Auburn Tigers vs. Northwestern Wildcats Citrus Bowl Betting Picks and Predictions

December 31, 2020

Date:Friday, January 1st
Time:1:00 PM ET
Network:ABC
Venue:Camping World Stadium
Spread:NW -3.5
O/U:43.5

The 6-4 Auburn Tigers will meet up with the 6-2 Northwestern Wildcats in the Citrus Bowl on Friday afternoon at 1:00 PM ET in Camping World Stadium. The Wildcats come in as 3.5-point favorites and we’re expecting a defensive showdown with a 43.5 over/under. Both of these teams rely on their defense and it’ll be interesting to see who will prevail. You can tune in on ABC. Let’s dive into how this one will go down and who will end up covering the spread. Make sure to check out the rest of our CFB Picks and Predictions as we will have every single bowl game covered.

Trends

  • Tigers are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
  • Wildcats are 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games.
  • Under is 4-0 in Tigers last 4 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
  • Under is 5-0 in Wildcats last 5 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.

When The Auburn Tigers Have The Ball

The Tigers hold a less than impressive record for a big bowl game, but it’s fair when you look at their schedule. Their four losses came to Texas AM, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. They do have quality wins over Kentucky and Tennessee, but they’ve yet to beat an opponent that’s as good as Northwestern is. Auburn must be a lot better on both sides of the ball than they have been as Northwestern isn’t a team that will give you an inch. 

Sophomore QB Bo Nix had high aspirations coming into the season, and he’s been up and down at best. He’s up to 2,123 yards with 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions on top of 356 rushing yards and another seven scores. He has two elite targets in Anthony Schwartz and Seth Williams, who are each over 42 catches and 600 yards. Tank Bigsby is a beast at RB and he’s rushed it for 834 yards and five touchdowns with another 84 yards through the air out of the backfield.

When The Northwestern Wildcats Have The Ball

After going 5-0 to start the season, the Wildcats lost two of their last three games to Michigan State and Ohio State. The loss to the Buckeyes is understandable, but Michigan State is a terrible team and Northwestern was just off their game in that one. This is a team that relies on defense and while they lost, they still held Ohio State to just 22 points and made the game competitive. The Wildcats have an elite trio of linebackers in Paddy Fisher, Blake Gallagher, and Chris Bergin that all have 70+ tackles on the season. Brandon Joseph leads the team with six interceptions and he will be tasked with slowing down the Tigers primary receiver.

Offensively, Northwestern is a team that plays slow and wants to run it. QB Peyton Ramsey is a dual-threat monster and he’s up to 1,442 yards, nine touchdowns, and eight interceptions with 213 rushing yards and two more scores. They don’t rely on any single running back, but Drake Anderson, Cam Porter, and Isaiah Bowser join Ramsey over 200 rushing yards. You never know who will carry the ball and each back brings a separate skill set.

When Ramsey does drop back, he has two primary options in Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman (38 rec, 447 yards, 4 TD) and Kyric McGowan (34 rec, 366 yards). They’re the only pass-catchers over 20 receptions and Ramsey will pepper the pair with targets. This Wildcats offense will wow nobody, but they’re solid when Ramsey takes care of the football as the defense will always show up.

Spread Prediction

The Pick: Auburn +3.5

The Auburn Tigers will show up where teams from inferior conferences don’t. They’ll be just as big in the trenches and they’re far more talented at the skill positions. While the Northwestern defense won’t go anywhere, Auburn has an SEC defense as well and they will have no trouble slowing down NW. When Auburn has the ball, Nix must take care of the football. If he can avoid turning it over, the Auburn offensive line will win enough. Bigsby will have a solid game at RB and the combo of Williams and Schwartz will be too much to hand. This game is a toss-up in my eyes and I’ll take the 3.5 points on Auburn. I also like the money line quite a bit.

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Total Prediction

The Pick: Under 43.5
Final Score Prediction: Auburn 20, Northwestern 17

Both of these teams rely on their defense and neither offense is all that talented or efficient. Auburn turns it over too much when they get aggressive and Northwestern simply won’t do it. Both squads want to run the ball and the under is the only safe bet to make here. The defenses are also a lot more healthy as both teams are facing some injuries on their offensive line. It’s never comfortable to bet an under this low, and I do like Auburn +3.5 more, but love the under as well and will have exposure to both.

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