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Auburn vs. Texas A&M prediction, pick and latest odds for Saturday's game between the No. 12 Tigers and No. 13 Aggies. Alex Kirshner gives us his pick

Auburn vs. Texas A&M Prediction, Pick Against the Spread, and Latest Odds

Spread: Texas A&M -4

Total: 50

Game time: Saturday, 3 p.m. ET

Where to Watch: CBS

Auburn Tigers vs. Texas A&M Aggies odds

Auburn vs. Texas A&M Prediction

Auburn and Texas A&M are long shots to varying degrees in the SEC West race, but both enter November with at least a nominal chance to win what is usually college football’s hardest division. Auburn controls its own destiny but would almost surely have to win out, which would include an Iron Bowl upset of Alabama on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. A&M would have to win out and get some help, perhaps including from the Auburn team it plays this week. And both teams are reasonably healthy, though A&M is still without starting QB Haynes King, who got hurt in September. So, Saturday shapes up as a strength-on-strength fight with lots on the line.

Both teams are hot. A&M is on a three-game winning streak that started with a home upset of then-No. 1 Alabama in Week 6 and continued with blowouts of two of the league’s worst teams, Missouri and South Carolina. Auburn has won four of five with the only loss in that span coming to the demolition machine that is current No. 1 Georgia. The Tigers have flashed kind of boring competence during this stretch, a far cry from their usual chaotic on-field character.

Getting more than a field goal on the road, I think Bryan Harsin’s team is a good bet to cover. I picked the wrong side in Auburn’s steady win over Ole Miss on Saturday, mostly because I didn’t believe enough in the Tigers’ defense. This time, I’m going to believe in that defense –– although not specifically so that I can take Auburn against the spread.

The Auburn defense has been dialed in for a while now. In the Tigers’ last five games, the only team to move the ball on them with any efficiency was Georgia, and in retrospect, the Tigers held up pretty well in that matchup. (UGA’s 6.2 yards per play were its third-lowest figure of the season.) Otherwise, Derek Mason’s defense has really ground up LSU (which has a bad defense but a decent offense), Arkansas (which has a solidly competent offense), and Ole Miss (which has one of the best offenses in the country). A linebacker group led by Owen Pappoe and Zakoby McClain has been ferocious, and Auburn’s won a series of low-scoring affairs.

A&M has come a long way from its early-season dregs, which included losses to Arkansas and Mississippi State back when backup QB Zach Calzada couldn’t put drives together. The Aggies have been much better lately, and their win over Alabama (41-38) proved they can score on ultra-talented defenses. But I’m not all that sure that the Bama win was not a one-off explosion. In the two games since, against the horrendous defense for Mizzou and the so-so defense for South Carolina, A&M’s yards-per-play figures have been slightly down from in the Bama game. They’ve scored 79 points in those games, but I don’t think we should regularly expect them to sit in the mid-30s because they blacked out against Bama and then drubbed two bottomfeeders. It seems reasonable to me that Auburn should hold A&M somewhere in the mid- or high 20s.

By a different token, the A&M defense has been nasty most of this season, and I don’t see any reason that shouldn’t continue. Auburn has faced two elite defenses this year (Penn State and Georgia) and struggled to put drives together against both of them, with particular difficulty against Georgia’s all-time great unit. I doubt Bo Nix will find many explosive pass plays against the Aggie pass rush and secondary, and I would guess the Tank Bigsby-led Auburn rushing game has one of its less efficient outings. I imagine Auburn landing in the low 20s.

Neither team is much of a tempo-pusher. Auburn is 48th in FBS in plays run per game, and A&M is 92nd. Both teams thrive on their defenses, and there’s enough reason to think the one offense that’s been explosive recently (A&M’s) might be less so in this game.

Auburn vs. Texas A&M Pick

Article Author


Alex Kirshner covers college football for the Moon Crew newsletter. He is a co-author of The Sinful Seven: Sci-Fi Western Legends of the NCAA, and he lives in Washington, D.C.


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