Auburn vs. Minnesota Odds, Betting Pick: Spread, Prediction for 2020 Outback Bowl
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Auburn QB Bo Nix
- Updated Auburn vs. Minnesota odds list the Tigers as a 7-point favorite in the 2020 Outback Bowl, with the total at 54.
- Auburn brings an elite front seven and closed the season strong with a win over Alabama, creating big expectations next season for now-freshman quarterback Bo Nix.
- Minnesota developed an elite passing offense and had a true breakout under PJ Fleck in his third season.
- See our Auburn vs. Minnesota picks and predictions below.
Auburn vs. Minnesota Odds, Pick
- Odds: Minnesota -7
- Over/Under: 54
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Location: Tampa, Fla.
Minnesota’s magical season came up a little bit short with late-season losses to Iowa and Wisconsin.
But the Gophers still had their best season by far under PJ Fleck and get a date with Auburn in the Outback Bowl.
Minnesota will have to play this game without offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca, who is off to Penn State. He had one of the best offenses relative to recruiting talent in the country this season.
Can the Gophers get past Auburn’s stingy defense? Let’s dive in.
Odds as of Tuesday night and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
Can Auburn Stop Big Passing Plays?
The Tigers had one of the toughest schedules in the country and true freshman quarterback Bo Nix held up well enough.
But the defense was the story as Auburn finished with a top 20 defensive rank in rushing success rate, passing success rate and havoc.
The biggest key to the Outback Bowl will be if Auburn can stop deep passing plays. The Gophers are No. 8 in passing success rate with one of the more explosive attacks in the nation. Wide receivers Rashod Bateman and Tyler Johnson have combined for 131 receptions and 22 touchdowns.
Auburn has a senior-laden defensive back field that ranks 12th in passes allowed over 20-plus yards.
On the other side of the ball, Minnesota has been just as good keeping opposing quarterbacks from going deep. The Gophers rank No. 8 in allowing opponents to complete passes over 20-plus yards.
The Action Network projection is in line with the current market at Auburn -7. The total has taken movement to the over after a few operators opened below 50.
Our totals projection is 56. Considering the quality of each defense to stop explosive passing, a small investment on the under is how I’m going. — Collin Wilson
Pick: Under 55 or better
Stuckey: Finishing Drives Paramount for Gophers
I think this line is pretty spot on for two teams that match up pretty well with each other. It’s strength on strength when Minnesota has the ball and the weaker unit of each squad when Auburn is on offense.
Auburn has one of the best front sevens in all of college football — a unit that leads what I have graded as a top 5 defense in the nation. Now, the loss of Nick Coe (who won’t play) will hurt a bit but this is still an elite defensive front, led by the dominant Derrick Brown.
What might determine this game is how Minnesota finishes drives. The Gophers, who I have graded as a top 10 offense overall, are led by two dynamic receivers in Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman, who both should play at the next level.
Those two and QB Tanner Morgan have been dynamite when it comes to finishing drives when they get to opponent’s territory, ranking ninth overall inside the 40 and 19th inside the 20. The Gophers have scored touchdowns on 40 of 55 trips inside the redzone.
They will certainly face their toughest test of the year against Auburn when trying to finish off drives with points. The Tigers defense ranks in the top 10 in finishing drives inside both the 40 and 20.
This is where I think both the spread and total will be decided. If Minnesota is able to finish off drives with 6s, Minnesota likely covers and the game more than likely goes over the total. If not, you probably see an Auburn cover and an under. — Stuckey
Where Does Auburn Have Edges?
It’s also a double-edged sword for Minnesota if its getting stopped on third downs inside Auburn territory since its kicking situation has been so dreadful this year. The Gophers really miss kicker Emmit Carpenter, who graduated last year as the school’s all-time leading field goal kicker by percentage. This year, they rank 106th in FEI field goal efficiency and hasn’t made a kick from 40-plus yards all year.
Besides special teams, the other areas Auburn may have the advantage: the trenches on both sides of the ball and coaching. Auburn should be able to move the ball on the ground with its power running and hit a few explosive runs via design, as the Tigers use their speed and motion in the running game as well as any team in FBS. Plus, you have to account for the fact that Nix has improved as the season has progressed.
I do expect both teams to come out highly motivated for this one and for Gus Malzahn to have a few tricks up his sleeve with the extra preparation. Don’t forget about Auburn eviscerating another Big Ten team (Purdue) last year in its bowl game.
Plus, there are some unknowns with Minnesota in regards to play-calling with offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca leaving for Penn State. PJ Fleck has been interviewing candidates over the past few weeks, so it could also be taking away some of his prep time.
Lastly, while Morgan and his two star receivers run the show on offense for Minnesota, it will be without starting tight end Jake Paulson and also potentially right tackle Daniel Faalele.
Paulson’s absence doesn’t hurt much in the passing attack but they will miss him for his run blocking ability. The loss of both could hurt running back Rodney Smith’s production against this stout Auburn defensive line.
This is a pregame pass for me at -7 but I may look Auburn live if it gets behind early. — Stuckey