TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl #20 Houston vs. Auburn

TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl: #20 Houston vs. Auburn | Expert Analysis Of NCAAF Betting Odds

Unranked Auburn of the SEC should have a major advantage in fan support against No. 20 Houston of the AAC as the two meet in Tuesday’s Birmingham Bowl, with the site about 100 miles or so from the Auburn campus. The Tigers are short favorites on the NCAAF odds.

How to Bet Houston vs. Auburn NCAA Football Odds & TV Info

  • When: Tuesday, noon ET
  • Where: Protective Stadium, Birmingham, Ala.
  • TV: ESPN
  • Stream: ESPN app
  • Radio: Tunein.com
  • Opening NCAAF Lines: Auburn -2.5 (total 51.5)

Series History

Auburn and Houston have played six times, with Auburn leading the series 5-1. The teams last played in 1973, when Auburn won 6-0 at home.

Why Bet on Houston?

The Cougars (11-2) played in the AAC title game and lost on Dec. 4 to unbeaten Cincinnati, 35-20. Jerome Ford rushed for 187 yards and two touchdowns and Desmond Ridder threw three touchdown passes as Cincinnati broke open a close game in the third quarter.

Ford’s 79-yard touchdown rush in the first quarter was the first 70-plus yard rush from scrimmage by an opponent vs. Houston since Cincinnati’s Gerrid Doaks put together a 72-yard rush against Houston on Nov. 7, 2020.

Cougars junior QB Clayton Tune passed for 250 yards with two touchdowns and an interception as Houston lost for the first time since dropping its season-opener to Texas Tech on Sept. 4. With 271 yards of total offense (250 pass, 21 rush), Tune moved past Andre Ware (1987-89) into sixth in Houston career history with 8,303 yards. Tune threw multiple touchdowns in a game for the 20th time in his career.

Houston has scored in 269 consecutive games, a mark that ranks eighth longest among active streaks in the FBS.  The streak began Sept. 30, 2000. The Cougars have also scored 10-plus points in 98 straight games (Sept. 6, 2014 – present).

This will be Houston’s second appearance in the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl, last playing against Vanderbilt in 2014, where they lost 41-24.

Houston has not faced an SEC program since Oct. 31, 2015, when it defeated Vanderbilt, 34-0 at TDECU Stadium. Since 1999, the Cougars are 5-4 against the SEC including wins against LSU (1999), Mississippi State (2003, 2005, 2009) and Vanderbilt (2015). UH is making its 28th bowl appearance. The Cougars are 11-15-1 all-time in bowl games and have dropped the last four (2016-present). Houston’s last bowl victory was a 38-24 win over No. 9/8 Florida State in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 31, 2015.

Cougars senior DB Marcus Jones won’t play in the bowl. The return specialist is turning his attention to preparation for the 2022 NFL Draft. Jones was named the AAC Special Teams Player of the Year earlier this year, with his most notable play of the season being a 100-yard kick returned for a touchdown in a 44-37 win over SMU back in October.

Why Bet on Auburn?

Auburn (6-6) last played on Nov. 27 and the Tigers had Alabama beat but basically give it away in a 24-22 four-overtime loss. Bryce Young’s two-point pass to John Metchie accounted for the winning points after Auburn went first and threw an incompletion in the fourth overtime. The Tigers stopped Alabama 14 times on 22 third-down attempts and held the Crimson Tide to 1-of-4 on fourth down.

Auburn coach Bryan Harsin decided to fire offensive coordinator Mike Bobo not long after the game. He had a three-year contract but lasted just one season on the Plains. The decision to part ways with Bobo came after Auburn’s offense faltered in the second half of games over the final month of the season, scoring a combined 12 points in the second halves of the Tigers’ final four games, not including the four overtime periods of the loss to Alabama. Those offensive woes contributed to Auburn closing the season with four straight losses, including three straight in which the Tigers couldn’t hold on to double-digit leads.

Auburn also has had several players opt out of the game, including starting quarterback Bo Nix. He missed the last two games of the regular season after having surgery to repair a broken ankle. Nix, the 2019 SEC Freshman of the Year, has landed at Oregon.

With Nix gone, Auburn’s most experienced quarterback is sophomore and former LSU transfer TJ Finley. Finley finished 17-of-26 for 137 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the loss to the Tide.

Auburn is making its 46th bowl appearance all-time, and its ninth straight, tying the school record for the most consecutive seasons in a bowl for the Tigers since going bowling nine straight years from 1982-90. Auburn is 24-19-2 all-time in bowl game. The Tigers are 43-57-3 all-time in games played in Birmingham, most of those at Legion Field.

The Tigers have a 29-25-6 record against current members of the American Athletic Conference, including UCF, Cincinnati, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, South Florida, SMU and Tulane. Auburn is 11-15-1 against ranked opponents in bowl games. It will be Auburn’s second appearance in the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl, last playing against Memphis in 2016, when they won 31-10.

Game Trends

  • Cougars are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games as an underdog.
  • Cougars are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 bowl games as an underdog.
  • Cougars are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games as an underdog.
  • Cougars are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games.
  • Tigers are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games as a favorite.
  • Tigers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS win.
  • Tigers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 bowl games.

Expert Prediction

  • Houston 27, Auburn 24
 
 

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