Alabama is the strong favorite as they take on Auburn this week. Photo by @AlabamaFTBL (Twitter).
- Alabama is a 23.5-point favorite against Auburn in this year’s Iron Bowl
- The Crimson Tide have won six of the last ten Iron Bowls, but the Tigers have won two of the last three
- Read below for a deeper look at this matchup in one of college football’s best rivalries
The Iron Bowl has been one of the most exciting and important rivalries in college football for the last decade, but in 2020, it looks like things may be a bit different. The Tigers have had an inconsistent 2020, and Alabama has been the best team in the country by a mile.
This rivalry does have a history of chaos, but Alabama is a 23.5-point favorite for a good reason.
Iron Bowl Opening Odds
|Auburn Tigers||+23.5 (-105)||+1040||N/A|
|Alabama Crimson Tide||-23.5 (-115)||-2500||N/A|
Odds taken Nov. 22 from FanDuel
Tide Roll Into Iron Bowl
Alabama has been historically dominant in 2020. They haven’t played a single close game, and that trend continued against Kentucky. The Tide were victorious by a score of 63-3, and the 14-0 mark in the fourth quarter is a sign of a team that is better than everybody else from head to toe.
It was especially impressive to see the Tide win by such a big margin with one of the less productive Mac Jones days. Of course, 16 of 32 for 230 yards, two touchdowns and a pick is not a bad day, but it wasn’t the usual explosive stat line we’ve seen from him. The Wildcats have been a tough out for some very good SEC teams, including Auburn, in 2020, and it is telling that you have to nitpick Alabama’s performance against them to find any negatives.
There was early-season concern about the Alabama defense after it allowed 48 points from Ole Miss, but those concerns have been summarily shut down since then. The Tide have given up a combined 20 points in their last three games, and they picked off Georgia’s Stetson Bennett three times the week after that Ole Miss game. Auburn certainly poses more of an offensive threat than Kentucky or Mississippi State have in the last two games, but this defense comes into the Iron Bowl with all the momentum in the world.
Tigers as Chaotic as Ever
The start of the 2020 season was not a good one for Auburn. They lost two of their first five games, and they got some serious officiating help in the three victories during that span over Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Arkansas. In true Auburn fashion, however, things never stay consistent for long. In the last two weeks, the Tigers have been firing on all cylinders.
Two weeks ago they dominated LSU by a score of 48-11, and on Saturday they won handily against Tennessee, 30-17. Bo Nix threw for a touchdown, DJ Williams rushed for one, and Smoke Monday took back a 100-yard pick six to make the difference against the Volunteers.
Auburn is having an up-and-down year when it comes to their performance on the field, but they’ve ultimately found a way to win a a lot of tough SEC games. This Tiger team shares that chaotic, playing-with-house-money feeling coming into the Iron Bowl that has driven many victorious Auburn teams in recent years.
Where Will This Line Move?
The biggest key in this series has been home-field advantage. Auburn was victorious at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2010 with Cam Newton, and that was the last time that the Tigers won this game away from Jordan-Hare. Alabama won’t have a big edge with the limited capacity, but that’s not why it’s relevant. The big deal here is simply the fact that Auburn won’t be at home.
Auburn’s success in this series, post-Newton, has been a combination of a team on a hot streak, and the kind of magical, chaotic, impactful home-field atmosphere that only exists in college football.
2021 CFP National Championship Odds Tracker
For this year’s Iron Bowl, don’t expect the money to pile in on the Tigers. Auburn’s good, but they’re not elite at all, especially up front. Alabama is absolutely rolling, and they have a talent edge at almost every position. In an even-numbered year, where there’s no threat of Jordan-Hare chaos, a dominant Alabama victory feels like the popular sentiment.
With four years as radio host with The Ticket Sports Network and various written contributions to publications such as Fansided, Southbound and Down, and Last Word on Sports, Jake Mitchell comes to SBD with NFL, NBA, NCAAM, NCAAF and MMA know-how you can count on.