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Auburn vs. Alabama Prediction: Picks, betting odds, analysis, more

 Billy Jones   in Football

A lot of controversy has been brewing around the future of first-year coach Bryan Harsin at Auburn, but he has a chance to make a statement win this Saturday at Jordan-Hare, where the Tide have lost 3 of their last 4, including the previous two meetings.

When Alabama has the ball

Offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien unlocked the Alabama offense in their 42 point performance over Arkansas last week. As hard as it is to believe, Alabama may have left points on the board.

They moved the ball to the tune of 671 yards of offense behind Bryce Young’s record-setting 559-yard passing performance but came up empty on three possessions inside the Arkansas 30.

Alabama moved away from their very pro-style scheme last week and started to bring back much of the Sarkisian-style motion that gave defenses across the country fits last year. This scheme worked to great success, and O’Brien will likely incorporate much of it into this week's game plan. 

Auburn defensive coordinator Derek Mason has done a solid job against the pass all season to the tune of 235 yards per game for opponents; however, his defense could not stop Leach’s Air Raid offense in the second half of their game two weeks ago.

What should give Auburn fans more concern is the defense’s lack of ability to hold its contain in last week's game. South Carolina’s ZaQuandre White and Kevin Harris were able to find the edge too many times on Auburn’s defense, allowing them to put forth a strong performance in their victory over the Tigers last week.

The Auburn defense will need much more discipline from outside linebackers Owen Pappoe and Chandler Wooten to contain Alabama’s speed, because losing contain against the Gamecocks is one thing but losing contain against the Crimson Tide is something different.

When Auburn has the ball

If Auburn wants to win, then one thing is obvious, they will need to run the ball. Tank Bigsby will need to have a massive day for the Tigers to win this game.

Auburn’s offensive scheme relies on pulling offensive lineman and tight ends to create holes for Bigsby to run into. This year, the Tigers have used this scheme to much success, but it may play into Alabama’s hands.

Will Anderson and Dallas Turner did a fantastic job of dominating a similar run scheme in LSU. They were able to move quickly and beat the pullers to the spot, and create negative plays.

Nick Saban will rely on these two players to help slow down the run plays and force Auburn into challenging passing scenarios that have been far less successful. If Auburn can get the run game going like Arkansas did, a deadly play action game will await the Crimson Tide. 

Controlling the line of scrimmage will be crucial to the battle between Alabama’s defense and Auburn’s offense which has been the deciding factor over the last few years in the always competitive Iron Bowl.

Auburn vs. Alabama Prediction

Nick Cole and Christopher Smith share their Auburn vs. Alabama prediction and betting picks for Week 13 of the 2021 college football season.