No matter what happens in Nashville, the Purdue Boilermakers will be remembered for blowing out Ohio State earlier in the season. And they got another win when coach Jeff Brohm elected not to take the Louisville job. The coaching situation is stable in Purdue, but that’s not the case for the Auburn Tigers, who slumped to a 7-5 record one season after coming within a victory of a CFP berth. Gus Malzahn is slated to be back next season, but the fickle nature in the football-crazed south could put him on the hot seat if his team falls short in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.
BookMaker has the best line for bettors and is the only place to wager on all college football bowl games. The Frankiln American Mortage Music City Bowl will take place on Friday, December 28, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. ET at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee
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Purdue Boilermakers +3.5
Auburn Tigers -3.5
Fans were calling for Brohm’s head at the beginning of the year when Purdue started 0-3. The Boilers straightened things out after that winning four in a row, including that huge upset of Ohio State. However, they couldn’t carry the momentum of that victory, losing three of their next four games with a blowout loss to Minnesota as a 10-point favorite. Faced with a must-win game to reach bowl eligibility in the final regular season contest, they knocked off rival Indiana 28-21, to finish at 6-3 over their final nine games.
It’s not quite what Auburn expected or is used to, but it is what it is and the Tigers are off to another bowl game that isn’t where they expected to be with such high aspirations in the preseason. We saw what happened last season after missing out on a CFP berth with a loss in the SEC Championship. The Tigers lacked motivation and were dumped by UCF. That should motivate this team, even though they aren’t where they want to be.
Matchup to Watch
The duo of quarterback David Blough and receiver Rondale Moore has to be one of the best in the country. There was a battle with Elijah Sindelar for the starting job early in the year until Blough took over full-time in Week 3. Since then Blough has seven 300-yard passing games and another seven games with at least three touchdown passes. He threw for 572 yards and three scores in loss to Missouri and has 12 touchdown passes and just three interceptions in his last four games.
Moore has been an absolute stud in his first season with 103 catches for 1,164 yards and 12 scores. He’s also been a threat running the football with 203 yards on 18 carries with a score. The two have helped Purdue to the ninth-best passing attack in the FBS with 318 yards per game. Purdue is facing a stout Auburn defense that placed third in the SEC in sacks and tackles for loss, and was dominant at times.
Player to Watch
Auburn’s failures can be traced to an offense that lacked consistency and more times than not just couldn’t get things going. The Tigers averaged only 17 points in their five losses and Jarrett Stidham had a subpar year after all the preseason hype. He can make up for the lost points and yards by dealing against a leaky Purdue defense.
It wasn’t the amazing season Stidham was hoping for to increase his NFL stock as he threw for just 2,421 yards and 13 touchdowns. He had only one 300-yard game and his numbers were down across the board from a season ago. He will benefit from Malzahn taking over the play calling duties and facing Purdue’s 126th ranked pass defense.
Live Betting Preview
Auburn has the more talented team and it’s simply a matter of motivation. The early part of this game will tell us plenty about the state of the Tigers and if they are ready to play. The defense is solid and should slow the Boilers down, but they will need to score. If Stidham is sharp and the passing game clicks, Auburn will take this game with a cover.
NCAA Football Odds: Auburn 26, Purdue 21
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