MetroBet takes a look at where to place your money for the Friday bowl games.
Auburn Tigers (-3.5) vs Purdue Boilermakers
Moneyline: Tigers -175, Boilermakers +155
Betting Total: 55 points
Time (Eastern), TV: 1:30 p.m., ESPN
Friday’s Music City Bowl should be a shootout between the Auburn Tigers and Purdue Boilermakers.
Jarrett Stidham regressed in his junior year at Auburn, tossing just 13 TDs, but he’ll face a lackluster Purdue secondary that was 123rd in passing yards allowed this season (280.8). Opponents tallied 33.6 points per game on the Boilermakers over their last five contests.
The Tigers’ pass stoppers left something to be desired in 2018, ranking 57th nationally at 222.4 yards per game allowed. David Blough engineered one of the country’s most potent passing attacks, putting Purdue 10th at 317.8 yards per tilt. They’re set up by D.J. Knox, who averaged 5.8 yards per carry on 150 attempts.
The Boilermakers were one of the most efficient teams in the red zone this year, coming away with points on 91.7 percent of their trips. It would not be surprising if they pulled out a victory as slight underdogs, but the Over is the more appealing play.
Prediction: Boilermakers win, 35-34
The play: Tigers vs. Boilermakers Over 55 points
Iowa State Cyclones vs Washington State Cougars (-3)
Moneyline: Cyclones +135, Cougars -155
Betting Total: 56 points
Time (Eastern), TV: 9 p.m., ESPN
There was no better team to gamble on this season than the Washington State Cougars, who went 10-2 straight-up and against the spread. They’re in good position to add to that solid record against an overmatched Iowa State Cyclones squad in the Alamo Bowl.
Gardner Minshew was among the best quarterbacks in the country this year, completing over 70 percent of his passes, with 36 going for TDs (compared to nine INTs). He had a variety of receivers hauling in his throws, as five players recorded 40 or more receptions. Iowa State was just 62nd at stopping the pass this year, and injuries to defensive backs D’Andre Payne and Datrone Young may weaken that unit even further.
The Cyclones could also struggle on third down in particular; they have a 42 percent conversion rate against this year (99th), while Wazzou’s offense converts at a 43.8 percent clip (30th), per oddsshark.com.
Meanwhile, the Cougars’ stoppers were a solid unit in 2018, allowing just 23.1 points per game (39th). They’ll be matched up against a unit led by Brock Purdy that was only 80th in points after playing in the offensively-driven Big 12.
Prediction: Cougars win, 35-24
The play: Cougars -3