Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:01 AM

Auburn at Alabama

The 2018 edition of the Iron Bowl will take place at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Eastern. As of Friday night, most books had Alabama (11-0 straight up, 7-4 against the spread) listed as a 24.5-point home favorite with a total 53. Gamblers had the chance to take Auburn on the money line for a 13/1 payout at The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas. A few global spots like [...] had the Tigers with 14/1 odds to win outright.

The Crimson Tide, which covered the spread for first-half wagers in each of its first 10 games, failed to do so last week when a walk-off field goal knotted the score between Alabama and The Citadel at 10-10 going into intermission. For first-half bets vs. Auburn, most books have the Tide favored by 15.5 points.

Nick Saban’s bunch scored four TDs in the third quarter to put to bed any upset hopes for the Bulldogs, who nonetheless took the cash easily in a 50-17 loss as 53.5-point road underdogs. The 67 combined points elevated ‘over’ the 62.5-point total when Alabama’s Brian Robinson scored on a two-yard TD run with 4:25 remaining.

Tua Tagovailoa completed 18-of-22 passes for 340 yards and three TDs without an interception. The heavy favorite to win the Heisman Trophy also rushed four times for 37 yards and one TD. Damien Harris rushed for 83 yards on just seven attempts, while Najee Harris had 51 rushing yards on four carries.

Henry Ruggs III hauled in six receptions for 114 yards, while Jaylen Waddle caught six balls for 90 yards and two TDs. Jerry Jeudy had six grabs for 77 yards and Irv Smith Jr. turned his lone receptions into a 68-yard TD.

Alabama has won each of its 11 games by margins of 22 points or more. Saban’s team has home wins over Texas A&M (45-23), Missouri (39-10) and Mississippi State (24-0), in addition to road scalps at Ole Miss (62-7), at Arkansas (65-31), at Tennessee (58-21) and at LSU (29-0).

Tagovailoa has been incredible and if not for getting pulled so early and nearly every one of his team’s games, he’d have video-game stats. And his stats – as is – are nasty as hell. The true sophomore signal caller from Hawaii has completed 69.2 percent of his passes for 2,865 yards with a 31/2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Tagovailoa also has 185 rushing yards, four TDs and a 4.5 yards-per-carry average.

Jeudy has been sensational with 51 receptions for 1,002 yards and 10 TDs. Waddle has 34 catches for 617 yards and five TDs, while Ruggs has 34 grabs for 613 yards and eight TDs. Smith has caught 32 balls for 587 yards and seven TDs.

Senior RB Damien Harris, who has been upgraded to ‘probable’ vs. Auburn after suffering a concussion vs. The Citadel, has run for a team-best 678 yards and seven TDs while averaging 6.3 YPC. Najee Harris has 639 rushing yards, four TDs and a 7.0 YPC average, and Josh Jacobs has 384 rushing yards and nine TDs with a 4.7 YPC average.

Damien Harris has 16 catches for 166 yards and Jacobs has 11 catches for 118 yards and one TD.

Alabama is 6-0 SU and 3-3 ATS at home. Meanwhile, Auburn is 1-2 both SU and ATS in three road assignments.

Alabama is ranked third in the country in total offense and scoring with its 48.7 points-per-game average. The Crimson Tide is No. 7 in passing yards and No. 28 in rushing yards.

Damien Harris has been upgraded to ‘probable’ after sustaining a concussion vs. The Citadel. After missing back-to-back games with a sprained ankle, back-up QB Jalen Hurts returned last week and is listed as ‘probable’ vs. AU.

Alabama is ranked No. 7 in the nation in total defense, No. 10 in pass defense, No. 17 at defending the run and third in scoring ‘D’ (13.1 points per game). Senior DE Isaiah Buggs has 36 tackles, a team-high 9.5 sacks, three tackles for loss, six QB hurries, three passes broken up and a pair of forced fumbles. Sophomore DE Quinnen Williams has produced 55 tackles, nine TFL’s, six sacks, nine QB hurries and one PBU.

Auburn (7-4 SU, 5-6 ATS) has won three of its last four games both SU and ATS, with the lone blemish coming in a 27-10 loss at Georgia two weeks ago. The Tigers bounced back in their home finale last week by stroking Liberty 53-0 as 29.5-point ‘chalk.’ Junior QB Jarrett Stidham completed 12-of-18 passes for 178 yards and two TDs without an interception.

Kam Martin ran for a team-best 116 yards on 17 carries. True freshman WR Seth Williams had five receptions for 109 yards and one TD, while Sal Cannella had a 22-yard TD grab.

Stidham has connected on 61.6 percent of his throws for 2,294 yards with a 12/4 TD-INT ratio. The former five-star recruit who played well in three starts for Baylor as a true freshman has three rushing scores as well.

JaTarvious Whitlow has run for a team-high 716 yards and four TDs with a 5.8 YPC average. Martin has rushed for 388 yards and one TD while averaging 4.3 YPC.

Stidham’s favorite target is Ryan Davis, a third-team All-SEC selection in 2017. Davis has 60 receptions for 508 yards, while Williams has caught 24 balls for 479 yards and five TDs.

Auburn is ranked 10th in the nation in scoring defense, limiting foes to only 16.6 PPG. Senior MLB Deshaun Davis is the leader of this unit, producing 102 tackles, 10.5 TFL’s, two sacks, three QB hurries and two PBU. Sophomore DE Nick Coe has enjoyed a breakout campaign, recording 27 tackles, seven sacks, 6.5 TFL’s, three QB hurries and two forced fumbles.

Auburn took its other three losses vs. LSU (22-21), at Mississippi State (23-9) and vs. Tennessee (30-24). The best wins for Gus Malzahn’s club have come vs. Washington (21-16 in Atlanta) vs. Texas A&M (28-24 in come-from-behind fashion). Auburn has been a road underdog 11 times during Malzahn’s six-year tenure, posting a 4-7 spread record. This is only the seventh time AU has been a double-digit underdog on Malzahn’s watch and it is the richest underdog number he’s seen. The Tigers are 3-3 ATS in six games as double-digit ‘dogs with Malzahn.

When these teams met at Jordan-Hare Stadium on The Plains last season, Auburn knocked off previously-undefeated ‘Bama by a 26-14 count as a six-point home underdog. The 40 combined points dropped ‘under’ the 47-point total for the third consecutive ‘under’ in this series.

Before the Tide’s loss at AU last November, it had won three straight games in this bitter rivalry since the kick-six TD win for AU in walk-off fashion back in 2013. Stidham connected on 21-of-28 passes for 237 yards, and Kerryon Johnson ran for 104 yards and one TD. Jeudy had a 36-yard TD catch in the losing effort, but Hurts threw for merely 112 yards.

The ‘under’ is 8-3 overall for Auburn, 3-0 in its road assignments. The Tigers have watched their games average combined scores of 45.5 PPG.

The ‘over’ is 7-4 overall for ‘Bama, 5-2 in its home games. The Tide has seen its games average combined scores of 61.8 PPG.

CBS will provide television coverage.

Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.

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