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SEC Championship Game Preview: Missouri vs. Auburn

When the oddsmakers initially released the line in Saturday’s SEC Championship game between Missouri and Auburn, my instinct was to think that the wrong team was favored.  After conducting the requisite research and analysis, together with consulting with most talented sports analytic experts in the industry, I am convinced that the wrong team is favored in this game.

Fundamental Analysis: Missouri Tigers

Missouri is averaging 38.7 points per game this season at 5.6 yards per rush play, 8.1 yards per pass attempt, 6.7 yards per play and 12.6 yards per point.  What makes Missouri even more impressive is the fact that the Tigers are averaging a robust 41.8 points per game on the road at 5.5 yards per carry, 8.0 yards per pass play, 6.6 yards per play and 11.6 yards per point.  Overall, Missouri is 0.8 yards per rush play, 0.5 yards per pass attempt and 0.7 yards per play better than average offensively in 2013.  What most sports bettors do not realize is the explosive nature of the Tigers’ attack as they are 1.7 yards per point better than average (12.6 yards per point against teams that combine to allow 14.3 yards per point.

I have been most impressed with Missouri’s defense this season as the Tigers are yielding 19.4 points per game at 3.6 yards per rush play, 6.4 yards per pass attempt and 5.1 yards per point.  More importantly, the Tigers do not give up big plays as evidenced by the fact that they are allowing just 19.8 yards per point to teams that combine to average 14.3 yards per point.  Overall, Missouri is 1.1 yards per rush play, 0.9 yards per pass play and 0.8 yards per play better than average defensively this season.

Missouri Offense vs. Auburn Defense:

  • +0.5 yards per rush play advantage
  • +0.3 yards per pass attempt advantage
  • +0.5 yards per play advantage overall

Despite having a significant advantage on the offensive side of the ball, Missouri has been disrespected by the oddsmakers.  With that said, Auburn’s offense does have an advantage over the Tigers’ stop unit (0.5 yards per play advantage from the line of scrimmage, which is the same advantage Missouri has on offense).  The issue facing Auburn is the fact that it is allowing 29.0 points per game on the road this season, including 440 total yards at 8.2 yards per pass play and 6.1 yards per play.  Those numbers are significant in that Missouri is 9-1 ATS when scoring 28 or more points and 42-18 ATS when garnering 6.5 yards per play or more.

Let’s also note that Missouri is one of the most underrated teams in the nation this season:

  • 10-2 ATS overall;
  • 7-1 ATS conference opponents;
  • 8-2 ATS following one or more consecutive wins;
  • 5-0 ATS on the road

Finally, John Avello, head oddsmaker at the Wynn Las Vegas, has question whether Auburn should be the favorite in this game.  “I’m not so sure that Auburn’s supposed to be the favorite this week,” Avello said.  “I made it one, and they laid it up to one-and-a-half.  I’m basing my number on what the public saw this week.  If Auburn didn’t play Alabama this week, then Missouri would have been the favorite.”

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