Alabama will be a favorite in the Iron Bowl, but it looks like the Crimson Tide will only be a slight favorite. According to ESPN, Alabama is favored by three points, a line that dropped seven points after Auburn’s performance against Georgia. This is what Westgate listed the spread at prior to the Week 12 games. An official opening line will most likely be set on Sunday.
The two teams will kick off the latest installment in one of sport’s biggest rivalries on Saturday, November 25th at 3:30 p.m. on CBS.
Given Auburn plays Louisiana-Monroe while Alabama takes on Mercer, fans can expect the opening line to be around the three points it is listed at now. Heavy will be updating this once the official betting info is released.
Westgate SuperBook assistant manager Ed Salmons told ESPN the Alabama injuries were also a factor in the close spread.
“It’s going to be a struggle,” Salmons told ESPN. “It’s no gimme game [for Alabama].”
Let’s take a look at the numbers, and how the two rivals match up for the 2017 Iron Bowl.
What the Numbers Say
Alabama likely enters the rivalry matchup a perfect 11-0, but are just 4-6 against the spread. Games have been split evenly when it comes to the point total with five games hitting both the over and under category.
Assuming Auburn defeats Louisiana-Monroe, the Tigers will enter the Iron Bowl at 9-2 straight up, while Auburn is 4-3-3 against the spread this season. Seven out of their 10 games have hit the over thanks to the Auburn offense hitting their stride under Jarrett Stidham.
Both teams bring top 10 offenses into the matchup as Alabama is ranked No. 7 in points per game at 39.9 points, while Auburn is No. 9 with 38.7 points. The offensive success of both teams have been led by their rushing attacks. Alabama averages 270 yards per game, which puts them at No. 8 in the country, while Auburn’s 246 rushing yards ranks 14th.
The data shows just how talented Auburn and Alabama are as both teams are ranked in the top 10 in offense and defense. Alabama has the No. 1 ranked defense as the unit is allowing just 11.2 points a game, while Auburn ranks No. 10 with the defense giving up 17.7 points per game.
SB Nation’s S&P+ analytical rankings have Alabama at No. 1 while Auburn ranks No. 6.
Stidham has thrown for 2,210 yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions while completing 67 percent of his passes. Stidham has been especially on point in his last two SEC matchups against Texas A&M and Georgia. Stidham threw six touchdowns without an interception while completing over 70 percent of his passes.
Jalen Hurts has given Alabama a dual-threat at quarterback making it difficult for defenses to prepare for the Crimson Tide’s offense. Hurts has thrown for 1,648 yards, 11 touchdowns and just one interception while completing 60 percent of his passes. Hurts has also rushed for 656 yards and eight touchdowns.
Alabama leads the Iron Bowl series with an all-time record of 45-35-1. The Crimson Tide have won three straight matchups against Auburn, and five of the last six Iron Bowls.