Tennessee-Auburn statsy preview: Tigers by not 26

The Auburn Tigers kicked off the 2018 season with a solid win against No. 6 Washington, but after that, results have been mixed. They lost by one point to a ranked LSU team and lost by two touchdowns last week to an unranked Mississippi State team.

Meanwhile, unranked Tennessee is still trying to find a big win but is coming off a bye week. The two teams may be headed in two different directions, but Auburn still appears to be much closer to the goal than the Vols.

So let’s get to this week’s statsy preview. First, the predictions, and below them, the details.

Predictions

SPM: Auburn 26, Tennessee 13

Eye- and gut-adjusted: Auburn 28, Tennessee 17

Tennessee rushing yards: 120

Auburn rushing yards: 150

Tennessee passing yards: 150

Auburn passing yards: 180

Tennessee points: 17

Auburn points: 28

Tennessee rushing

Tennessee is averaging 177.2 rushing yards per game, while Auburn is giving up 135.5 per game. The closest comparison, for a prior Tennessee opponent that is not as good at run defense as is Auburn, is Florida, which is giving up 172.5 yards per game on the ground. Tennessee got 156 against them. The closest comparison for a prior Tennessee opponent that is better at defending the run than Auburn is West Virginia, which is allowing 120.8. Tennessee got 129 on the ground against West Virginia.

Looking at things from Auburn’s perspective, their run defense generally holds their opponents to significantly below their average.

Based on all of that, my guess for rushing yards for Tennessee against Auburn is 120.

Auburn rushing

The Tennessee defense is allowing 158.0 rushing yards per game, while the Auburn run game is averaging 163.8 yards per game. The closest “not-as-good” comparison for a prior Tennessee opponent is West Virginia, which is getting 162.2 yards per game on the ground, and they got 118 against Tennessee. The closest “better-than” comparison for a prior Tennessee opponent is Florida, which is averaging 181.5 rushing yards per game and got 201 against Tennessee. I’m guessing Auburn will get about 150 rushing yards against Tennessee’s defense.

Tennessee passing

Tennessee is averaging 182.8 passing yards per game, and Auburn is allowing 188.0. The closest “not-as-good” comparison for a prior Tennessee opponent is UTEP, which is giving up 189.0 yards per game through the air, and Tennessee put up 167 against them. The closest “better-than” comparison for a prior Tennessee opponent is Georgia. They’re allowing 170.0 passing yards per game, and Tennessee got 143 against them. My guess is that Tennessee will put up 150 passing yards this weekend.

Auburn passing

The Tennessee pass defense is allowing 182.6 passing yards per game. Auburn is getting 200.3. The closest “not-as-good” comparison for a prior Tennessee opponent is Florida, which is getting 198.8 yards per game through the air, and they got 186 against Tennessee. The closest “better-than” comparison for a prior Tennessee opponent is Georgia, which is averaging 240.0 passing yards per game and got 190 against Tennessee. I’m going with Auburn putting up about 180 passing yards against Tennessee.

Tennessee scoring

Tennessee is averaging 26.0 points per game, and Auburn is allowing 14.3. The closest “not-as-good” comparison for a prior Tennessee opponent is Florida, which is allowing 14.8 points per game, and Tennessee got 21 against them. The closest “better-than” comparison for a prior Tennessee opponent is Georgia. They’re allowing 13.0 points per game, and Tennessee got 12 against them. My prediction is that Tennessee will score around 17 points against Auburn.

Auburn scoring

Tennessee is allowing 25.6 points per game. Auburn is averaging 28.7. The closest “not-as-good” comparison for a prior Tennessee opponent is UTEP, which is averaging 16.5 points, and they got 0 against Tennessee. The closest “better-than” comparison for a prior Tennessee opponent is Florida, which is averaging 34.0 points and got 47 against Tennessee. I’m going with Auburn putting up somewhere around 28 points against Tennessee.

Comparison of predictions to other models and Vegas

Left alone, the SPM says Auburn 26, Tennessee 13, a spread of -13.

With eyeball and gut adjustments, I’m going with Auburn 28, Tennessee 17, a spread of -11.

Bill Connelly’s S&P+ says Tennessee has a 21% chance of winning and the spread at -13.9.

The Vegas spread favors Auburn by between 15 and 16.5 (down from earlier this week when it was between 16.5 and 17), with an over/under of 47-47.5, which converts to something like Auburn 31, Tennessee 16.

ESPN’s FPI gives the Vols only a 13.5% chance of winning.

 

 

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Alyas Grey
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Alyas Grey

Auburn’s thus far mediocre run game will find some success against Tennessee, but not enough to become reliable. They gain something like 120 with a YPC of ~3.2. Stidham continues to get hit, a lot, with Tennessee picking up three sacks and continues to rattle Stidham into a solidly mediocre 14-30-1-1 for 180 yards. Tennessee gets solid yardage at the edges but little up the middle. Ty Chandler averages a solid 4.2 for around 85 yards, London has a couple of 6+ yard runs but also several for <1. They put the ball on the ground once and are twice… Read more »