite the upward trend, especially on offense over the course of the last several weeks. Their play has them continuing to climb up the ranks, as their offense now is 32nd in the nation in Expected Points Added, after sitting at 51st in the nation in Expected Points Added Per Pass (EPA/Pass) and 54th in Expected Points Added Per Rush (EPA/Rush) entering into the Tennessee game on October 21st. The Crimson Tide now rank 27th in the nation in EPA/Pass and 42nd in EPA/Rush (EPA metrics via: CFB-Graphs). For Auburn this year the defense has been a bit of a bright spot, as it currently sits at 31st in EPA and 35th in EPA/Pass and 32nd in EPA/Rush. On the other side of the ball, we have an Auburn offense that has really struggled in the passing game sitting at 94th in the the nation in EPA/Pass but has been solid on the ground at 37th in the nation. However, they will have to contend with an Alabama defense that ranks 10th overall and ninth in EPA/Pass and 24th in EPA/Rush.
Alabama vs. Auburn Predictions for Week 13
The numbers here definitely trend toward Alabama, but for a 6-5 Auburn team going up against a 10-1 Alabama, the discrepancy isn't as large as you might expect. Where there is a large discrepancy, however, is in the Auburn passing game. After graduating from Michigan State, dual-threat quarterback Payton Thorne transferred to Auburn and won the QB battle out of fall practices. Since then, Thorne has had a bit of an up-and-down year but has really struggled in the passing game against the upper end of the SEC. In his four games against Ole Miss, LSU, Georgia and Texas A&M, Thorne has completed 55.2 percent of his passes for an average of 57 yards while totaling one touchdown and two interceptions across the four games. Alabama has been hurt by dual-threat quarterbacks in the past, as Jayden Daniels put up some monster numbers against the Crimson Tide three weeks ago. However, the Crimson Tide have done a solid job overall this season containing dual threat quarterbacks, as they limited USF quarterback Byrum Brown, Jaxson Dart, KJ Jefferson and Joe Milton. With less of a threat in the passing game from Thorne and the Auburn offense, I wouldn't expect the Alabama defense to have much of an issue containing Thorne. It may be a struggle for Auburn to score in this one, and while the Auburn defense has been pretty solid this year, they likely aren't going to be able to contain Alabama's offense for four quarters; take Alabama and lay the points in this one.