Arkansas to Cover +20.5 vs. Auburn in College Football Opener

Jeff Grant

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 3:05 PM GMT

The Auburn Tigers made an improbable run to the national title game a year ago, which has them overvalued in the marketplace against the Arkansas Razorbacks in their season opener.

Let’s give this another try
Arkansas will look to bounce back from a miserable 2013 campaign, which saw it drop all eight Southeastern Conference games in head coach Bret Bieleman’s first year in Fayetteville—something that certainly is factored into the college football betting odds in Week 1.

The Razorbacks are 2-8 SU in their last 10 road openers, with losses in three straight games in that situation, but things may be different this time around with 14 returning starters.

College football handicappers will find that the program is 17-17 ATS as road underdogs the last 10 years, including a 2-3 ATS mark in five opportunities last year.

Compare 2014 BCS Championship Future Odds

There’s no place like home
Auburn has won eight straight openers at Jordan-Hare Stadium, which is important to consider when making your college football predictions, but it’s important to point out that the last three victories have come by a total of 14 points.

The Tigers welcome back 14 starters from a team that suffered a 34-31 loss to the Florida State Seminoles in the 2013-14 BCS championship game—a result that may have them overvalued from the opening bell.

In its six opportunities as home favorites in head coach Guz Malzahn’s first year on campus, the squad covered the number in four of those affairs.

 

A decision has been made
Bielema didn’t waste much time in naming junior Brandon Allen his starting quarterback for the opener, as he owns a major experience edge over signal-caller of the future Rafe Peavey.

Allen completed just 49.6 percent of his passes a year ago, while throwing 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.  His adjusted quarterback rating didn’t rank among the top 60 nationally in posting those numbers.

Arkansas will likely lean heavily on 2013 SEC Freshman of the Year Alex Collins, who was the second first-year player in school history to reach 1,000 or more yards on the ground.

 

Up in smoke
Sports bettors will want to keep a close eye on any future line movement in this matchup, considering Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall received a citation for possession of a small amount of marijuana earlier this month, which caused him to lost the right of attending the conference’s media days last week.

Marshall could be punished further by Malzahn—an action that would cause a shift in the betting markets due to the senior being a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate.

 

Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Razorbacks as one of their Week 1 NCAA football betting picks, as they’ve gone 3-1 ATS in their last four road games in this rivalry.

Pick:  Arkansas Razorbacks +20.5[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":293741, "sportsbooksIds":[43], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]