Auburn Tigers vs. Florida Gators Expert Picks with Odds and Predictions
Auburn Tigers vs. Florida Gators, Saturday October 5, 3:30 p.m. ET
The SEC is just a mess when it comes to scheduling, and this matchup is a perfect example of that. These are both traditional SEC programs and regular contenders. Yet the last time they met was in 2011. And Gus Malzahn, who has been in the SEC for 11 seasons, is going to be making his first trip to Gainesville. It's just insane. But if this is a stupidly rare matchup, it is also an incredibly compelling one this year. Both teams are unbeaten and ranked in the Top 10 nationally. And, obviously, both need to keep winning. But only one can.
Auburn at Florida Betting Storylines
If you had looked at this game before the season started, the one thing you would not have guessed is that Kyle Trask would be the starting QB for the Gators. But Feleipe Franks has been lost for the season with an ankle injury, and Trask is the man now. He entered in relief against Kentucky and has started two games since. His numbers have been solid, but they also don't mean much. His starts have come against a really lousy Tennessee team and a totally outmatched Towson one. And while he has completed an impressive number of his passes - 38 of 48 in the two starts - he also threw two picks against Tennessee, and neither was great. He's up against a pass defense that is only middle-of-the-pack nationally in Auburn. However, Auburn's run defense is stout and Florida's running game has been limp, so Trask is likely to be leading a one-dimensional attack here. How you feel about Florida's chances in this one will have a whole lot to do with how you feel about Trask and his chances here. And from where I am sitting, there is no clear and obvious answer.
Bo Nix has made a real impact as Auburn's freshman QB. But he is up against a Florida defense that is really tough. They rank fifth nationally in points allowed, and they have a potent pass rush that is among the best in the nation - and that has come while fighting some injury woes, and those are less of an issue this week. Auburn has a couple of things going for it here. First, their offensive line is as good as it gets, and Florida has faced nothing like this, so the pass rush might not be as effective. And second, Florida has been vulnerable on third down, which is something else for Auburn's offense to exploit. It won't be easy for the Tigers, but I find it a little easier to trust Nix than Trask in this one.
There are a lot of people who are made very nervous by attaching too much significance to the strength of past schedules. But if you do believe in such things, then Auburn has a massive edge here. Their 5-0 record is certainly the more impressive of the two. In their opener, Florida played against a Miami freshman quarterback making his first start, and they barely won. The Hurricanes clearly have plenty of issues. And the Gators tried hard to lose to a Kentucky team playing their backup QB as well. And those games against Tennessee-Martin and Towson were laughable mismatches, and Tennessee is a total mess. The Gators have yet to play a truly legitimate test, and only barely passed two of the tests they have had. Auburn, meanwhile, beat an Oregon team currently ranked 13th nationally in the opener. They beat a pretty good, and ranked, Texas A&M team in College Station. And they have wins against a solid Mississippi State team and a Kent State team playing a brutal schedule. Both squads should go bowling this year. And their last win was against Tulane, which probably isn't a great team, but they do have a Top 10 rushing offense right now. Auburn has looked better and has done so against a tougher schedule.
Auburn at Florida Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened widely with Auburn flavored by three points, and the number has stayed there so far despite nearly 80 percent of bets coming in on the Tigers. The number should move off the key number of three soon. If it doesn't, then sharp money is obviously hitting Florida hard. The total opened at 46.5 and has climbed to 49 in early action.
The Tigers are 6-0 ATS in their last six games overall and 5-0 ATS in their last five games played on grass. They are 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 games in October. The Gators like the grass, too - they are 5-2 ATS in their last seven - but just 1-4 ATS in their last five conference games. Florida has gone under the total in their last four home games, while Auburn has gone over in four of their last five conference games.
Auburn at Florida Predictions and Picks
I struggle with this game a little bit because I don't have a ton of respect for either of the head coaches. But when it comes down to it, Auburn has proven more, they have a better quarterback, and they have a defense that is easier to buy into. Playing at home is a big advantage for the Gators, but I would jump on this three points and take Auburn happily.
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