Auburn Tigers vs Penn State Nittany Lions Predictions, Picks & Odds

Auburn Tigers vs Penn State Nittany Lions Prediction

  • When Auburn has the ball: Can Bo Nix shake road woes?
  • When Penn State has the ball: Is the rushing attack for real?
  • X-factors to watch

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Auburn Tigers vs Penn State Nittany Lions Odds

Odds presented by: DraftKings Sportsbook

Team Spread Money Line Total
Auburn Tigers +6.5 (-110)
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-185
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O 53 (-110)
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Penn State Nittany Lions -6.5 (-110)
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+225
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U 53 (-110)
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Auburn Tigers vs Penn State Nittany Lions Prediction and Picks

There’s plenty of reasons to like both teams. Bo Nix is an experienced quarterback for Auburn and they’ve covered each of their past seven games in September and are dominant in non-conference games. But on the other hand, Penn State has a chance to vault even further into the national spotlight with what would be its second signature win in three weeks. With the home crowd rocking, we’re going to take the upset — we like Penn State with the spread and Moneyline.

Pick:

Penn State Nittany Lions

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Garcia’s 2021 record: (3-2)

Trends to Watch

  • Tigers are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games in September
  • Tigers are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 non-conference games
  • Tigers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a winning home record
  • Tigers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 vs. Big Ten
  • Tigers are 1-5 ATS vs. a team with a winning record
  • Tigers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a winning home record
  • Under is 6-1 in Tigers last 7 road games
  • Nittany Lions are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games overall
  • Nittany Lions are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 vs. SEC
  • Under is 4-0 in Nittany Lions last 4 games in September
  • Over is 9-2 in Nittany Lions last 11 non-conference games

Can Auburn Fix Offensive Road Problems?

When he plays at home, Bo Nix is one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC and among the best in the country. When he goes on the road? Well that’s been another story for the third-year quarterback.

Nix has played 12 neutral-site or road contests and the numbers leave much to be desired. He’s yet to throw for more than 300 yards in a single game and he’s passed for more than two touchdowns just once.

Nix recorded a QB rating of 106.56 last season while on the road — 99th in the nation.

You might wonder how that compares with when he plays in the friendly confines of Jordan Hare Stadium. Last year his QB rating was 155.05 at home and so far through the first two weeks of this season, it’s at 199.17, fifth best in the country.

That said, Nix’s numbers at home are vastly improved (thus far) compared tto last year, so if he can make an equivalent leap on the road, Auburn might be in business. That said, the 60-10 win in Week 1 and 62-0 victory in Week 2 came against Akron and Alabama State, so it remains to be seen how talented this attack truly is.

It’s going to have to go up against a Penn State defense that’s been dominant this season. Through two games, including a 16-10 road win at Wisconsin (certainly one of the top three wins of any team in the country) Penn State has forced five turnovers, four of which have been interceptions.

The run D has been one of the best in the country, too, allowing just 2.9 yards per carry. Will it be able to slow down Tiger back Tank Bigsby, the reigning Freshman of the Year in the SEC?

If yes, Penn State will be in good shape.

Penn State Offense Still Has More to Prove

Okay, we get it. Jahan Dotson is really good. The standout wide receiver has once again started the season with a bang, catching 10 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns through two games.

But who else is going to take a big step forward? There are still questions about this offense and that’s in large part because there are questions about the rushing attack.

Last week against Ball State, Noah Cain needed a team-high 20 rushes totally just 69 yards (fewer than 3.5 per carry). That’s largely due to the lack of push the offensive line was able to generate.

And if you took away the one-time quarterback Sean Clifford got loose for a 43-yard run, the entire offense averaged just better than four yards per carry.

Speaking of Clifford, this is a big spot for him, too. He’s always been seen as a game manager — he showed that again last week, going 21-of-29 with 230 yards and a touchdown — but can he be more? Can he truly take over a game against a top tier opponent? That’s what we need to see.

X-Factors to Watch

There’s plenty of playmakers for both sides, but who else is going to step up in the passing game for Penn State? Ten different Nittany Lions caught passes last week, but other than Dotson only Parker Washington had more than three catches or 30 yards.

Penn State needs someone else to emerge as a complementary threat.

And for Auburn, it’s just the question of if the offense is able to be anywhere near as electric as it’s appeared the first two weeks.

Jarquez Hunter has looked like a great second option out of the backfield — he set a school record with a 94-yard touchdown run last week — so keep an eye on the freshman standout specifically.

How to Watch Auburn Tigers at Penn State Nittany Lions

Auburn Tigers at Penn State Nittany Lions Information
Teams No. 22 Auburn Tigers vs No. 10 Penn State Nittany Lions
Location Beaver Stadium, State College, Pennsylvania
Time Saturday, Sept. 18, 7:30 p.m. EST
How to watch ABC

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Tony Garcia

Expert on Baseball

Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.