Birmingham Bowl Pick
It’s been a miserable season for Auburn, a team ranked in the Top 10 early in the year. The Tigers won just two SEC Games and finished with six wins overall. They’ll take on another Tiger, of Memphis, in the Birmingham Bowl. Auburn takes its 3-9 ATS record to the bowl as a -2.5 point favorite as seen at betonline Sportsbook.
Things never really came together for Auburn this year. When they beat Louisville in the season opener, they never thought that Game would’ve been one of their best wins of the season. OUtside of that, the Tigers won at Texas A&M and that’s about it as they lost six Conference Games. Sure, they battled and kept Games mostly close, but never had enough offense to make that matter. They scored just 27.2 points per Game.
Memphis didn’t have many problems with its offense this year en route to 42.7 points per Game, but they did slip up at the end of the year. The Tigers were ranked at 8-0 with an impressive win against Ole Miss, but they soon collapsed against the better teams in the AAC with three straight losses.
The SEC hasn’t had many problems with the AAC the last two years, but that could change in this Game. But the only way for that to happen is if Memphis gets its mojo back. The Tigers do have some high-scoring Games and nice wins, but they scored just 20 points against Navy and 12 against Temple. Auburn has a solid defense and can’t be discredited because of its record.
But, Memphis will have plenty of motivation in this Game, hoping to take down its second SEC team of the season. Quarterback Paxton Lynch has been awesome and is coming off a nearly perfect Game against SMU, completing nine passes for 7 TDs. Of course, he didn’t even throw a touchdown the week before that against Temple. At the least, Auburn’s defense can be beat and Memphis already has the experience of taking down an SEC team so they won’t be scared. Memphis rode Lynch in that Game for 384 yards and 3 TDs and will likely do the same here. They have a decent running Game with a committee, but this Game will come down to Lynch.
The other end of the field has been Auburn’s main problem all season long. Jeremy Johnson started the year under center, but that didn’t last long. However, he returned and has now started Four straight Games. Still, Johnson has just 9 TDs and 7 INTs on the year and passed for more than 170 yards in one of his seven starts. Memphis’ weakness is in pass defense, so that advantage goes to them unless Johnson can figure things out after an extra month of practice. Auburn will lean on its running back duo of Peyton Barber and Jovon Robinson. If that doesn’t work, they could be in trouble.
Auburn is favored, but with a questionable offense, it’s hard to throw money on them, even against an AAC team. And even with its struggles, Auburn still failed to cover in its final three Games of the year.
Auburn has covered in Four straight December Games, while Memphis doesn’t have any relevant trends going for them. Memphis has the mental edge and the better offense, but will that be enough?
Our Pick – Our model has this Game as a toss up which means we’ll take any points available. Memphis +3