Sugar Bowl Update - Books Adjusting Auburn’s Way

Auburn Tigers

Thursday, December 29, 2016 2:52 PM GMT

No. 17 Auburn and No. 7 Oklahoma meet up at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Monday, January 2nd (7:30 p.m. ET) for the 83rd annual Allstate Sugar Bowl. Get your updated game information, line movement, and trends for the SEC-Big 12 showdown here.

The Sooners and Tigers arrived at New Orleans on Tuesday, each hoping to win the storied Sugar Bowl. Auburn head coach Gus Malzhan told reporters there is plenty of motivation among both programs to win, as the victor will be a lock for a preseason top 10 ranking prior to the 2017 season.

Auburn is seeing plenty of money in the betting market. The high-flying Sooners opened 5-point favorites for the clash nearly three weeks ago. Some early adjustments by sports books saw the number rise to -5.5 in the first 48 hours of trading, but it's been in steady retreat since. Auburn is a field-goal underdog just days out from kickoff.

The most interesting line movement is occurring in the category of first-half bets. Oklahoma opened as 4-point chalk to win-out until halftime. The spread crashed to as low as -0.5 on Monday, Dec. 27, but has rebounded a tad to -1 for the Sooners.

Quarterback Sean White and running back Kamryn Pettway each practiced in full in Auburn's first of eight sessions leading up to the 2017 Sugar Bowl. This is great news for an offense that lost its rhythm to close out the year with the two suffering injuries. The Tigers scored a total of 42 points in their final three SEC games with the duo on the mend; prior to that, the team averaged 36.2 points per game. White was the SEC's most efficient passer, completing 65.2 percent for 9 TDs, 3 INTs and 1,644 passing yards.

The total, meanwhile, is steadily climbing from its initial offer of 62.5 points. The over-under sits at 63.5 points a week out from the game with no pushback to write of.

Neither team will have a player sit out of the contest due to NFL aspirations, which has plagued some of the impending bowl games with the likes of Stanford's Christian McCaffery and LSU's Leonard Fournette opting to rest.

Oklahoma quarterback and two-time Heisman finalist Baker Mayfield ended any speculation of his absence weeks ago when he vowed to return for his final season next year. Otherwise, two backup Sooners, including walk-on linebacker Dalton Rodriguez, are suspended for the game because of academic issues.

In 2016, Oklahoma averages 44.7 points against FBS foes, third most in the country behind Louisville (45.3) and Western Kentucky (45.1). Quarterback Baker Mayfield leads an Air Raid attack that posts a 10.8 yards per passing attempt. The unit's 7.4 yards per play against FBS opponents ranked first in the nation.

Auburn is at full strength. Tiger quarterback Sean White and running back Kamryn Pettway are all-systems-go after late-season injuries (shoulder, ankle) forced each to miss time closing out the regular season. The offensive duo has been practicing in full since the start of preparations leading up to the New Orleans trip.

Since 1996, the SEC is 27-12 straight up and against the spread versus the Big 12 in bowl games following Kansas State's upset over Texas A&M in the AdvoCare Texas Bowl last night. The Big 12, revered for its emphasis on offense, has put 40 points or more in just four matchups.

Oklahoma is just 2-4 SU and 1-5 ATS in this stretch. It's only cover came in its last trip to the Sugar Bowl with a shock 45-31 victory over Alabama as 16.5-point pups in 2014. Auburn, meanwhile, beat Nebraska 17-14 as 1.5-point underdogs in the 2007 Cotton Bowl in its only appearance; this was prior to the Cornhuskers moving conferences.

The wrong team might be favored in this one, and a little on Auburn +135 straight up is nice value. But the best bet goes to Oklahoma 'under' its team total.

For more insight on the Sugar Bowl, be sure to check out my previous article and pick here.

NCAAF Free Pick: Under 63.5

Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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