Auburn vs. Tennessee prediction, line: More pain for Volunteers

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I initially made Auburn an 18-point favorite for its home game on Saturday versus Tennessee. After hearing Gus Malzahn’s press conference on Monday when he acknowledged that a few of the 10 players who tested positive for COVID-19 last week might not play, I adjusted my number to -16.

I still feel like there’s plenty of value with Auburn at the current -11 at BetMGM. The Tigers are off their best performance of the season in a 48-11 home win over LSU. They also picked up a solid win at Ole Miss by a 35-28 count on Oct. 24.

Malzahn’s team is going for its third straight win and simultaneously seeking revenge for a 30-24 loss as a 14.5-point home favorite vs. Tennessee in 2018. Meanwhile, the Volunteers are hoping to end a four-game losing streak both straight up and against the spread.

Since taking a 21-17 lead to halftime at Georgia on Oct. 10, Tennessee has been outscored 133-37 in its last 14 quarters. After the 44-21 loss in Athens, Jeremy Pruitt’s squad lost 34-7 at home vs. Kentucky, 48-17 at home vs. Alabama and 24-13 at Arkansas.

During the four-game slide, Tennessee has averaged just 14.5 points per game and played four different quarterbacks. The offense was blanked in the second half after leading the Razorbacks 13-0 at intermission.

Auburn quarterback Bo Nix is a completely different player at home. He has seven touchdown passes without an interception in three games at Jordan-Hare Stadium in 2020. Nix has three elite weapons in veteran wide receivers Anthony Schwartz, Seth Williams and Eli Stove, a trio that’s combined for 87 receptions, 1,134 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.

Auburn true freshman running back Tank Bigsby was appropriately named by his parents. Bigsby has 503 rushing yards, five touchdowns and a 5.7 yards-per-carry average.

Judging Tennessee by its last four performances, Pruitt has lost his team and his job security. That’s only going to get worse Saturday when Auburn wins by at least two touchdowns, and I won’t be surprised if it gets ugly for the Vols on The Plains.

The play: Auburn, -11.

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