Auburn Tigers vs. Penn State Nittany Lions – College Football (September 18, 2021)

By Dan Vasta in College Football
| September 16, 2021 5:49 am PDT

The Big Ten and SEC facing off in the regular season is a treat nearly every time. It could be Vanderbilt and Rutgers (they will go bowling this year), and I would still enjoy the matchup.

The Big Ten needs to bounce back after Ohio State lost to the Pac-12 and Oregon last week. The SEC has gotten the best of the conference, going 98-66-2 all-time. The Big Ten is also on a 4-9 losing binge, and things need to change to get their mojo back.

Penn State and Auburn will be meeting for the first-ever time in the regular season. The prior two meetings were in the 1996 Outback Bowl and the 2003 Capital One Bowl.

Here are your latest odds for this non-conference clash between Auburn and Penn State. Use this preview to decide how to bet at the top sports betting sites.

Auburn vs. Penn State Odds

Auburn (+6)-108
Penn State (-6)-112
Auburn to Win+195
Penn State to Win-225
Over 59-110
Under 59-110

Bryan Harsin has gone 7-3 in his career as a road underdog, but the Tigers as a program have only covered twice in the past eight occurrences.

Auburn has covered in four of the past six non-conference matchups. James Franklin is off to a great start this season, and he has gone 30-20-2 in his career as a home favorite.

Penn State has gone 6-3-1 at home when the spread is at a touchdown or fewer. Auburn is less consistent, going 4-6 as a road underdog of seven points or fewer.

Here are your keys to victory for Auburn and Penn State in this SEC against Big Ten showdown.

Why Auburn Wins

Bo Nix and the Auburn rushing attack has been productive through two games, even if Akron and Alabama State are two cake-walk games.

The Tigers are the number three rushing attack in the FBS, averaging 340 yards per game. Auburn has the goods to methodically matriculate the ball down the field with Tank Bigsby, Jarquez Hunter, and Shaun Shivers.

Hunter is the leading rusher at 257 yards with two rushing scores. Their ability to control the tempo and dominate at the point of attack is vital to their success.

Bigsby is a future NFL starting running back, and he has made life easier on Nix.

When Bigsby was out of the Citrus Bowl against Northwestern, there was too much pressure on Nix.

The starting signal-caller has had critics over the years, but so has Sean Clifford. Both passers have had issues turning the ball over, but Nix has been more mobile running in the open field.

If the passing attack can find a few big gainers, the ground game will be full of anticipation. Auburn has not had a receiver break the 100-yard threshold on the season, but that is good news.

The story has been Auburn dominating the line of scrimmage, and their big-boy version of football will cause headaches for several SEC squads this season. Throw Penn State in the discussion here since they had problems slowing down the Badgers in the season opener.

Despite the victory, there were plenty of plays that the Nittany Lions escaped with due to some ill-timed turnovers by Wisconsin. Auburn has similar talent and is less prone to coughing the ball up at the doorstep.

Why Penn State Wins

The Nittany Lions are a well-balanced offensive attack that can take on all challengers in their path. Having a hostile environment on their side is vital. The Happy Valley faithful is perhaps the top crowd in the entire country.

The Whiteout has been a tradition for decades. The Nittany Lions have as dedicated of a fanbase as any other team across the country.

Sean Clifford has a favorite in Jahon Dotson, peppering him with ten receptions for 167 yards and two scores. Dotson can take the top off any defense, and Auburn will have their hands full against this future NFL star.

The defense is another reason why the Nittany Lions should tee off against Auburn.

They will load the box up and beg the Tigers to throw on them. Wisconsin was able to have some success, but not without having costly turnovers that decided the game. The same will likely happen in this one.

Bo Nix has been an interception machine in spurts of his career, and the front seven of PSU should dominate their way to victory. Ellis Brooks and Brandon Smith are two stalwarts that will lead the way.

Auburn vs. Penn State Prediction

The difference between these two squads is the balanced offensive attack. The Nittany Lions have a slight edge in talent, and I foresee them winning the battle on both sides of the ball.

Penn State has plenty of pieces to knock off Auburn. The PSU ground game should go toe-to-toe with Auburn, but the defenses will be the difference.

Auburn’s defensive backfield will have issues defending Dotson, and Clifford has more at his disposal than Nix.

PSU will be pumped in this showdown and come out victorious in front of an insane Beaver Stadium.

Auburn vs. Penn State Pick

Bragging right is on the line. I love the SEC when points are there for the taking in non-conference tilts, but not so much here. If Auburn is going to win this one, they must dominate the trenches.

Auburn will attempt to run out the clock with their rushing attack, but they will have to develop a passing attack. Penn State has experienced athletes littered over the field. They bring the value at home, and the pick here is to lay the points with the home squad.

Pick
  • Penn State (-6)
    -112

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