Vrbo Citrus Bowl Prediction: Tigers vs. Wildcats Odds
Looking for Auburn Tigers vs. Northwestern Wildcats free picks? The Vrbo Citrus Bowl sees the Tigers taking on the Wildcats on Friday, January 1st at Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida. Cappers Picks provides complimentary handicapping picks all NCAA football season long so stay tuned for more FREE college football predictions like this Auburn Tigers-Northwestern Wildcats bowl game free pick.
College Football Handicapping: 2021 Vrbo Citrus Bowl
(6-4) Auburn Tigers vs. Northwestern Wildcards (6-2)
Date: Friday, January 1, 2021
Time: 1:00 pm EST
Venue: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
NCAA Football Spread: Wildcats -3.5
NCAA Betting Total: 43.5
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Auburn is transitioning into a new era after their head coach Gus Malzahn was fired in spite of a winning record during this tumultuous season. Kevin Steele, Auburn’s defensive coordinator, will lead the team and keep them focused on closing out the year on a high note.
The Fighting Fitzgeralds are coming off a loss to Ohio State in the Big 10 championship. They are favored at bouncing back in what is their fourth straight bowl game.
The tumult surrounding this COVID-laden season has not got any better for Auburn. The Tigers have been navigating bowl practices without Gus Malzahn, who was their coach since 2013, and starting to transition into the Bryan Harsin era. With an eye on staying on Harsin’s staff, Kevin Steele looks to start the new chapter with a win.
To do this, they need a bit more out of their offense. Auburn saw a bit of regression this year, which is a surprise considering QB Bo Nix still led the team under center. The Tiger offense is 81st in the FBS in points per game. Their rush offense is statistically better as RB Tank Bigsby is averaging 6.0 yards a carry this year.
Auburn’s defense is doing just enough to get wins. They are in the top half of most defensive categories but have a difficult time getting the opposition of field on third down. Teams convert over 50% against this defense. However, the defense may find success against a lackluster, grind it out Northwestern offense.
Not many predicted the success the Northwestern Wildcats had this year. The Wildcats need to rebound from the Big 10 championship loss and can do so with strong defensive effort.
The Wildcats’ defense is an extremely strong defensive unit. With Bo Nix’s regression, the defense can find success in limiting the Tigers’ pass offense. The Wildcats sport the #1 defense in pass yards per play. The game will come down to how well Auburn can run the ball against Northwestern’s middle-of-the-road rush defense.
NCAA Football Handicapping Trends
- Auburn is 4-0 in last 4 games following an ATS win.
- Auburn is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 non-conference games.
- Northwestern is 4-0 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Northwestern is 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game.
Free Vrbo Citrus Bowl NCAA Football Pick
Both teams are entering this bowl with some uncertainty. Auburn’s offense has been inconsistent all season. Bo Nix is in position to put that behind and finish strong by managing the game and limiting mistakes against an extraordinary Northwestern secondary. Tank Bigsby can get some yards in this game and can be enough to make a difference.
Northwestern on the other hand had an exceptional year yet there are some concerns with the team’s stability. First, there reported interest from both sides that Pat Fitzgerald may take a leap to the NFL. Second, another seven players are either out or listed as questionable for the Citrus Bowl.
4* Free NCAA Betting Pick: Auburn +3.5
Northwestern’s defense is significantly better than Auburn’s but their offense is not going to put anyone away. QB Peyton Ramsay has a TD:INT of 9:8. That is one interception per game and entering a bowl game with short spread could be disastrous.
Auburn will find success running the ball and can even pick up yards if Bo Nix manages the game and runs when the pass isn’t there. With a FG success rate of 90%, take Auburn +3.5.
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