Juicy College Football Pick on Auburn vs. Kentucky Worth the Wager

Willie Bee

Monday, October 12, 2015 6:30 PM UTC

Monday, Oct. 12, 2015 6:30 PM UTC

Week 7 of the campaign includes a Thursday night contest in Lexington where the Kentucky Wildcats are home pups on the college football odds against the Auburn Tigers.

In the grand scheme of things, Thursday night's tangle between Auburn and Kentucky Wildcats doesn't mean any more or less today than it did before the season began when the college football futures odds had the Tigers high on the list of contenders for the Southeastern Conference Championship and the Wildcats listed with the long shots.

Their positions on that chart have reversed now with Kentucky still very much in the hunt for the SEC East crown and Auburn bringing up the rear of the West heading into the 7 PM at Commonwealth Stadium, ESPN's cameras on hand to beam the broadcast nationally. That switcheroo actually has the early NCAA football odds suggesting the game even better than most fans and bettors thought it would be at the start of the schedule.

Auburn officially opened as 2½ point chalk, the spread dropping into the -1 to -2 range in the first day of trading. The Tigers are -1½ at 5Dimes, the total still to be released.

It has been a little more than five years since the schools collided on a gridiron, and this is not one of your marquee SEC rivalries by any stretch of the imagination. It has been a one-sided series, however, with Auburn owning a 25-6-1 advantage since the teams first met in 1934 and only 12 get-togethers in the last 41 seasons. The Tigers and Wildcats split their most recent home-&-home matchups, the visitors winning each time and Kentucky covering both as the underdog. The 'over' has been a winner five times in the last six clashes, though each team sports a slight 'under' lean on the season so far.


War Eagle Yet To Cover A Spread
Gus Malzahn's guys are coming out of their bye week, and the break probably couldn't have come at a better time for Auburn (3-2 straight up, 0-5 against the spread). The Tigers were last on the field a couple of Saturdays ago when they stopped a 2-game losing streak with a 35-21 win at home vs. San Jose State. It was the second time this year they had been favored by three touchdowns or more, only to let a lesser opponent hang around to the end.

Malzahn and his coaching staff used the first six days of the bye to run through basic drills and didn't even begin to put together a game plan for the Wildcats until last weekend. Tops on their to-do list was settle on who would start under center against Kentucky, Jeremy Johnson or Sean White. Johnson, a junior, tossed six interceptions in the first three games before giving way to redshirt freshman White the last two.

Whoever gets the call this week -- and there's a good chance we will see both -- D'haquille Williams won't be on the receiving end of any passes after the junior was kicked off the squad following his dismissal from the team due to a bar brawl.


Can 'Cats Stay Close To Gators In SEC East?
Mark Stoops and Kentucky (4-1 SU, 2-3 ATS) don't have any quarterback controversy, though Patrick Towles has found defender's hands six times himself this season. But like Florida, the Wildcats have also let a couple of weaker opponents stay in the game despite being double-digit underdogs.

The most recent to do so was two weeks ago when UK needed overtime to get past Eastern Kentucky, 34-27. Favored by nearly four TDs, the Wildcats needed two late scores to force OT after trailing by 14 with five minutes to go.

Weather shouldn't be a factor for the tilt, Lexington's forecast for Thursday calling for clear skies and the thermometer in the mid-60s at the start of the game with only a light SW breeze blowing. Despite Auburn having failed to cover any spread so far this season, I like the Tigers enough this week to make them my free college football pick.

My College Football Pick: Auburn -1½ at 5Dimes.

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