Bet Arkansas On the Points as they Face Auburn

Jeff Grant

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 3:10 PM GMT

The Auburn Tigers will suffer a bit of a hangover after just missing out on winning a national title last season, which will allow the Arkansas Razorbacks to stay within the number Saturday.

It can only get better
Arkansas is eager to get back on the gridiron after dropping its final nine games a year ago, considering over 90 percent of its total offense was produced by underclassmen, with running back Alex Collins being the main playmaker.

Collins, Korliss Marshall and Jonathan Williams are a big reason why the Razorbacks rank third in returning rushing yards from last season, which can’t be ignored when looking over the NCAA football odds, but their season-opening opponent tops that list.

College football handicappers will find that this program has covered seven of its last 10 opportunities as road underdogs of 14.5 to 21 points.


Up in smoke
Auburn will start its eighth different quarterback in as many years due to second-year head coach Gus Malzahn suspending Nick Marshall for the opening stages of this game due to a marijuana citation during the offseason.  

Jeremy Johnson will start the game under center for the defending Southeastern Conference champions at Jordan-Hare Stadium, as he looks to build off his 29-of-41 passing numbers when filling in for Marshall last season.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the team has won all three of its games in straight-up fashion as favorites of 10.5 to 21 points, but only managed to cover the number once.


Bielema ball
The Razorbacks are certainly a team to watch heading into Bret Bielema’s second year in Fayetteville, considering their offensive line averages 320.8 pounds, which would be the third-biggest in the NFL.

Bielema is unbeaten in eight previous season openers during this coaching career—winning those games by an average of 18.8 points.

It’s also important to point out that Arkansas was out-gained by just 20 yards in last year’s 35-17 loss to Auburn as 9.5-point home underdogs.


Run the football
The Tigers have scored 30 or more points in a school-record 10 consecutive games, with most of that success coming on the ground under Malzahn, who called an average of 52.1 rushing plays during the 2013 campaign.

Auburn is certainly dynamic when running the football, but it must find a featured back to replace Tre Mason who was selected in the 2014 NFL draft, as he carried the ball 32 times for 168 yards and scored four touchdowns in last year’s meeting.


Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Razorbacks as one of their Week 1 college football picks, as the Tigers have gone 1-4 ATS in their last five games as SEC favorites of 15 or more points.
 

College Football Pick:  Arkansas Razorbacks +19.5

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