The No. 12 Auburn Tigers (9-3) will face the No. 18 Minnesota Golden Gophers (10-2) in the Outback Bowl on New Years Day.
The Tigers are 7-point favorites in this game, but will they win by a touchdown, or will the Gophers be the better pick in this one? Here is a preview of the game followed by trends and our prediction.
Unlike several other teams playing in bowl games this season, the Tigers will have the great majority of their stars playing in this game. Two defensive standouts, Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson, will play, which is great news for Auburn. They are allowing 18.6 points and just over 323 yards a game on defense, both of which rank in the top 20 nationally.
On offense, the Tigers are scoring 34 points a game, and will be led by freshman quarterback Bo Nix, who has 2,633 yards, 15 touchdowns and six interceptions on the season.
The highlight of the Tigers’ season so far was beating a tough Alabama team Week 14, and their three losses were all against very good teams: Florida, LSU, and Georgia. The Tigers have had one of the more difficult schedules in the nation this year, and Auburn will matchup well against this Minnesota team … but they cannot afford to overlook the Gophers.
P.J. Fleck and his Gophers have had a surprising and excellent season — no one in the Big 10 saw them coming. Minnesota stayed in the playoff race until late in the season, and they would have made it to the Big 10 championship against Ohio State, but they fell to a tough Wisconsin team.
Minnesota’s two losses this year have come to two ranked teams: Wisconsin and Iowa. Led by quarterback Tanner Morgan, the Gophers are scoring 34.3 points a game. Morgan has a grade-A talent in wide receiver Rashod Bateman, who has 1,170 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season. Bateman is also averaging over 20 yards a catch, and he’ll be facing a Tigers defense that is allowing 208 passing yards per contest. Look for Morgan and Bateman to be huge factors in this game.
On defense, the Tigers have the edge, at least stats-wise. Auburn are allowing 18.6 ppg. The Gophers are giving up 22.4. Thus, whichever team plays the most mistake-free game should win this one.
Game Info, Betting Trends, Analysis & Pick
*NOTE: all numbers and percentages that follow are courtesy of Odds Shark.
Time: January 1, 2020, 1 p.m. ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Florida
Spread: Minnesota +7
Over/Under: 54 points
Odds Shark currently has the Gophers winning the game by a projected score of 33-32, with Minnesota covering the spread and the total score going over 54 points.
Some trends relating to both teams to consider:
- Auburn is 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games.
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Auburn’s last 5 games.
- The Tigers are 10-3 SU in their last 13 games.
- Auburn is 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games this season.
- Minnesota is 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 games.
- The total has gone OVER in 5 of Minnesota’s last 6 games.
- The Gophers are 12-2 SU in their last 14 games.
- Minnesota is 10-2 SU in their last 12 games this season.
Like Odds Shark, I like the Golden Gophers with the points in this game. Minnesota have battled hard all season, and they have had a deceptively difficult schedule to boot. Fleck’s squad seem to relish playing the underdog role, and they’ll likely play some of their best football in this one. I think Auburn edges them out here, but I think it’ll be close. Take Minnesota with the points in a game that also sees the point total going over.
Final Prediction: Auburn 30, Minnesota 27
Pick: Minnesota +7