As if Auburn’s season-opener against Washington in Atlanta wasn’t tough enough, news that deep-threat senior receiver Will Hastings suffered a torn ACL in a scrimmage this spring leaves Jarrett Stidham and Gus Malzahn’s offense now two receivers short heading into the 2018 season. Eli Stove, a receiver the Tigers like to use on jet sweeps and bubble screens, also suffered a torn ACL earlier this spring.
Auburn opened up a four-point favorite over national championship contender Washington in early Week One betting action and not having two veterans could impact not only an offense that already has a list of questions to answer, but the point spread as well.
While Auburn will have to navigate one of the tougher schedules in the country, (most services have Auburn’s strength of schedule in the 10 to 20 range) it will do so as a favorite in 10 of 12 regular season games. The Tigers will remain a small favorite in their opener with the Huskies despite the aforementioned injuries and Auburn’s third string would be a favorite over Alabama State.
LSU travels to Auburn for a solid SEC opener, but will do so as a double-digit underdog. The Tigers from Louisiana may have more questions to answer than any team in the conference.
After LSU, Auburn hosts an Arkansas squad with a first-year coach and a suspect defense. The Tigers will be two-plus touchdown favorites over the Razorbacks before facing Southern Miss (22-23 point underdog) as a monster favorite.
The Tigers will make their first true road trip to play a Mississippi State team full of fresh faces. The Bulldogs would be an underdog here even if Dan Mullen and Nick Fitzgerald stuck around. As it stands, the Tigers again project as a double-digit favorite in Starkville.
Tennessee and Jeremy Pruitt aren’t going to travel to Auburn as anything less than two touchdown underdogs the following week. Ole Miss has the offense to keep up with most teams, but a porous defense will set the Tigers up again as two touchdown favorites on the road in Oxford to close October.
At this point in Auburn’s season, any number of unpredictable events could have taken place. Still, the Tigers have a very real chance of entering their bye week at 8-0 – the oddsmakers will expect them to.
To begin the home stretch, Texas A&M will make the trip to Auburn as an underdog. That shouldn’t lull the Tigers into a false sense of security. Auburn won last year in College Station as a 14.5 point favorite putting the nail in Kevin Sumlin’s coffin. Clearly, the Aggies will be a different team behind Jimbo Fisher, regardless, Auburn should be nothing less than a double-digit favorite.
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