Auburn vs Houston
Auburn -2 -105 over Houston

Pinnacle -2 105 BET365 -1½ -110 SportInteraction -1 -110 BetOnline -1½ -106 Bookmaker -1½ -110

Posted at 10:30 PM EST.

Auburn -2 over Houston

TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl - Protective Stadium – Birmingham, AL

Streaming: ESPN

12:00 PM EST. The 11-win Houston Cougars, a team that is ranked, is taking back points against an unranked Auburn team that finished the season barely being Bowl eligible at 6-6. Naturally that draws our attention to the unranked favorite.

Regarding Auburn, there is the notion that the Birmingham Bowl is a demotion in the SEC hierarchy of bowl invitations. Furthermore, there are the various opt-outs and most notably the transfer of quarterback Bo Nix to Oregon. Here’s the thing though, Auburn was playing without Bo Nix in the Iron Bowl against Alabama due to injury and War Eagle took the now #1 team in the country the distance in a four-overtime thriller.

Despite missing some key players on both sides of the football due to transfers and opt-outs, the Tigers are certainly not left with the cupboard bare. Top to bottom, Auburn has both depth and pure talent, which is one of the reasons the oddsmakers made them the chalk here. The play of TJ Finley in the absence of Bo Nix at quarterback is just one example of the Tigers honing a “next-man up” philosophy.

Houston’s best win this season was against then #19 SMU in which it narrowly escaped and nearly blew a double-digit lead. Houston also had the luxury of playing that contest in H-Town. The Cougars other victories occurred against Rice, Grambling, Navy, Tulsa, Tulane, ECU, South Florida, Temple, Memphis and UConn. When they faced Tulsa back in October, the Cougars were a +3½-point pooch, that’s how little faith the books had in them.

The Tigers own a win over a top-10 side in Ole Miss and manhandled #17 Arkansas in Fayetteville. The Tigers narrowly lost to then #10 Penn State in Happy Valley and then of course the Tigers also played Alabama and Georgia who were both top-three outfits at the time of the contest. Auburn owns a loss at Texas A&M who was ranked 14th when the two teams met in November. To summarize, Auburn played six ranked opponents (four of whom were in the top-10). Houston only played two ranked sides, one of which they could have lost to (SMU) and the second was Cincinnati, who completely dominated them.

Last night, the New Orleans Saints were featured against the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football. The Saints were without their starting QB and were also missing a bunch of key players, just like Auburn is here. The Saints couldn’t move two yards last night and lost 20-3. It may as well have been 40-3, as that’s how pathetic the Saints looked. We mention that because the market will be extremely reluctant to get behind an undermanned team here 16 hours later. The market’s fascination with the win column has also influenced this short number on the Tigers, which provides us with another great opportunity to play an extremely talented and battle tested squad at a reduced rate.

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Our Pick

Auburn -2 -105 (Risking 2.10 units - To Win: 2.00)