C-USA Week 5 Overview: Southern Miss Covers Big Number at Auburn

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 2:31 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 25, 2018 2:31 PM UTC

Southern Mississippi has 35 victories in their history over current SEC teams and has an all-time record of 5-17 against Auburn. The Golden Eagles will chase their dreams again Saturday on the plains of Alabama.

Doug's 2018 CFB Record: 4-4

C-USA Spotlight: Southern Miss (2-1 SU and ATS) at Auburn (3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS)Saturday, 4 p.m. ET (SECN)Free NCAAF Pick: Southern Miss ATSBest Line Offered: Intertops

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For longtime Southern Miss fans, any matchup with Auburn comes with fond memories. In 1990, the Golden Eagles upset the 15th-ranked Tigers 13-12. Earlier that season, Southern Miss upset Alabama 27-24 behind a young gunslinger named Brett Favre.

But that was a long time ago and the disparity has gotten considerably wider between these football programs. The college football odds have Auburn as a -27.5 home favorite over Southern Miss and they have the personnel to roll up the score.

The Tigers put their disappointing LSU loss behind them in ambushing Arkansas 34-3 as 29.5-point home faves, but in that contest Auburn gained only 225 yards. With a large SEC showdown at Mississippi State next, will Gus Malzahn's offense be on cruise control?

The Golden Eagles have not faced anyone close to as talented as Auburn, but this is a program that never shied away from the big boys and in the last decade is 5-5 ATS when facing ranked opponents.

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This year's team is averaging 38 PPG and has a new young gunslinger in Jack Abraham. The sophomore is completing 72 percent of his pass attempts and he directs the No. 9 passing offense in the country at almost 354 yards. Of course, a major problem is Abraham has never faced a pass rush like Auburn's or taken on a secondary with these coverage skills and this kind of speed. If he can continue to complete a high percentage of passes. the Eagles could cover.

Under Malzahn, Auburn is not known for stability. They often play to the level of competition and are not thought of as tough-minded. Malzahn's best Auburn squad was his first, which was 75 percent Gene Chizik recruits from the prior years. In his time at Auburn, Malzahn is 10-16-1 ATS in non-SEC contests and 5-13-1 ATS when favored by 20 or more points.

For college football picks, let's consider two aspects. First, this encounter opened at 29.5, thus, let's show patience and see if the number goes back up to add value. We have given you ample betting numbers that support a Southern Miss cover and while the sample size is small and happened more than a decade ago, Auburn has a three-game winning streak over the Golden Eagles and a three-game spread losing streak.

An inferior team that can throw and score always has a shot as cover when catching large points, so let's take the digits and see what happens.

Around Conference USA (All Games Saturday)

Rice (+25.5) at Wake Forest, 3:30 p.m. ET, on ESPN3: Third meeting ever and first since 1990. This is Rice's third consecutive road game (they did have a bye week in there) and they are 4-14 ATS vs. teams averaging 450 or more total yards. Wake Forest is 0-4 ATS this season and just fired defensive coordinator.

Old Dominion (+5) at East Carolina, 3:30 p.m. ET, on ESPN3: Old Dominion is off a historic upset of Virginia Tech. The Monarchs faced East Carolina one previous time and lost 52-38. The Pirates come in 3-7 ATS vs. Conference USA foes.

UTEP at UTSA (-11), 7 p.m. ET, on ESPN+: Not exactly a bettors delight in the Lone Star State. The Miners are winless (1-3 ATS) and will not be favored once this season. The Roadrunners are 0-4 ATS to start the year with a lone victory over a meager Texas State crew.

Charlotte at UAB (-17), 7 p.m. ET, on ESPN3: Charlotte won last year's first-ever matchup 25-24 as a 9.5-point home underdog. UAB comes in 25-10 ATS off two straight nonconference clashes.

Florida Atlantic at Middle Tennessee (+4), 7 p.m. ET, on Stadium: FAU opens defense of their C-USA title, but has not covered the spread in four tries. Middle Tennessee is 11-4 and 9-5-1 ATS versus the Owls.

Louisiana Tech at North Texas (-7.5), 7:30 p.m. ET, on beIN Though we are still in September, the winner takes control of the C-USA West and becomes the favorite. Louisiana Tech holds a 5-2 SU and ATS edge, but the SU winner is 7-0 ATS.

Marshall at Western Kentucky (+6.5), 7:30 p.m. ET, on Stadium: Just a few short years ago this was a big game, but both teams are down from that time. The advantage seems to be in Marshall's favor because they are 6-0 ATS in road games after playing a game at home.

Arkansas Pine-Bluff at Florida Int. (TBA), 7:30 p.m. ET, on ESPN+: Arkansas Pine-Bluff is out of the SWAC and is 1-3 this year. FIU is a .500 team after four games but is a perfect 4-0 ATS under veteran coach Butch Davis.

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