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The No. 14 Northwestern Wildcats are hoping for a New Year's Day bowl victory to cap their season when they face the Auburn Tigers in the 2021 Citrus Bowl on Friday. The Wildcats (6-2) moved up to eighth in the national rankings after beating Wisconsin for their fifth straight win. They lost to Michigan State the next week and were knocked off by Ohio State in a 22-10 loss in the Big Ten title game. Northwestern has one of the nation's best defenses, but its run-based offense has struggled to score. Auburn (6-4) has lost to three top-five teams this season. 

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET at Orlando's Camping World Stadium. The Wildcats are 4.5-point favorites in William Hill Sportsbook's latest Auburn vs. Northwestern odds, and the over-under for total points scored is 43.5. Before locking in any Northwestern vs. Auburn picks, be sure to check out the college football predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.

The model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times. Over the past four-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of over $3,500 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread. It enters bowl season a sizzling 56-36 on all top-rated picks, returning over $400. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Auburn vs. Northwestern in the Citrus Bowl 2021. You can visit SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are the college football odds and betting trends for Northwestern vs. Auburn:

  • Auburn vs. Northwestern: Wildcats -4.5
  • Auburn vs. Northwestern over-under: 43.5
  • Auburn vs. Northwestern money line: Tigers +170, Wildcats -200
  • AUB: 0-3 ATS as an underdog this season 
  • NW: 7-1 ATS overall this season 

Why Northwestern can cover

Northwestern is 7-1-1 against the spread in its last nine overall, and the defense is fifth in the nation in allowing just 15.5 points per game. Tigers QB Bo Nix could be in for a long day, with Eku Leota (four sacks) and Earnest Brown (5.5 tackles for loss) wreaking havoc up front and Big Ten Freshman of the Year Brandon Joseph lurking in the secondary. Joseph has six interceptions (tied for most in FBS) in eight games, and the Wildcats have 18 takeaways.

Linebackers Paddy Fisher and Blake Gallagher are a formidable pair in the middle, and they share the team lead with 74 tackles. Gallagher has two sacks, and each has an interception and a fumble recovery. The Wildcats are 4-1-1 ATS in their last six as a favorite, and the offense gets it done on the ground. QB Peyton Ramsey (213 yards) and freshman running backs Cam Porter (235) and Evan Hull (202) lead an offense that averages 162 rushing yards per game.

Why Auburn can cover

Auburn is 6-1 against the spread in its last seven non-conference games, and it should be able to exploit Northwestern's weakness with its running game. The Wildcats give up 156.5 yards per game on the ground (54th in FBS), and the Tigers averaged 172.7 yards per game on the ground this season. They'll be without running back Tank Bigsby (undisclosed) on Friday, but they have capable replacements in Shaun Shivers and D.J. Williams. Nix has contributed 356 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.

Nix has thrown for 2,123 yards and 11 TDs, and wideout Seth Williams topped 625 yards. The Tigers are 5-1 ATS in their last six after allowing less than 275 yards in their previous game, and they have faced far better offenses. They allowed 19 rushing yards and had two interceptions in the finale against Mississippi State. Linebackers Zakoby McClain (101 tackles, three sacks) and Owen Pappoe (three sacks, two takeaways) are the catalysts. 

How to make Auburn vs. Northwestern picks

SportsLine's model is leaning under the total, projecting both teams will combine to score fewer than 40 points. It also says one side of the spread has all the value. You can only get the pick at SportsLine

So who wins Northwestern vs. Auburn? And which side of the spread has all the value? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Auburn vs. Northwestern spread to back, all from the advanced model on a 56-36 run on its top-rated college football picks this season.