The Auburn Tigers are 5.5 point favorites when they face the Wisconsin Badgers in the 2015 Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day. Is there an ATS upset in the forecast in the Outback Bowl? Let’s find out.
The Outback Bowl is the first of three mid-day college football bowl game sports betting board on the first day of the new year that includes the Capital One and Cotton before the two national semifinals, the Rose and Sugar bowls, kick off in the evening.
Wisconsin Badgers vs Auburn Tigers
Date: Jan. 01, 2015
Start Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
Location: Tampa, Florida
Stadium: Raymond James Stadium
TV Info: ESPN
Stream Info: WatchESPN.com
Radio: Wisconsin Vs Auburn
Point Spread: Tigers -5.5
Game Total: 61
Analyzing My Wisconsin Vs Auburn Outback Bowl ATS Upset Pick
Auburn Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn runs a fast-paced offense behind quarterback Nick Marshall. Last season, Marshall led the team to the national championship game, but this year’s schedule was tougher and the Tigers wound up with an 8-4 record and are ranked a woeful 19th in the nations. All four losses came in SEC play.
Marshall is completing 60.1 percent of his passes for 2,315 yards, with 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season. He also rushed for 780 yards and 11 scores. Over his last two games, Marshall has four touchdowns and two picks.
Auburn’s ground game is averaging 5.5 yards per carry with running back Cameron Artis-Payne leading the team with 1,482 yards on the ground, while Duke Williams was the leading receiver with 730 yards and five scores.
Defensively, the Auburn Tigers are allowing 26.1 points, 388.7 yards, and they’ve forced 20 sacks and 24 turnovers. Johnathan Ford leads Auburn with 84 tackles and Cassanova McKinzy has 10 tackles for loss.
Charlie Harbison will serve as the defensive coordinator on New Year’s Day, but newly hired Will Muschamp was with the team during practice this month and will certainly be tuned in for the finale. Head coach Gus Malzahn knows his defensive players are under the microscope.
“They’re trying to impress him, trying to show what they can do,” Malzahn said of the recently-fired Florida head coach. “They’re in evaluation mode and he’s trying to evaluate what we have and thinking about next year and putting his pieces of the puzzle.”
— RaymondJames Stadium (@RJStadium) December 29, 2014
Under second-year head coach Gary Andersen, Wisconsin has continued its power-running ways, winning the Big Ten West, but falling short in the title game. The Badgers, who are ranked 18th, seemingly could not get anything going on either side of the ball.
Melvin Gordon had a record-setting year for the Badgers, helping lead one of the most explosive rushing attacks in the country in a division-winning campaign.
Quarterback Joel Stave completed 53.6 percent of his passes for just 1,229 yards and eight touchdowns, with seven interceptions on the season. WRs Alex Erickson and Sam Arneson have combined for more than 1,000 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
Defensively, the Wisconsin Badgers are allowing 20 points, 283.2 yards, and they’ve forced 36 sacks and 17 turnovers. Michael Caputo leads Wisconsin with 99 tackles and Vince Biegel has 15.5 tackles for loss.
Auburn will win the Outback Bowl if
Stop Melvin Gordon and force quarterbacks Joel Stave and Tanner McEvoy to make plays!
If the struggling Auburn Tigers want to win the 2014 Outback Bowl, then their first order of business has to be stopping elite running back Melvin Gordon!
Gordon, who announced that he will take his talents to the NFL following the conclusion of this season, is the focal point of Wisconsin’s often one-dimensional offensive attack. If the Tigers can contain Gordon (and that’s no small task) and force mediocre quarterbacks Joel Stave and Tanner McEvoy to beat them, they’ll have a great chance to pull off the upset.
Gordon rushed for a whopping 2,336 yards and 26 touchdowns to lead the nation in both categories. The sure-fire NFL star (I think) rushed for at least 140 yards in nine of his 13 games this season, putting the onus on Auburn’s 46th-ranked run defense (149.5 ypg).
Again, the Tigers will be far better off if they can force Wisconsin’s pair of signal-callers to make plays. Stave completed a mediocre 53.6 percent of his passes while throwing just eight TD passes and seven interceptions. McEvoy wasn’t much better in completing just 58.0 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and six interceptions.
Wisconsin will win the Outback Bowl if
They actually show up and play some defense!
The Badgers were on a red-hot roll heading into their Big Ten title tilt against Ohio State, having won seven straight games just prior to their conference championship matchup.
Unfortunately, the Badgers played their worst game of the season at the most inopportune time en route to a stunning 59-0 shutout loss to the Buckeyes. Now the team will face Auburn with former head coach and current athletic director Barry Alvarez taking over for recently-departed head coach Gary Andersen who bounced on the program to lead Oregon State.
Prior to their loss to Ohio State, Wisconsin had held each of their previous six opponents to 24 points or less while holding 10 of their 13 opponents to that figure or less overall.
If Wisconsin shows up and goes all out for Alvarez, who retired as head coach following the 2005 campaign, the Badgers simply need to play the same brand of defense that they did all season until their final regular season contest.
The Badgers finished 15th in points allowed (20.0) while also finishing a fantastic fourth in total defense (283.2 ypg) and fifth against the pass (164.3 ypg).
If Wisconsin can force athletic, but often erratic quarterback Nick Marshall into a few bad plays, they could dominate.
Who will win the Outback Bowl?
Despite their dismal loss to Ohio State the last time out, I like Wisconsin to get the SU win over an Auburn team that looked like they were in total disarray in dropping three of their last four games while allowing at least 34 points each time out.
The Tigers are 22-14-2 all-time in bowl games, while Wisconsin is 11-14 in the postseason.
Still, with Auburn going 5-1 ATS over their last six bowl games, I like the Tigers to cover the spread in a narrow loss.
Wisconsin is 5-11 ATS in their last 16 games and just 2-5 ATS in their last seven bowl games. Again…I like the Badgers to win outright and the Tigers to cover!