Northwestern vs. Auburn Citrus Bowl Betting Odds & Pick: How to Bet College Football Matinee

Northwestern vs. Auburn Citrus Bowl Betting Odds & Pick: How to Bet College Football Matinee article feature image
Credit:

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Bo NIx.

  • Northwestern and Auburn will battle in the sun in this year's Citrus Bowl on Friday afternoon.
  • The Wildcats are looking to make the most of their final game after losing in the Big Ten Championship, while the Tigers hope to salvage a season that saw a disappointing start.
  • Matt Wispe breaks down the game and shares a betting pick based on his analysis below.

Northwestern vs. Auburn Odds

Northwestern Odds
-3.5
Auburn Odds
+3.5
Moneyline
-175 / +140
Over/Under
43.5
Time | TV
Friday, 1 p.m. ET
ABC
Odds as of Thursday morning and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today.

After losing to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship, Northwestern will look to put an exclamation point on a successful season with a win over Auburn in the 2021 Citrus Bowl.

Northwestern built its record to 6-2 in mostly low-scoring, ugly games. The Wildcats rank 98th in average points per game and fifth in average points allowed.

Following a 6-4 season, Auburn dismissed head coach, Gus Malzahn. That leaves defensive coordinator Kevin Steele at the helm for the team’s postseason bout.

These two programs have met only one time in their history, and Auburn won, 38-35. Their second-ever meeting projects to be a much lower-scoring affair, as the Wildcats have gone under the total in all but one game this season.

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Northwestern Wildcats

Northwestern will be missing cornerback Greg Newsome, wide receiver Kyric McGowan, and defensive lineman Eku Leota in this game. Newsome, who was named first-team All-Big Ten, is the most notable of the bunch.

Offense has been a struggle for Pat Fitzgerald’s Cats. They hold an Offensive Success Rate of 38.9%, which ranks 38th-worst nationally.  However, they play with a bit of pace, averaging 25.05 seconds per play and 74 plays per game.

Passing hasn’t been the issue for this team. The Wildcats have a Success Rate of 43.1% through the air, but they’ve been fairly limited in creating explosive plays.

Peyton Ramsey averages just 5.8 yards per attempt, and as a team, Northwestern is averaging just 1.88 passing plays over 20 yards per game, which ranks 14th-worst nationally.

Northwestern runs the ball on 57.97% of plays, but it’s fair to question why. The line generates just 2.56 Line Yards per attempt and allows a Stuff Rate of 22.5%. And as a whole, the group owns a Success Rate of 35.6% on the ground.

Defense is the bread and butter of Fitzgerald teams, and this year is no different. The Wildcats allowed a Success Rate of 36.8% with particular success against the pass. Their 31.1% Passing Success Rate is the best in the nation, and they’re allowing just 4.95 yards per attempt.

Auburn Tigers

Auburn is missing its second-leading receiver and multiple defensive backs for this game. Additionally, the Tigers struggled down the stretch, losing two of their final three regular-season games, including a 42-13 blowout against Alabama in the Iron Bowl.

Auburn’s offense ranks 86th in points per game and 75th in yards per game. The unit boasts an Offensive Success Rate of 43.2% and averages 3.28 points per opportunity.

Bo Nix season has been in full effect, and by that, I mean he’s been mediocre consistently. He’s averaging 6.7 yards per attempt and has an 11:7 touchdown-to-interception ratio. This has led Auburn to rank 84th in Passing Success Rate.

Auburn runs the ball on 53.4% of plays. Tank Bigsby, who is questionable for this game, has been a highlight for the Tiger offense, averaging 6.0 yards per attempt on 138 carries.

Auburn holds a Rushing Success Rate of 47.5% with a big help from an offensive line that is generating 3.27 Line Yards per attempt and allowing a 16.2% Stuff Rate.

There are a lot of issues with Auburn’s defense. The Tigers allow a Success Rate of 46%, allow opposing lines to gain 3.22 Line Yards per attempt and stuff just 13.6% of rush attempts.

On top of all of that, the group struggles to get off of the field with a 15.3% Havoc rate while allowing 3.5 points per opportunity. Luckily for Auburn, it’ll be facing a fairly limited offense.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

This is a game of strength vs. strength and weakness vs. weakness.

Northwestern has proven to be limited enough on offense to mitigate concerns about its ability to expose a bad Auburn defense. On the other end, the Northwestern defense has proven capable of slowing down Auburn’s offense.

This game is forecasted to feature crosswinds ranging from 12 to 15 miles per hour. With these two teams already struggling to pass the ball, these conditions will contribute to additional struggles and keep the scoring low.

I’m taking the under 43.5 and would take as low as 42.

Pick: Under 43.5 (down to 42).

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