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The biggest game of the weekend kicks off Saturday afternoon in the Swamp as seventh-ranked Auburn heads to Gainesville to take on the tenth-ranked Gators. Originally opening up as 2.5-point favorites, the Tigers have seen a flood of money come in pushing the number to where it currently sits at three. In addition to Auburn money coming in, the total has also seen a fair amount of action as it has risen two points since opening at 46.5. In what’s expected to be a hot and humid atmosphere, let’s take a deeper dive into this SEC matchup to identify an edge.
Auburn Tigers @ Florida Gators
Saturday, October 5th, 2019 – 3:30 pm EST
Florida +3, O/U 48.5 (via PointsBet)
Freshman quarterback Bo Nix has seen steady improvement since the Tigers’ season opener against Oregon. In Auburn’s last time out, against Mississippi State, Nix had his best game to date, passing for 335 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 56 yards and an additional score. For the most part, Nix has had to just manage games and has relied heavily on one of the best rushing attacks in the country. Through five games, Auburn has rushed for 1,255 yards from scrimmage (tied for sixth in FBS) and 17 touchdowns (third). Sophomore running back JaTarvious Whitlow leads the way in the ground attack, rushing for 463 yards and seven scores to this point in the season. The Tigers remain one of the only unbeaten teams both straight up and ATS at a perfect 5-0 on both accounts.
After a brutal season-ending injury to Feleipe Franks in Week 3 against Kentucky, the Gators’ season was seemingly immediately in jeopardy. Junior quarterback Kyle Trask had other plans for Gator Nation, however. In his two starts, Trask set a school record throwing for 18 straight completed passes on his way to a 77.3 completion percentage. As expected, the Gators’ defense has been strong through five games, allowing just 281.2 yards per game while being tied for second in the FBS in sacks with 24. Florida should get an additional boost this week with the return of two of their best defenders from injury with cornerback CJ Henderson and defensive end Jamari Zuniga. The Gators will need all the firepower possible on Saturday afternoon, as they take a significant step up in competition when they welcome in an Auburn team with College Football Playoff ambitions.
Not only has Auburn yet to drop a game against the spread, but they have faced the sixth toughest strength of schedule through the first five weeks of the season. They’ve also knocked off two top-25 teams on the road while Florida has played next to no one, with two of their wins coming over FCS teams. Like the Gators, Auburn’s defense has been stellar through the first part of this young season, allowing 17.2 points per game. Jeremiah Dinson leads this experienced defense with 34 tackles to go along with two sacks and an interception. While Trask and Nix have been steady and largely done what has been asked of them, they both face different defensive animals on Saturday. In what will be the biggest game of either of their careers, I expect their coaches to roll out conservative game plans and hope for a big play or two to make the difference.