Early Bird: War Eagle Takes Flight in Auburn-Tennessee Contest

Auburn Tigers

Willie Bee

Tuesday, October 9, 2018 7:07 PM UTC

Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018 7:07 PM UTC

Something of a rare SEC collision is on Saturday’s early college football odds card as the Auburn Tigers host Tennessee for the first time in 10 years.

2018 Record: 3-2-1 (+0.85 units)

Tennessee (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS) at Auburn (4-2 SU, 2-4 ATS)Saturday, 12 p.m. ET (SEC Network)Free NCAAF Pick: AuburnBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Auburn officials continue to cross their fingers as they monitor the National Weather Service for updates on Hurricane Michael, currently churning out in the Gulf of Mexico. Everything looks fine right now, with the storm expected to impact the Florida Panhandle more than Alabama, then turn east and move back out into the Atlantic.

That means Saturday’s early kickoff between the Tigers and Tennessee Volunteers is still on, and we have plenty of time before the boot to enjoy a Bloody Mary with some sweet potato cornbread at one of the many tailgates taking place outside Jordan Hare Stadium. BetOnline initially sent Auburn out -20, the spread dropping all the way to -15½ currently with signs it could slip another half-point or more by kickoff. Scoreboard players are looking at 47-47½ for their wagers.

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We're here and we're ready. 😤#WarEagle pic.twitter.com/01vT1sPw4d

— Auburn Football (@AuburnFootball) October 6, 2018
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Poor Run Defenses Plague Both Sides In Recent Losses

Known more for his defensive expertise, Tennessee’s 1st-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt has seen his Vols’ leaky run defense exposed in losing their first two SEC games on the fixture. Two weeks ago in Athens, Georgia rumbled for 251 yards on the ground, four of the Bulldogs’ 50 totes in the contest crossing the goal line. Georgia chewed up the clock to beat Tennessee by nearly 15 minutes in time of possession. If there was any good news, it was a cover for Vols backers who were getting 32 in the 38-12 final.

Auburn’s run defense was even worse last Saturday at Mississippi State as the Bulldogs trotted for nearly 350 yards on the ground in a 23-9 final that closed with the Tigers giving up three points on NCAA football odds boards. It was more rushing yards than Auburn allowed in its previous three games combined, and a lopsided 23-minute deficit on the clock kept Jarrett Stidham and the Tigers’ offense off the field as Gus Malzahn’s troops plunged from No. 8 in the AP down to No. 21.

Tigers Take Aim At 7th-Straight Win In Rivalry

This is the first matchup between the schools in five seasons, and just the 10th since the SEC split into two divisions in 1992, two of the previous nine clashes taking place in the conference championship (1997, 2004). Auburn has won the last six meetings, covering the most recent two battles that both took place in Knoxville. Tennessee’s last road win in the series came in 1998.

Not only is the Auburn area expected to escape the wrath of Hurricane Michael, the meteorologist is forecasting a very nice afternoon for football on Pat Dye Field (mid-70s, sunny, NE 6-8 mph). I’m going War Eagle with my free college football pick.

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