The Auburn Tigers (7-5) face the Purdue Boilermakers (6-6) in the 2018 Music City Bowl from Nashville. Kickoff is set for 1:30 PM EST on Friday, December 28th at Nissan Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN.
Taking a look at the full list of college bowl betting odds, Auburn is currently listed as a 4.5 point favorite. The total for the game is sitting at 54.5 points.
Music City Bowl Vegas Odds Preview: Auburn vs Purdue
Purdue had a season of absurd highs and lows, as they pulled off arguably the biggest upset of the 2018-19 regular season by beating Ohio State 49-20 in late October. However, the Boilermakers then lost three out of their next four games before beating Indiana 28-21 in the final week of November to clinch a spot in a bowl game. The biggest news in the second half of the season was the extension of head coach Jeff Brohm, as many expected him to leave for Lousiville after receiving a ton of attention from his alma matter. Instead, Brohm agreed to a seven year contract that was certainly well-earned after leading the Boilermakers to two consecutive bowl appearances. QB David Blough was fantastic week in and week out this year, passing for a very impressive 3,521 yards and 25 touchdowns. He had a ton of chemistry with freshman WR Rondale Moore, who racked up 103 catches for 1,164 yards and 12 touchdowns. As a whole, the offense is currently averaging 31.9 points per game (43rd overall).
The Boilermakers struggled immensely on the defensive side of the ball during the regular season, allowing opponents to average 445.3 total yards of offense per game (104th overall). They were especially bad against the pass, giving up 280.8 yards per game through the air (125th overall).
Auburn enters the Music City Bowl hoping to improve upon their dreadful 1-4 bowl record under head coach Gus Malzahn. It will be the last game with the program for starting QB Jarrett Stidham, who will be leaving for the NFL after the season. Stidham had another strong season for the Tigers, throwing for 2,421 yards and 13 touchdowns while completing over 60% of his attempts. RB JaTarvious Whitlow leads the way on the ground, rushing for 777 yards and four touchdowns during the regular season. Overall, Auburn averaged 28.3 points per game this year (70th overall). They really struggled to put points on the board in the red zone, converting just 83% of the time (75th overall).
The Tigers were fairly solid on defense for much of the season, limiting opponents to an average of only 19.6 points per game (18th overall). They were especially strong against the run, holding opponents to just 140.7 yards per game on the ground (40th overall).
2018 Music City Bowl Free Betting Pick & Predictions: Purdue +4.5
This is shaping up to be a very exciting matchup between two strong programs that have never faced one another. While I certainly think that Auburn deserves to be the favorite – especially when considering how much better they have looked defensively – I still think that the Boilermakers offer the most value in this particular spot. Purdue is more than capable of winning this game outright, as they recorded impressive victories over Ohio State and Iowa during the regular season. They also stayed within five points of Northwestern, Missouri, and Wisconsin despite going 0-3 in those games. Even if they do come up a bit short on Friday afternoon, I like them to stay within a field goal of the Tigers at the very least.
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Purdue is a rock-solid 7-1 ATS over their last eight non-conference games. They are also 6-2 ATS over their last eight games following an ATS win and 4-1 ATS in their last five neutral site games. The Tigers are only 2-5 ATS over their last seven neutral site games. They are also just 2-7-1 ATS in their last ten non-conference games.
It is also worth noting that Auburn has not performed well in bowl games under Malzahn, going just 1-4 overall. I fully expect that trend to continue yet again this year, especially considering how disappointed the Tigers are feeling after being relegated to the Music City Bowl. The Boilermakers, on the other hand, are thrilled to even be in a bowl game and should have a ton of rowdy fans in attendance – West Lafayette is less than 350 miles away from the stadium. I’m going to take a stab with the free 4.5 points in this matchup, as I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if Purdue finds a way to win this one straight up. I’ll take the underdogs – give me the Boilermakers.