This week’s Book it Mann takes a look at Auburn (-3) at Florida. Last week, the write-up featured the Virginia and Notre Dame game. I suggested taking the points with the Cavaliers. As I predicted, Notre Dame came out flat after the hard-nosed game at Georgia the week prior. Unfortunately, Virginia not only coughed up their halftime lead with FIVE second half turnovers but also blew the cover. I am not making excuses, but five second half turnovers, including a “scoop and score” is difficult to handicap. If I could to place this bet again I would.
As for the other bets, they did very well. Duke was a blowout 2* winner on the money line. Arkansas, Arizona State and Northwestern also cashed. The only other loser was Nebraska who got trounced by the Ohio State Buckeye machine. This brings the record on these plays to 16-15 with several ML winners on the underdogs.
With a true freshman quarterback at the helm, Auburn is averaging 0.512 points per play (19th nationally) and 6.1 yards per play. QB Bo Nix has thrown for a solid 7.84 yards per attempt and has taken care of the football with only two interceptions. The offensive line is paving the way for 5.4 yards per carry. Against Texas A&M, Auburn was able to go on the road and run for 4.6 yards per carry. That is superior to what Clemson did on the ground against the same Aggie defense.
This Auburn offense lacks some of the explosive capability of the elite passing offenses, but is exceptional at keeping the chains moving. They have stayed ahead of schedule and converted 49.3% of their third down tries. That ranks 15th nationally. This Tigers offense is strong, and can become much better as Nix develops.
The defense could end up close to the best in the nation. Currently, Auburn is giving up 4.6 yards per play and 0.246 points per play. The 0.246 points per play ranks 19th nationally and they have kept some solid offenses out of the endzone.
One of the best defensive lines in college football is anchored by likely 1st round pick Derrick Brown. At 325 pounds, it is difficult to move that man away from the play. Brown and his crew are only giving up 3.1 yards per carry. It will be a challenge for Florida to run the ball on this defensive line.
With the injury to QB Feleipe Franks, the Gators have turned to junior Kyle Trask. Trask has been remarkable so far. He is averaging 9.8 yards per attempt and already has 5 touchdowns through the air in one and a half games. Unfortunately for Trask, this Auburn defense is much superior than that of Kentucky or Towson.
As a team, Florida is averaging 0.470 points per play and 6.4 yards per play. The points average ranks 34th and the yards per play rank 21st. The Miami defense that Florida faced is underrated. Aside from the Canes, the opponents have not been strong defensively. The 3.5 yards per carry gained by the Gators on the season suggests Florida will need to win this game through the air.
This side of the ball is the one that will need to carry the Gators to a win and cover. The Florida defense has been very stout allowing only 0.208 points per play. This ranks 10th nationally. Allowing only 4.5 yards per play (20th), Florida is dominating opposing offenses. However, the offenses that Florida has beat up on have been horrific. The most impressive performance was against a lackluster Vols team that they held to 5.4 yards per pass and 3.3 yards per carry.
Facing the Auburn offense, Florida is going to need to rattle the freshman quarterback early. If the Gators can generate some negative plays on first and second down, then they will be able to keep this one close.
This line seemed to be fishy, so I tried to find a reason to like Florida in this spot. The Gators are at home and “The Swap” is a very tough place to play. The easy argument for Florida is that their stout defense will pressure Auburn’s young quarterback and force mistakes on the road.
I disagree with the thought process of why we should back the home dog. Nix has already been through the fire on the road at Texas A&M. Florida is going to struggle on offense against the front 7 for Auburn. The Florida defense has been solid but is untested. In the second half Auburn will wear them down for a double digit victory.
Utah State +27.5 ⭐⭐
TCU ML ⭐
Boston College +6.5 ⭐
Boston College ML ⭐
Northwestern +7 ⭐
Georgia Tech +10.5 ⭐
Michigan St +20.5 ⭐
Georgia Southern -9.5 ⭐
Georgia Southern -6 1H ⭐