Washington State at Auburn Picks and Week 1 College Football Odds
by Dave Schwab - 7/17/2013
The Washington State Cougars take a trip east to open their 2013 campaign with a matchup against the Auburn Tigers on Saturday, Aug.31, at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Kick off time for this Pac-12/SEC clash has yet to be set.
The 2012 season did not necessarily go as planned for Mike Leach in his first year as the Cougars head coach. His team ended up just 3-9 overall, but they did end the season on a high note with a thrilling 31-28 overtime victory over rival Washington as 14-point underdogs at home.
Auburn’s 2012 season was equally disappointing with a 3-9 mark as well, but what really added salt to the wound was a 0-8 record in conference play just three years after winning a national title. In their final two SEC games of the season, the Tigers were outscored 87-0 by Georgia and Alabama.
Washington State at Auburn Storylines
The good news for the Cougars is that under Leach they ended the 2012 season ranked ninth in the nation in passing yards per game. He went with two quarterbacks last season, but Jeff Tuel is gone, so look for Connor Halliday to get the initial call to lead this aerial assault. He has a big arm but a tendency to make poor decisions throwing ball after posting 13 interceptions against just 15 touchdowns. With no real commitment to running the ball, it’s no surprise that Washington State averaged less than 30 yards a game last year on the ground.
For all their efforts moving the ball downfield through the air, the Cougars averaged only 20.4 points a game. To make matters worse, their defense was ranked 101st in Division IA in points allowed in giving up an average of 33.7 points to its opponents. The prospect for improvement is certainly there, but this team has a long way to go.
Auburn is another team that has a tough road to go to work its way back into the being one of the elite programs in the SEC. It appears to be headed in the right direction behind new head coach Gus Malzahn, who served as offensive coordinator from 2009 to 2011. He inherits a team that generated 306 yards of total offense last season that resulted in an average of just 18.7 points a game. The defense was not much better; allowing 28.3 points a game.
It remains to be seen who will get the call at quarterback, but right now Kiehl Frazier has the inside track. In limited action as a sophomore, he threw for 753 yards and two touchdowns while getting picked off eight times. The real key to this offense is a running game led by Tre Mason. He was the lone bright spot in an otherwise dismal effort with 1,002 yards and eight touchdowns on 171 carries.
Washington State at Auburn Betting Tends and Futures Odds
BetOnline has released its early lines for Week 1 of the college football season and has opened Auburn as a 13.5-point home favorite over the Cougars. The total for this game remains “off” the board at this time.
The Cougars are 2-5-1 against the spread in their last eight road games and 0-3-1 ATS in their last four nonconference games. The total has stayed “under” in six of their last eight games on the road.
The Tigers are 5-11 ATS in their last 16 games overall and 3-5 ATS in their last eight home games. The total has gone “over” in five of their last seven games outside the conference.
The last time these two teams met was in 2006, with Auburn cruising to a 40-14 victory as a 14-point home favorite. The total went over the 51-point line.
Washington State at Auburn Picks and Week 1 College Football Betting Predictions
Both these teams have dropped to bottom depths of their individual conference and come into this opener looking for fast start to a brand new season. Washington State’s heavy reliance on a passing game with a very average quarterback will not be nearly enough against a Tigers’ offense that can run the ball. Stick with SEC team at home against a road team from the Pac-12 all the way in this matchup as Auburn easily covers the 13.5-point spread.
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