Greg McElroy is starting to believe in Auburn’s potential for the 2024 season. Though he’s not willing to throw caution out the window, the ESPN analyst and broadcaster admitted he is becoming “cautiously optimistic” about the potential for Hugh Freeze’s team.

During the latest episode of “Always College Football,” McElroy specifically pointed to Auburn’s work in the transfer portal this offseason. Those additions hold a key role for the 2024 season with the Tigers returning just 65% of their total production from a season ago, including 55% on the defensive side of the ball.

The specific position group most impacted in McElroy’s assessment is wide receiver where a mix of transfer players and incoming freshmen can contribute:

“You look at the additions in the portal, and this is why I’m cautiously optimistic about Auburn. I think KeAndre Lambert-Smith is rock-solid. Will he ultimately be the No. 1 receiver? I won’t go that far, but I do think incoming freshman Cam Coleman could be,” predicted McElroy. “That guy could be an immediate difference-maker.”

Those receivers will be leaned on a lot with McElroy describing quarterback Payton Thorne as not as talented as some of the competition but a player who can be highly productive. If those receivers pan out, they could help elevate the offense which would give the Tigers a better shot at eclipsing their preseason win total set by Vegas.

Here is McElroy’s latest episode with the Auburn discussion beginning at the 6:30 mark:

How to bet Auburn’s win total

Auburn’s win total for the 2024 season is set at 7.5. Fans looking at the over 7.5 number can take advantage of +150 odds at DraftKings, but hitting the over will take a handful of upsets.

During his game-by-game breakdown of Auburn’s schedule, McElroy listed 6 games that he views as “losable” for the Tigers. That list includes Oklahoma, at Georgia, at Mizzou, at Kentucky, Texas A&M and at Alabama.

Some of those games are indeed true “tossups,” particularly the home games against Oklahoma and Texas A&M. Those two programs have their own question marks entering 2024, and the added benefit of playing at home in Jordan-Hare Stadium must be accounted for.

Though each season presents a new set of challenges on its own, recent history for Auburn should also be considered. The Tigers have not hit 8+ wins since the 2019 season when Gus Malzahn led Auburn to a 9-4 record. Since then, Auburn’s best season was a 6-5 mark in the shortened 2020 season, but the Tigers have not been above .500 in a full season since 2019.

If Auburn holds serve at home, hitting the over looks like a great play and presents solid value. But, if some fans prefer to play the under 7.5 number, ESPN Bet provides odds at -160.

We’ll see if Freeze’s group can take a big jump with some new faces during his second season with the program.