Central Florida vs. Auburn Bowl Pick
Will the Auburn Tigers route the undefeated Central Florida Knights when the teams square off at 12:30 p.m. ET in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl on New Year's Day?
ODDSMAKERS LIKE: Auburn. According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Tigers are 11.5-point favorites to knock off the Knights, who opened as 8.5-point underdogs before the line shot up. As for the total, the number hit the board at 63 but was bet up to 67.
THE PUBLIC LIKES: As of Monday morning, 60% of the betting tickets were on the Tigers to cover the point spread and 69% of the money was also on Auburn.
INJURY REPORT: For Central Florida, Aaron Evans (undisclosed), Jawon Hamilton (leg) and Dedrion Bacote (leg) are all out. For Auburn, Kerryon Johnson (shoulder) is probable, while Carlton Davis (illness) is out and so is running back Kamryn Pettway (shoulder). Tre' Williams, meanwhile, is probable.
WHO WE LIKE: Auburn. This is a mismatch on paper, although part of me wonders if the Tigers won't be motivated after missing out on the college football playoffs with their ugly loss to Georgia in the SEC championship. Still, if you're trying to predict whether or not 18 or 19-year-olds will get up for a game you'll wind up just spinning your wheels. I'm handicapping the matchup, and the matchup favors Auburn.
The Tigers rank 13th in the nation in total yards allowed (317.3), 19th in passing yards allowed (182.8), 30th in rushing yards allowed (134.5) and ninth in points allowed (17.3). Central Florida owns one of the most explosive offenses in the nation but the Knights haven't faced a defense like Auburn's all season. In fact, they haven't faced a defense anywhere close to Auburn's.
Auburn is 5-2 against the spread in its last seven games coming off a loss and is 5-2-1 against the number in its last eight games after scoring less than 20 points in its previous game. On the other side, the Knights are 2-5 at the betting window in their last seven games against SEC opponents and are 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games versus an opponent with a winning record.
CHICK-FIL-A PEACH BOWL: AUBURN TIGERS -11.5