Florida football: How to bet Week 6 vs Auburn Tigers

GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 03: Tyler Badie #1 of the Missouri Tigers is tackled by Jabari Zuniga #92 of the Florida Gators during the game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 03: Tyler Badie #1 of the Missouri Tigers is tackled by Jabari Zuniga #92 of the Florida Gators during the game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

Oddsmakers currently have Auburn favored by three points. I recommend betting on Florida football +3. If you have +2.5 at your book, buy the hook.

Watching games without reflecting about them is a surefire way to goad yourself into placing ill-advised wagers. Fueling the line movement in favor of Auburn over Florida football is its recent dismantling of Mississippi State in front of unreflective bettors on national television.

But Auburn’s dismantling of Mississippi State is really unimpressive. The Bulldogs lost a ton of top-level talent on defense to the NFL and their lack of ability already showed when they allowed 28 points to Louisiana and 31 to Kansas State with both teams accruing 150-160 rushing yards.

Mississippi State was, furthermore, a salivating opponent for Auburn because the Bulldogs love to run the ball and lack a confident passer. This offensive style plays right into the teeth of Auburn’s elite run defense. Mississippi couldn’t sustain drives and its emaciated defensive quality didn’t suffice to stop Auburn’s ground game.

So forget last week’s 56-23 spectacle and let’s dig into the game-specific match-up. The most common pro-Auburn myth is that the Tigers will cover on the basis of their superiority in the trenches.

Yes, Florida is breaking in four new offensive linemen and Auburn’s defensive line is stacked with potentially high-level NFL talent. But Florida’s weakness is in run protection and Auburn’s defensive strength is in stopping the run.

This specification is crucial because the Gators can’t run against anybody, anyways. They know that they need to win by being pass-first. In other words, Florida is not Mississippi State because Florida’s offense will not play into the hands of Auburn’s defense.

All SEC Football
All SEC Football /

All SEC Football

When you consider the primary importance of UF’s pass attack, then the line of scrimmage, popularly deemed a crucial point favoring Auburn, seems like a significantly more even battle. The Gators rank 67th in sack rate allowed while Auburn’s defense ranks 59th in sack rate.

It’s a well-known fact that Auburn’s defense is to be had through the air, which is why the Tigers rank 116th in opposing pass play percentage. Florida benefits from starting a quarterback in Kyle Trask who’s not the runner that Feleipe Franks was, but also doesn’t need to be. Trask is more accurate and makes better decisions, which is why he’s completing 77.3 percent of his passes. He’ll benefit from a very deep veteran receiving crew that features six pass catchers with over 100 yards and two with over 200.

The Tigers don’t get many sacks and have only one interception on the season. So expect Trask to sustain drives by throwing to any part of the field. While Florida still misses Kadarius Toney, Freddie Swain remains an explosive option in the short-passing game. Mullen will creatively get him into space where he can display his well-above-average agility.

Josh Hammond is arguably even more important, especially if Tiger pass rushers ever do threaten. Trask is 28-for-30 for 217 yards on pass attempts of 0-10 yards and he shares the bulk of that success with Hammond, who loves to run underneath routes and thrives after the catch. He’ll exploit Auburn linebackers and nickel corner, whose PFF grades substantiate their vulnerability in pass coverage. Plus, he shares Swain’s higher-level acceleration after catching a screen.

On the other side, Auburn’s offensive line ranks 88th nationally and 13th in the SEC in tackles for loss allowed. This ranking pits the Tigers equal to the likes of Southern Mississippi and New Mexico State.

This vulnerability of Auburn’s protection unit gives UF an edge in the trenches because Todd Grantham is an expert on creating havoc. He couldn’t ask for better personnel with Jabari Zuniga returning, which will discourage Auburn from double-teaming Jonathan Greenard.

Both defensive ends help explain why Florida ranks third nationally in creating havoc on 25 percent of snaps. They rank fourth nationally in tackles for loss and second behind Ohio State in sack percentage.

Grantham can be so aggressive because he trusts his cornerbacks in isolation. Florida’s secondary will become deep again because one of the nation’s top corners in C.J. Henderson is expected to rejoin the starting lineup.

Florida’s ability to stop Tiger ball-carriers at or behind the line of scrimmage will generate more third-and-long situations where Bo Nix will perforce become more of a passer. Saturday will be Nix’s hardest game measured by the defensive pressure plus road crowd hostility that he’ll face.

While the Auburn hype opens up added betting value on the Gators, Florida’s offense will play to its strength in its pass attack while the Gator defense, through its frequent havoc, puts Auburn’s offense into unpropitious situations.

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Betting Record: 3-2