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#9 Auburn Tigers vs. #2 LSU Tigers Game Preview, Pick & Odds

#9 Auburn Tigers (6-1 Overall, 3-1 in SEC West)

vs.

#2 LSU Tigers (7-0 Overall, 3-0 in SEC West)

Saturday, October 26, 2019 @ 3:30 PM EST

Tiger Stadium (Baton Rouge, LA)

Moneyline: Auburn +325, LSU -400

Spread: Auburn +11 (-110), LSU -11 (-110)

Total: Over/Under 59 (-110)

Odds courtesy of MyBookie

Game Preview

Saturday’s lone top-10 matchup has some very big ramifications in the SEC and even bigger ramifications in the CFP picture, as true freshman Bo Nix leads the ninth-ranked Auburn Tigers into Death Valley to face the second-ranked LSU Tigers, led by Heisman front-runner Joe Burrow.

LSU has dominated Auburn in Baton Rouge recently, winning their last nine matchups by an average of 16 points per game. The last time Auburn beat LSU in Baton Rouge was in 1999. Bo Nix wasn’t even born yet.

#9 Auburn Tigers (6-1 Overall, 3-1 in SEC West)

Nix may not have been born yet the last time Auburn beat LSU in Death Valley, but he’s been a big reason for the Tigers’ success this year. Nix hasn’t thrown the ball nearly as much as Joe Burrow (Nix: 169 attempts, Burrow: 173 completions on 218 attempts), but he has been reasonably efficient for a true freshman. If he can pull off an upset in Baton Rouge, it will catapult him into Auburn football lore.

Unfortunately for the freshman, I don’t think he’ll be able to keep up with Joe Burrow and the LSU offense. In Auburn’s two games against stiff defensive competition (Oregon and @ Florida), Bo Nix has completed just 24 of his 58 passes (41.4%) for a total of 322 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions. All five of his interceptions this season came in those two games. In his other four games, Nix has looked like a competent game manager, completing 71 of his 111 passes (63.9%) for 979 yards, eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. But, will a game manager-esque performance be enough to lead Auburn to an upset? I doubt it. Especially if they don’t have RB JaTarvious Whitlow.

Auburn could be without Whitlow, their No. 1 running back, as he is likely to be a game-time decision on Saturday. He was initially expected to be out for four-to-six weeks after undergoing surgery for an injury to his left knee. But, he has apparently been cleared to play and may start on Saturday. Whitlow would certainly give the Tigers’ offense a boost, as he averaged just under five yards per carry and ran for seven touchdowns in Auburn’s first six games this year.

#2 LSU Tigers (7-0 Overall, 3-0 in SEC West)

LSU is one of only two teams (#5 Oklahoma is the other) to average 50+ points per game this season. Last week’s 36-13 win @ Mississippi State was the first game all season that they’d been held under 40 points. This team can score with the best of them. And they have senior quarterback Joe Burrow to thank for that.

Burrow is a Heisman front-runner for a reason. He leads the nation or is second in the nation in the following categories: passing efficiency (2nd), passing yards (2nd), passing touchdowns (T-1st) and completion percentage (1st). He has yet to complete less than 71% of his passes in any game this year and has thrown an NCAA-leading 29 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He currently has the second-highest single-season passer efficiency rating (216.2) in college football history, just behind Jalen Hurts’ 226.2 rating from this year.

LSU’s backfield has been led by junior running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who has run for 547 yards and seven touchdowns on just over six yards per carry. Edwards-Helaire has thrived when he’s gotten 13+ carries, especially in their wins on the road against Texas (15 carries for 87 yards and 1 TD) and Vanderbilt (14 carries for 106 yards and 1 TD), and their win at home against Florida (13 carries for 134 yards and 2 TDs).

The most intriguing matchup of the night will be Auburn’s dominant offensive line against LSU’s suffocating run defense. Auburn will definitely be looking to use their explosive run game (11th in FBS with 239.6 YPG) to open things up and make things easier for Bo Nix. But that may be a tall task for Auburn’s offensive line, as LSU has the 10th-ranked rushing defense (93.3 YPG) in the country and has allowed just four rushing touchdowns this year.

The Pick

Ultimately, I think LSU’s offense will be too much for Auburn to handle, especially in Death Valley, where LSU has dominated Auburn as of late. I like LSU to win and cover against Auburn, with Joe Burrow cementing his place atop the Heisman race. This will set them up for a potential No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup when they travel to Alabama to take on the Crimson Tide in Week 11.

Betting Trends

LSU has won 9 straight HOME games against Auburn

LSU is 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 games

Auburn is 3-9 SU in their last 12 games against LSU

The HOME team is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 matchups

LSU -11 (-110)

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