The 2021 Birmingham Bowl features the Houston Cougars (11-2 SU, 7-6 ATS) taking on the Auburn Tigers (6-6 SU, 6-6 ATS) on Tuesday (12 p.m. ET, ESPN) Despite losing several players to the transfer portal and injuries, the Tigers are consensus 2-point favorites around the betting market.
FanDuel also offers several intriguing player props for the game. The following are some of our favorites.
Houston vs. Auburn Passing Player Props
Clayton Tune, passing yards — O/U 255.5 (-113/-113)
The junior quarterback for the Cougars threw for 255+ yards in six of 13 games this season. Against the most formidable defense he faced, Cincinnati, he threw for 250 yards. Auburn’s defense ranked 90th in the country against the pass during the regular season and figures to on the field too much since the Tigers offense will probably struggle.
Clayton Tune, passing touchdowns — O/U 1.5 (-158/+124)
Tune had multiple touchdowns in all but three games this season. Auburn was not strong against the pass even before losing several key players to the transfer portal and the NFL Draft. It would not be shocking if Tune has multiple touchdown passes in the first half of the Birmingham Bowl.
Houston vs. Auburn Rushing Player Props
Tank Bigsby, rushing yards— O/U 81.5 (-113/-113)
The Auburn passing game has been suspect with TJ Finley under center, so the Tigers will likely lean on Bigsby in the running game. They did in Finley’s first start against South Carolina, and it paid off. Bigsby ran for 164 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. However, against Alabama’s fourth-ranked run defense he had only 63 yards on 29 carries.
Houston’s run defense ranked 11th in the country and allowed just 105.7 yards per game. But the type of running games they faced in the AAC don’t compare to what Auburn saw in the SEC.
Alton McCaskill, rushing yards — O/U 64.5 (-113/-113)
While McCaskill averaged 67.9 yards per game this season, his production ranged from a season-low five yards in the season opener to 129 yards against Temple. While he does have three 100+ yard games on his resume, he has not run for more than 58 yards in his last three.
Tank Bigsby, rushing touchdowns — O/U 0.5 (-215/+164)
If Auburn gets in the red zone, you have to think the Tigers will put the ball in the hands of their best offensive player —Bigsby. However, with the personnel losses and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo getting fired, there is a chance the offense struggles in the Birmingham Bowl against a good Houston defense.
Alton McCaskill, rushing touchdowns — O/U 0.5 (-125/-102)
Houston’s run game is not stellar, but 27 of its 57 offensive touchdowns came on the ground during the regular season. Of those 27, McCaskill accounted for 16 of them. He had at least one in all but four games this season.
Houston vs. Auburn Receiving Player Props
Demetris Robertson, receiving yards — O/U 39.5 (-111/-115)
Finley has struggled to get the passing game on track in his two starts, and Robertson had three catches in each for just 18 and 39 yards. Houston will be down star cornerback Marcus Jones, however, which could open things up for Auburn.
Nathaniel Dell, receiving yards — O/U 78.5 (-111/-115)
Dell had 100+ yards in four of Houston’s last six games and had five total 100+ yard games during the season. When he did not go for 100+, he had 78+ yards in just three of eight games. Houston will throw on Auburn’s lackluster secondary, and Clayton Tune will look for his favorite target early and often.
Shedrick Jackson, receiving yards — O/U 35.5 (-115/-113)
Jackson will face the same production issues as Robertson. However, with Finley at quarterback, he had a seven-catch, 111-yard day against South Carolina, which he followed up with a two-catch, 19-yard day against Alabama.