Coming off a bye, the Auburn Tigers are big home favorites on College Football betting odds to beat South Carolina this Saturday, and we're taking a look at the game with a free pick.
It was apparently a very good week of practice for the Auburn Tigers. Enjoying their first rest since early-September, the Tigers managed to move up one spot in the AP rankings to fifth, and two in the Coaches Poll to sixth without playing a game.
Of course, that was mostly due to losses by Baylor and Notre Dame, two teams that moved ahead of the Tigers after their Week 7 setback against Mississippi State. The biggest job for Gus Malzahn and the Auburn staff now might be keeping their kids from looking ahead to a huge matchup with Ole Miss on November 1, especially with the upset-minded South Carolina Gamecocks coming to Jordan-Hare Stadium this Saturday, the SEC Network beginning its broadcast at 7:30 PM (ET).
Auburn went out as 14½ point chalk officially, and early action on the Tigers propelled that spread up by a field goal. SBR's live College Football odds will have a total later today.
It has been 81 years since South Carolina beat Auburn, with this tilt just the eighth since the Gamecocks joined the SEC. The Tigers have covered five of seven meetings as conference foes, including the 2010 SEC Championship when Auburn took SC to the woodshed in a 56-17 laugher. The 'over' was on a 5-game run before the most recent matchup in 2011 at then-No. 10 South Carolina. Auburn was getting 10½, and pulled off a 16-13 outright win with a late drive in the defensive showdown.
'Cocks Seeking 1st SEC Win In More Than A Month
A popular choice to battle Georgia for SEC East honors before the 2014 College Football betting season got underway, it has been a disappointing season for Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks. The irony is they did indeed upset the then-No. 6 Bulldogs in Week 3, but have faltered against three other conference foes (Texas A&M, Missouri and Kentucky).
South Carolina did rebound from the loss to the Wildcats in Lexington, beating Furman this past week by a 41-10 count. But Gamecock backers dropped the cash for a fourth consecutive time, and sixth in seven tries.
Beating Auburn for the first time since 1933 would be tough enough with a healthy roster, and it's going to be even more difficult with a long list of bumps and bruises on the South Carolina side. Running back Brandon Wilds is questionable for a 2nd-straight week due to a knee injury, and 1st-string tight end Rory Anderson (tricep) also has questionable status. The 'Cocks are also going to be thin in the D-line with JT Surrat (hamstring) doubtful and backups Mason Harris and David Johnson questionable, plus linebacker Jonathan Walton (concussion) unlikely to play.
Tigers Healthy For Encounter With Gamecocks
The week off couldn't have come at a better time for Auburn; not only did it give the Tigers time to put that loss to Mississippi State well in their rearview mirror, but also allowed several minor injuries to heal and leave them very healthy entering the stretch run of the schedule.
They'll need to be 100% with road games still ahead at Ole Miss, Georgia and Alabama. Those three battles alone will play a huge role in shaping college football's first playoff at the Div-I level, and certainly shake out the current rankings that find Auburn and three other SEC West schools ranked in the top 5.
Weather won't be an issue with sunny skies and temps in the upper-60s at kickoff. As always, get an updated forecast before going to the wagering window of your choice.
Auburn had two big problems in the loss to the Bulldogs -- stopping the run and turning the ball over four times, three of those miscues directly leading to 21 Mississippi State points. It goes without saying that Nick Marshall and the Tigers need to post a goose egg in the turnover column this time, and they won't be facing near as strong of a running game that Dak Prescott and the 'Dogs brought to Jordan-Hare. I liked Auburn as a 2-TD favorite, but the extra few points scare me off, so my free College Football pick will go against the grain as I look for a backdoor cover from the Gamecocks.
Free College Football Pick: South Carolina +17.5 at 5Dimes
Willie Bee's Season: 35-26-1 (+6.40)