The 2013 Iron Bowl is one of the most anticipated regular-season showdowns, as No. 1 Alabama will travel to take on No. 4 Auburn Saturday with everything on the line.
The Tigers will be looking to knock off the back-to-back defending champions and prevent the Crimson Tide from reaching the SEC championship. It’s a lofty goal, and the home team certainly isn’t favored to pull off the feat.
Keep reading for a look at the opening line for this epic matchup, plus information on where you can watch all of the action.
If you are looking to bet the contest, I’ve also provided some advice in case you are still unsure of which way to lean ahead of Saturday’s big game.
When: Saturday, Nov. 30
Kickoff Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Ala.
Spread: Alabama -10.5 (via ScoresAndOdds.com)
The undefeated Crimson Tide have unsurprisingly opened as a double-digit favorite to win this edition of the Iron Bowl. They have been favored in 53 straight contests and six straight regular-season games against Auburn.
As per Andrew Gribble of AL.com, the favorite in six of the last 10 Iron Bowl matchups has covered, meaning ‘Bama has a tad bit of history on its side.
The Tigers are definitely getting some credit from the oddsmakers, though, as this team is fortunate to even be ranked this highly and in position to make a national championship run at this juncture in the season.
Remember, Auburn needed the “Miracle on the Plains” to pull out a come-from-behind 43-38 victory against Georgia, in which quarterback Nick Marshall heaved up a prayer of a deep ball that was tipped into Ricardo Louis’ hands for the game-winning touchdown.
Those prayers won’t be answered against Nick Saban and his Tide, as they are a meticulous, disciplined machine that capitalize on nearly every mistake and rarely commit any for their opponent to take advantage of.
‘Bama has a total of 17 takeaways in its 11 games in 2013, and it has only given the rock away 12 times in that span. Auburn has the same amount of takeaways, but it has been a tad more careless with the football, committing 15 turnovers in 11 games.
Considering a single turnover could be the difference between a win and a loss this coming Saturday, ball security is going to be a focal point for both teams.
With that in mind, expect both teams to attempt to control the pace and keep the opposing defense on the field. Both programs feature top rushing offenses that are capable of putting points on the board, plus elite defenses that have been keeping the opposition off the scoreboard.
The Tigers have been especially dominant on the ground, currently ranked No. 2 in the nation with an average of 320.3 yards per game. The Tide are No. 24 in that category, rushing for an average of 211.5 yards per contest.
These teams will be using their rushers to bleed the clock and move the chains, which will likely result in a low-scoring affair—especially considering the defenses involved
Which team will cover?
Alabama has the edge in that department, leading the country in points allowed with 9.3 per game. Auburn’s defense has been a tad more lax, conceding 22.0 points per matchup.
Regardless, it’s hard to see either team pulling away in this one, which is why the Tigers are where the smart money will be come Saturday. Bettors should be quick to back the under—when it becomes available—and Auburn if they are looking to cash a ticket after the 2013 Iron Bowl.
Expect nothing less than a back-and-forth battle that will be won in the trenches and decided by a touchdown or less.
Prediction: Alabama 21, Auburn 17