The Auburn Tigers have been one of the most unpredictable teams in college football for about a decade now, with wild variance from one year to the next.
Betting on an Auburn season win total usually is akin to putting down your hard-earned cash at a roulette table in Vegas and hoping for red.
But for those interested, BetOnline posted Auburn’s 2019 season win total (over/under) at eight.
There has been one theme in the tumultuous last decade: Auburn football has failed to live up to lofty preseason expectations, and has excelled when expectations are low. So in some ways, determining whether Auburn will win more or fewer than eight games is the equivalent of deciding to stay or hit on a 16 in blackjack.
Tough schedule? Check. Talent across the board, including one of the best defensive lines in the country? Check. Gus Malzahn once again coaching for his job? Absolutely. Inexperience at quarterback? You got it.
Auburn should be big favorites in just five games (Kent State, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Tulane and Samford). As is the case almost every year for Auburn, against such a brutal schedule, the difference between 11-1 and 7-5 will be very small.
First SEC coach to be fired: Malzahn (+100)
According to MyBookie, Malzahn is the favorite to be the first SEC coach to be dismissed in 2019. If it weren’t for a large buyout, Auburn would have gotten rid of him after the 2018 season. The Tigers, a preseason top 10 team, finished 8-5. With Malzahn’s buyout shrinking, and a good chance that the Tigers start 2-4, this bet seems likely to materialize. Take the even money.
National title thoughts
Auburn championship runs come out of nowhere (hello, 2013). But do not expect this year’s Tigers to make noise nationally, especially with its schedule. Auburn plays at Florida, at LSU and at Texas A&M, and hosts face Georgia and Alabama 14 days apart. Auburn is +5000 to hoist the trophy in New Orleans on Jan. 13, 2020, but don’t waste your money. Auburn already is an underdog in five games, and would be an underdog in the SEC Championship Game against the East Division winner as of now.
Auburn (-3) vs. Oregon
For the second straight season, the Tigers will open against a Pac-12 power (Oregon in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas). Per BetOnline, Auburn is a three-point favorite over the Ducks. Malzahn will be operating his offense with a first-time starting quarterback, so the Tigers’ offensive game plan could be simple.
Auburn (+3) at Texas A&M
The Aggies have yet to beat Auburn at Kyle Field since joining the SEC. Expect Texas A&M to end that streak in Year 2 of the Jimbo Fisher era. It’s interesting to note that the line indicates these two teams are essentially equal in power ratings, as home college football teams generally get a field-goal advantage against the spread.
Auburn (+7.5) at Florida
The Gators are looking to contend for an SEC East title and to turn The Swamp back into one of the most feared places to play in college football. Dan Mullen and Malzahn are familiar with each other. I would stay away from this one until the week of the game. The line will likely fluctuate wildly between now and then.
Auburn (+7.5) at LSU
Oddsmakers don’t have much confidence in Auburn on the road. This is a large spread given LSU’s recent offensive history, even considering the return of starting QB Joe Burrow. But Auburn is nursing a nine-game losing streak in Baton Rouge, including some extremely painful losses for Malzahn. Ed Orgeron must have a voodoo doll of Auburn’s head coach.
Georgia at Auburn (+9)
Malzahn is 2-5 against the rival Bulldogs. Stay away from this wager right now. Georgia came within one play of a national championship two seasons ago and an SEC championship last season, and the Bulldogs have recruited as well as any program in the country under coach Kirby Smart. If this line dips under one touchdown at any point, grab Georgia.
Alabama at Auburn (+14)
This is a large spread considering the game is at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Especially considering all the turnover on Alabama’s coaching staff, Alabama’s early NFL draft entries and the Tide’s inconsistency on defense last year. This line could dip under one touchdown or rise to three touchdowns by the time these teams play, so there’s a chance for good value if you have a strong opinion on the market direction of either team.
It’s hard to envision Auburn winning nine or more games. If I had to put money on it, I would take the under. But I don’t see enough value to justify giving a sportsbook what’s essentially a seven-month loan on what very well could become a push.