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The third-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide will try to break a recent hex at Jordan-Hare Stadium when they face the Auburn Tigers in the 2021 Iron Bowl on Saturday in an SEC on CBS game. The Tide (10-1) have lost in its last two trips to Auburn as a top-five team, and they are trying to stay on track for the playoff. Bama has won six national titles under coach Nick Saban, including last season, and has made the playoff all but one year since its creation. But that one absence was the result of a loss to the Tigers. Alabama has won five straight games and had a huge offensive day in a 42-35 win against Arkansas last Saturday. Auburn (6-5) has lost its past three, suffering a 21-17 setback to South Carolina last Saturday.

Kickoff in Auburn, Ala., is set for 3:30 p.m. ET. The Crimson Tide are 20.5-point favorites in Caesars Sportsbook's latest Alabama vs. Auburn odds, and the over-under for total points is set at 57. Before locking in any Auburn vs. Alabama picks or predictions, you need to see which side of the Iron Bowl spread red-hot college football expert Tom Fornelli is backing

The CBS national writer has been profitable across multiple sports, but his specialty is college football. He has had a particularly keen eye for the tendencies of Alabama, going 9-4 on his last 13 picks (+460) involving the Crimson Tide. Anyone who has followed him is way up.

Now, Fornelli has zeroed in on Alabama vs. Auburn and just released his coveted 2021 Iron Bowl picks and predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see his picks. Here are the CFB odds and betting lines for Auburn vs. Alabama:

  • Alabama vs. Auburn spread: Alabama -20.5
  • Alabama vs. Auburn over-under: 57 points 
  • Alabama vs. Auburn moneyline: Alabama -1400, Auburn +800 
  • ALA: It is 13-10-1 as a road favorite since 2016 
  • AUB: It is 5-3 ATS as a home underdog since 2016
Featured Game | Auburn Tigers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

Why Alabama can cover

Alabama is 11-2 against the spread in its last 13 following an ATS loss, and its offense is among the best in the country. Quarterback Bryce Young is trying to make his case for the Heisman and has 3,584 passing yards, 38 TDs and three interceptions. He threw for a school-record 559 yards last week, and Alabama is 13-4 ATS in their last 17 after passing for more than 280 in the previous game. Jameson Williams had 190 receiving yards last week to give him 1,206 for the season. The offense is second in the nation in scoring, putting up 44.4 points per game.

The Bama passing game ranks eighth in the nation (344 yards per game) while Auburn's pass defense is 79th (236). It ranks 42nd against the run (135.4), so Brian Robinson Jr. (945 yards, 10 TDs) should be able to wear it down and open things up for Young. Alabama allows 19.7 points (19th) and has 17 takeaways and 37 sacks. Will Anderson Jr. has 13 sacks, second in the nation, so he could rattle the new quarterback, while Jalyn Armour-Davis has three interceptions and three other DBs have two apiece. Alabama is 28-18-1 ATS in the regular season since 2018.

Why Auburn can cover

Auburn is 11-7 ATS in its home games since 2019. The home team has won straight-up and covered the spread in the last four meetings, and Auburn has dashed the Tide's hopes twice recently. They came in as the No. 1 team in 2017, and the Tigers pulled off a 26-14 victory. In 2019, Alabama was No. 5, but Auburn won a 48-45 thriller that kept the Tide out of the playoff for the only time since 2014. T.J. Finley is taking the place of injured quarterback Bo Nix (ankle). The sophomore began last season as LSU's starter.

Finley threw for just 188 yards last week but developed a nice connection with receiver Shedrick Jackson. The senior had seven catches for 111 yards to give him a team-high 495 this season. Alabama's weakness on defense is against the pass, as it allows 236 yards per game (79th in FBS), so Finley could make some big plays. Still, running back Tank Bigsby, who had 164 yards last week to give him 940 this season, also can be counted on. The Auburn defensive front is led by ends Derick Hall and Eku Leota, who have six sacks apiece, and they will harass Young (26 sacks).

How to make Alabama vs. Auburn picks

Fornelli is leaning over on the point total. He has also identified a crucial X-factor that makes one side of the spread a must-back. He's sharing what it is, and which side of the Auburn vs. Alabama spread he's backing only at SportsLine

So who wins Saturday's Alabama vs. Auburn Iron Bowl 2021 matchup? And what critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side of the Auburn vs. Alabama spread to back Saturday, all from the expert on a 9-4 run on recent picks involving the Crimson Tide, and find out.