NCAA Football Free Pick – Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Auburn Tigers

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The No. 9 Auburn Tigers (-7) are favorites against the No. 16 Minnesota Golden Gophers in the Outback Bowl. ESPN will televise the action and this Wednesday showdown is scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Betting Preview: Minnesota Golden Gophers at Auburn Tigers

Minnesota is playing the role of underdog and is currently getting 7 points in this game. If they want to take the moneyline, gamblers would currently have to put up $300 in order to win $100 back on the Tigers (-300). The Golden Gophers are getting +220 moneyline odds. Oddsmakers have placed the over/under (O/U) at 53.5 points, and if one squad can catch a lucky break early on, it’ll probably lead to a worthy in-game betting opportunity.

Early action has shifted toward both the Golden Gophers and the over. The opening line was originally set at -8 and the over/under was initially only 51.5.

Both of these teams have rewarded gamblers this season as the Golden Gophers have gained 7.9 units and the Tigers are ahead 4.8 units.

The Golden Gophers are 10-2 straight up (SU) in 2019 while the Tigers are 9-3 SU.

The Golden Gophers fell to Wisconsin 38-17 in a blowout where their defense allowed the Badgers to eat up the clock by running for 173 yards on 35 rush attempts, including three rush TDs. Jonathan Taylor had a good day for the Badgers in that one with 76 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 18 attempts, along with 39 yards and a score on two catches. On the offense, Tanner Morgan completed only 20 passes on 37 attempts for 296 yards, two scores and one interception. Rodney Smith (just 31 yards on 11 rushes) propelled the running attack in the loss while Tyler Johnson (eight receptions, 89 yards, one TD) and Rashod Bateman (six catches, 147 yards, one TD) shared the receiving duties.

The Auburn Tigers just earned a 48-45 win over Alabama. The defense let the Crimson Tide pass for 335 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 180 yards. Najee Harris was outstandingfor the Crimson Tide, recording 146 rushing yards and a score on 27 attempts. For Auburn, Bo Nix completed 15-of-30 passes for 173 yards and one touchdown. JaTarvious Whitlow (114 rushing yards on 16 attempts) handled the ground game in the win while Eli Stove (four receptions, 31 yards) and Williams (three catches, 66 yards) led the pass-catching attack.

Minnesota has run the ball on 63.7 percent of its offensive possessions this year while Auburn has an overall rush percentage of 58.6 percent. The Golden Gophers have rushed for 175.7 yards/game and have 24 scores via handoffs this year. The Tigers are totaling 211 rush yards per game and have 30 total rushing TDs.

If the numbers so far this season can translate to this game, then the Tigers should hold an edge when it comes to efficiency in the ground game, as their backfield has logged 4.8 yards per carry while the defense is allowing 3.4 yards per rush attempt to opponents. The Golden Gophers have registered 4.1 yards per carry while allowing a YPC of 3.8 to opponents.

The Gophers offensive scheme has averaged 251.2 yards in the air overall and has 28 passing scores so far. The Tigers have produced 210.1 pass yards per outing and have 19 total pass TDs.

Defensively, Minnesota seems to have the upper hand when it comes to limiting the pass. The team has allowed 127.9 rush yards and 184.9 pass yards per game. The Auburn defense has allowed 208.4 yards per game to opposing passers and 115.5 yards per game on the ground. Both teams allow similar adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) to opponents, as the Gophers have given up an ANY/A of 4.65 to opposing QBs, while the Tigers are allowing an ANY/A of 5.07.

Offensively, Morgan is up to 2,764 passing yards on the year, and has completed 66 percent of his 266 attempts with 24 passing scores and only five interceptions. Morgan has a 9.67 adjusted net yards per pass attempt overall, although that number is 7.60 over the past two outings.

Rashod Bateman (1,092 receiving yards, eight receiving touchdowns on the year), Tyler Johnson (989 receiving yards, 10 receiving TDs) and Mohamed Ibrahim (388 rush yards, six rush TDs) have each played big roles recently.

On the other sideline, Bo Nix has completed 185-of-328 passes for 2,216 yards, 14 TDs and six INTs. Nix’s ANY/A stands at 6.15 for the season and 6.85 over his past two games.

We’re thinking the Tigers will control tempo by feeding the running backs early and often. Along with WR Seth Williams (756 receiving yards, eight receiving TDs this season), JaTarvious Whitlow (690 rush yards, seven rush TDs, 60 receiving yards) and Shaun Shivers (222 rush yards, two rush TDs) have been significant focal points in the Auburn offense.

Minnesota Golden Gophers at Auburn Tigers Bedding Prediction

SU Winner: Auburn, ATS Winner: Auburn, O/U: Over

Team Betting Notes

  • The Golden Gophers offense has produced 13 pass plays of 40 yards or more, while the Tigers have put up seven such plays.
  • The Minnesota defense has allowed six pass plays of 40 yards or more, while Auburn has given up nine such plays.
  • The Minnesota offense has created 18 rushing plays of 20 yards or more, while Auburn has created 16 such runs.
  • Both defenses have allowed 12 rushing plays of 20 yards or more. The Golden Gophers have given up 47 running plays of 10+ yards while the Tigers have given up 49 such plays.
  • The Auburn defense has sacked opposing quarterbacks 27 times this season. Minnesota has registered 26 sacks.
  • Minnesota has averaged 3.5 yards per carry over its last three games and 4.2 over its last two.
  • Auburn has averaged 4.5 yards per carry over its last three contests and 5.4 over its past two.