After an utter collapse at LSU, Auburn football has to rebound in a hurry in the second of three straight road games in SEC West play when it takes on Arkansas in Week 8.
Auburn (5-2 overall, 3-1 SEC) blew a 20-0 lead in a 27-23 loss to LSU last weekend, severely damaging the Tigers’ chances at College Football Playoff contention. Now, there’s zero room for error for coach Gus Malzahn as he returns to his home state to face Arkansas (2-4 overall, 0-3 SEC), which is coming off two lopsided losses.
The Tigers crushed Arkansas last season by a score of 56-3 in what was the high point of their winning streak. Now, they enter the matchup in a much different situation, especially after being shut out in the second half by an LSU defense that had struggled against quality opponents.
Auburn-Arkansas betting odds
Auburnis a 15.5-point favorite, according to MyBookie. The over/under is 52.5 points.
Auburn-Arkansas betting picks
Justin Ferguson: Auburn 41, Arkansas 14
Even after the loss to LSU, there’s plenty of reason to believe Auburn could pick up where it left off in the three-game SEC winning streak before last weekend. Arkansas is a beat-up team that has yet to win against a Power 5 foe. Auburn doesn’t have any glaring major weaknesses, but it doesn’t have any real strengths. Auburn should be able to move the ball in a balanced fashion without fears of a meltdown like it had in Baton Rouge. Defensively, the injury bug has bitten hard, but struggling Arkansas shouldn’t score much on this unit.
Lauren Shute: Auburn 41, Arkansas 10
Auburn desperately needs to get through this trip to Fayetteville with a win, and then crawl toward its bye week. The Tigers are falling apart in terms of injuries, but the approaching off week couldn’t be coming at a better time. Arkansas is also terrible, which will help Gus Malzahn’s team gain some much-needed momentum. Don’t expect Auburn to do anything too fancy, either. This is also a good opportunity to get Malik Willis and other young players some road experience if Auburn can solidify, and more importantly hold on to, a big lead.
Benjamin Wolk: Auburn 45, Arkansas 6
Second verse, same as the first. OK, maybe the drubbing won’t be quite to the extreme of the 56-3 beatdown a season ago, but I don’t expect it to be too far off. Devastating losses can make a team do one of two things — build or fall apart — as Stephen Roberts said. If this Auburn team has the character I think it does, then I don’t anticipate the Tigers will have any problem rebounding from the LSU defeat. Nobody will want to face this angry Auburn team for the rest of the season, especially a less-talented Arkansas squad.
Zac Blackerby: Auburn 31, Arkansas 13
Auburn bounces back after a bad loss at LSU. Malzahn has had no issue beating bad teams, and Arkansas is a bad team. Expect the play calling to be back and the players to be ready to make a statement. Also, be ready for everyone to say, “Well, it’s just Arkansas.” Tigers need some positive momentum heading into the bye week.
Auburn-Arkansas betting preview
- Still on top: Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson leads the nation in rushing touchdowns this season with 13. He picked up 12 of those in a span of 13 quarters, stretching from the start of the win against Missouri to the first quarter of the loss at LSU.
- Ran all over the Razorbacks: Last season, Auburn rushed for 543 yards against Arkansas, which was the second most in school history against an SEC opponent. The record — 545 — came against Missouri in the 2013 SEC Championship Game.
- Top 10 on defense: Auburn ranks in the top 10 nationally in both scoring defense (ninth) and yards allowed per play (eighth) through the first seven weeks of the season. The Tigers haven’t finished that high in both categories under any of their last three coaches, dating back to 2009.