The 2021 Birmingham Bowl features an exciting matchup between the Houston Cougars and Auburn Tigers. BetMGM’s latest NCAAF odds show Auburn as 2.5-point favorites.
Will Auburn cover the spread? What are some other good picks in this game? I’m giving you my top recommendations for this bowl game.
Birmingham Bowl Game Information
Before we get into the bets, let’s take a look at the date, time, and location of this bowl:
- Date: Tuesday, Dec. 28th
- Time: Noon EST
- Venue: Protective Stadium in Birmingham, AL
- Participants: Houston and Auburn
Houston +2.5, Houston +110
Auburn has three starters opting out of their bowl game: cornerback Roger McCreary, linebacker Zakoby McClain, and right tackle Brodarious Hamm. In addition, Auburn has another offensive starter out due to injuries in center Nick Brahms, and quarterback Bo Nix transferred to Oregon.
In their last 12 games, Houston’s only loss was in the AAC Championship Game to Cincinnati, who is in the College Football Playoff. On the other hand, Auburn lost their last four games, including matchups against unranked Mississippi State and South Carolina.
Houston ranks ahead of Auburn in scoring offense and defense. The Cougars are 14th in points scored per game (37.3) and 25th in points allowed (21). Auburn has faced three defenses that give up fewer points per game than Houston. They scored 52 combined points in those games (about 17.33 per game).
Houston scores eight more points per game than Auburn, and they give up just over a point a game less than Auburn.
The two primary reasons I think Houston will win this game are turnovers and time of possession. Houston ranks 6th in time of possession, controlling the ball for 33 minutes per game. On the other hand, Auburn only controls the ball for 28 minutes, which is 93rd in the nation.
Perhaps most importantly, Houston has a turnover margin of +11. They’ve done an excellent job of creating extra opportunities for themselves. I think the Cougars will win this game outright because of Houston’s ability to create turnovers and control the clock.
Despite these two defenses ranking highly in points allowed per game (Houston is 25th, Auburn is 33rd), I think this game will go over.
On offense, the teams average a combined 66 points per game.
Where I think Houston has an opportunity to score a lot of points is in their passing game. Auburn is 92nd in passing yards allowed (242.7 per game), while Houston’s passing offense is 24th in the country (270.7).
If Houston can expose that matchup, I believe that they can put up 30 points or more. So I’m expecting Houston to win this game 30-24.
Make Your Predictions
What do you think will happen in the Birmingham Bowl? Do you think Houston will win and go over, or will Auburn keep the score low and pull out a victory?
You can place your bets on this game and all of this season’s bowl action with the best online sportsbook, BetMGM. Create your account today for a risk-free initial $1,000 bet.