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Auburn, Louisville Set To Clash In Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic To Open Their 2015 Seasons

Posted by on 9/4/2015 8:58:00 PM

The Louisville Cardinals enter this weekend with a lot to prove when they match up against the Auburn Tigers in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic. The implications of an ACC versus SEC matchup are obvious but there is even more to this game for both sides. Auburn has been a trendy pick to win the SEC this season and contend for a national title but anything less than a win this weekend would result in them being downgraded. Meanwhile, Louisville can take a major step forward if they can somehow manage to earn an upset win on the road and they certainly believe they have the talent and game plan to take down the Tigers.

Louisville Cardinals vs. Auburn Tigers

Saturday September 5, 2015 – 3:30 PM ET

Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia

Betting Line: Auburn -10.5

Breaking Down What Louisville Has To Do To Cover

The Cardinals have been a consistent thorn in the side of SEC teams over the years with five wins in their last six games against teams from that powerhouse conference including a 4-2 record against the spread. Louisville has posted a 7-0 record in its last seven games as a double-digit underdog and they are listed as 10.5-point underdogs in this contest. A big part of the equation will be a defense that dominated last season but lost seven starters this past offseason and will need young players to step up and fill those roles. The defensive line remains a strength and one of the keys will be its ability to keep Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson in check. Meanwhile, the Cardinals still haven’t named their own starting quarterback although dual-threat Reggie Bonnafon looks to have the edge at the position. The Louisville air attack remains a work in progress so running back Brandon Radcliff will be leaned on to help carry the load on offense.

Breaking Down What Auburn Has To Do To Cover

Auburn lost four of its final five games last season but there is a lot to like about this year’s team including a potential Heisman trophy candidate in their quarterback Johnson. The junior passer has all of the tools to put up big numbers this year and a strong cast at the wide receiver position should help him get the most out of his talent. Sophomore Roc Thomas and junior college transfer Jovon Robinson have the potential to form a potent rushing attack and will help take some of the pressure off of Johnson as well. The Tigers offense should put up some big numbers in this game but the key to whether or not they cover the 10.5-point line is their defense. Will Muschamp takes over on that side of the ball after leading Florida teams that finished in the top-10 nationally in total defense in three of the last four years and he has enough talent in his current group to think he can do it again with the Tigers.

Outlook & Pick

10.5 points is a lot to be giving up to a Louisville side that some experts think has the potential to win this game straight up but the Cardinals remain a work in progress on offense and their defense lost too many key pieces to think they can dominate the way they did last season. Auburn has the talent to score points in bunches and will be looking to make a statement in its season opener. Look for the Tigers to come out strong and force Louisville to play this entire game from behind in what ends up being a comfortable cover win.

Pick: Auburn -10.5

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