Our college football betting expert offers his best betting picks and predictions for the matchup between Penn State and Auburn scheduled for Saturday in Auburn, Ala., at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS.
Last year, the “Whiteout” crowd of 100,000-plus-strong made a huge difference in Penn State’s 28-20 win over Auburn in Happy Valley. This year, the Nittany Lions travel to The Plains to take on the Tigers in front of a “Orange out” crowd of 84,000-plus in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn vs. Penn State prediction
Claim a Risk-Free First Bet up to $1,000
New customers only. Must be 21+. AZ, CO, IA, IL, IN, LA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA, WV, WY only. (Welcome Offer not available in NY & PA) Full T&C apply.
First bet up To $1,250 On Caesars
New users only, 21 or older. NY, CO, DC, IA, IN, IL, MI, NV, NJ, PA, TN, VA, WV only. Full T&Cs apply.
Up to $1,000 No Sweat First Bet
21+. New customers only. AZ, CT, IA, IL, LA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, TN, WV, WY only. T&C apply
Auburn vs. Penn State picks and analysis
Auburn (2-0) made a lot of mistakes (nine penalties, two interceptions, three fumbles — none of which were lost) in its 24-16 win over San Jose State (1-1) last weekend.
Conversely, Penn State (2-0) looked sharp in its dominating 46-10 win over Ohio (1-1). One of the biggest differences between these two teams is who’s starting behind center. The Tigers are using a two-pronged attack with TJ Finley, a drop-back passer, and Robby Ashford, a talented athlete who is a dynamic runner, while the Nittany Lions have a reliable veteran in Sean Clifford.
Auburn +3.5 (FanDuel)
The last time the Tigers were a home underdog — chasing 21 points against Alabama — they nearly upset the top-ranked Crimson Tide in last year’s Iron Bowl.
Auburn will play Finley and Ashford at quarterback but expect offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau to lean heavily on a run game that features Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter.
Bigsby, a breakaway threat, has rushed for 198 yards and three scores so far this season. Hunter has scored four times and averaged 4.7 yards per carry. Ashford will also get a bulk of the carries when he’s calling the shots behind center. The Oregon transfer is the team’s second-leading rusher (129 yards on 13 carries) and is averaging 9.9 yards per carry.
Auburn’s front seven is adept and stopping the run and getting after the quarterback and that group factors heavily into the decision to grab the points.
Under 47.5 points (Caesars)
The Nittany Lions have struggled running the ball so far this season and the pass protection has been shaky at times (allowed three sacks to Ohio). That doesn’t bode well against an Auburn team with a salty front seven.
Cornerback Joey Porter Jr. has the ability to shut down any Auburn wideout, and Penn State has played good enough run defense through two games to hold the Tigers running game in check.
This game could easily come down to special teams play and if it plays out that way, give Auburn the edge with kicker Anders Carlson and punter Oscar Chapman.
Our pick: Under 47.5 points
Betting on Sports?
Sean Clifford under 232.5 passing yards (Caesars)
Clifford has the edge in the QB comparison, but whether the Penn State line can contain Auburn’s collection of studs on the defensive line is another question.
Auburn’s front seven is adept and stopping the run and getting after the quarterback and that group factors heavily into the decision to grab the points. End Colby Wooden, nose tackle Jayson Jones (6-foot-6, 328) and tackle Marcus Harris, along with edge rushers Derek Hall and Eku Leota, are a big reason why the Tigers are allowing just 2.1 yards per rush attempt.
Making Penn State one-dimensional puts Clifford in a tough spot Saturday.
Our Pick: Sean Clifford under 232.5 passing yards
Penn State vs. Auburn odds
Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook. Correct at time of publishing, subject to change.
|Total Points: 47.5||Team||Spread||Money line|
|Over -110||Penn State||-3 (-115)||-155|
|Under -110||Auburn||+3 (-115)||+130|