Sports gambling reaches a fever pitch during the end of the college football season. That's when we get into mega high-stakes games, including the college football playoff and National Championship. The Citrus Bowl isn't on that same level, but it comes pretty close. College football betting lines are a major draw for every end-of-the-year showdown, but as far as second-tier bowl games go, Citrus Bowl odds are one of the most popular lines to invest in.
Most people still tend to focus first and foremost on the more major bowl games, a collection of big-ticket competitions known as the New Year's Six. That's fine. But the Citrus Bowl—and other bowl games like it—are fun because they continue to host quality teams yet are also cleaner fits for certain betting strategies. Don't just take this statement at face value, though. We're here to get into the nitty-gritty of the Citrus Bowl, and all the betting appeal it has to offer.
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Not enough people really think about where they're going to place their Citrus Bowl bets. Odds are offered everywhere. They will choose an online sportsbook, register, and just move on. Here's some free advice: Don't do that.
There is more to the betting experience than the odds themselves. When seeking out an online sportsbook, you should be prioritizing anything that might be important to you. Do you want fast payouts? Sizable sign-up bonuses? Excellent customer service? Assurance that odds are accurate and won't always change as you're going to submit your wager ticket? All of the above?
Don't worry. We don't expect you to find the perfect gambling site on your own. We're here to help. Below you'll find an exhaustive—and thoroughly researched list—of the online sportsbooks best equipped to handle not only Citrus Bowl spreads but all of your college football betting:
College Football Citrus Bowl Betting Odds
The Citrus Bowl's betting field is no different from any other college football game. Concrete odds cannot be offered until later in the season, once the final rankings are set and the college football playoff bracket has been determined.
Narrowing down the conference tie-ins doesn't change that. It doesn't matter that the Citrus Bowl invites teams from the Big 10 and SEC. Those schools are still competing for higher-stakes spots ahead of the Citrus Bowl—one of the four college football playoff spots, yes, but also one of the eight spots dedicated to the other four major bowl games.
In reality, then, it takes a little longer for Citrus Bowl odds to hit the public sphere than it will for certain other games. Still, you can rest easy knowing will have them right here for you once they go live. For the time being, if you're pining for some big-picture action, you're limited to college football playoff futures and National Championship futures. The odds were last updated on January 11, 2021:
Citrus Bowl Odds
|Ohio State Buckeyes||TBA||TBA||TBA|
|Alabama Crimson Tide||TBA||TBA||TBA|
|Penn State Nittany Lions||TBA||TBA||TBA|
|Texas A&M Aggies||TBA||TBA||TBA|
|Notre Dame Irish||TBA||TBA||TBA|
The problem here, obviously, is that all sportsbooks have pulled their major futures amid the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Just as professional sports leagues have needed to grapple with delays and total cancellations, so, too, has the NCAA football season.
To be honest, the college ranks are facing tougher circumstances than the pros. Not only do they include a larger competitive field—pro leagues like the NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB only have 30-something teams, compared to college football which, conservatively, has hundreds—but their athletes aren't compensated, which makes forcing them to report a murky moral area.
A handful of conferences have already agreed to postpone their season until at least the spring. The Big 10, which sends a team to the Citrus Bowl, is among those that have made such a decision. Many expect there will be more conferences, or at least big-name schools, to render similar verdicts before the 2021 college football season gets underway.
The implications of this ambiguity are vast, and they absolutely impact the Citrus Bowl. If the season isn't postponed across the country, all the schools that have kicked the can on their games until the spring will be removed from bowl-game contention, since those are played in December and January.
On the flip side, if the season is delayed for every team, then many programs will have to reconcile with an influx of players who opt out of suiting up in favor of preparing for the 2021 NFL draft. To be sure, this is already an issue for certain teams. But it will be an even bigger quagmire if the college football season doesn't start until March or April, the latter of which is the month when the NFL draft is typically held.
Irrespective of what happens to the college football season, bettors need to brace themselves for a thinner list of genuine Citrus Bowl contenders. Whether schools are bounced from consideration because they've delayed their season or canceled it or because they've lost too many important players, the current circumstances are going to act as an involuntary purge.
Your job in this scenario: Stay on top of the news. Don't just wait for college football to make a decision. Investigate the impact it has on the odds. See which schools have fallen off the odds latter. And above all, make sure you've selected a sportsbook committed to updating odds in real-time, as breaking news is bound to have an effect on this year's betting pool more than it ever has before.
The Importance of the Citrus Bowl
Priorities for college football bowl games are usually accolade-based. Ergo, bettors are more inclined to first focus on the major six bowl games, two of which will always make up the college football playoff:
In literal terms, the Citrus Bowl is a member of the second-rate season finales, the list of which includes:
These bowl games are all important. They afford winning schools bragging rights and selling points when recruiting prospects and the payouts are quite large. But they still pale in comparison to the headlining six bowl games.
And yet, the Citrus Bowl is actually closer to a college-football-playoff-level bowl game than not. It is the oldest of the main events not in the New Year's Six and features one of the highest payouts to the winner, at a total of nearly $8.9 million.
Big-time schools are going to compete as a result. We're talking about powerhouse schools, like Alabama and Oklahoma State, who will rank in the top 10 to 12 of programs in the country.
So no, the Citrus Bowl isn't just another bowl game. It's a form of a championship—not the National Championship, but only a few beats off.
Citrus Bowl Betting Strategies
All the usual college football bowl game betting strategies apply to the Citrus Bowl. You will want to get your bets in early, check out the extensive list of prop options, and really did into the live-wager types that will be at your disposal.
But the Citrus Bowl also opens the door to work underdog moneylines, sort of like you would for a college football playoff bowl game. In many of the second-tier bowl matchups, you'll be dealing with larger spreads—lines like -10.5, -14.5, and sometimes even higher.
There's a larger talent gap between schools participating in those tilts than there is in, say, the Fiesta Bowl.
The Citrus Bowl toes the line of the latter. You're usually watching two teams that place between the top 10 and top 18 getting after it. The talent levels of those squads are usually almost even, as they would be during the college football playoff.
And yet, oddsmakers will always select a favorite. It may be a minor favorite, one laying -1.5 or -2.5 or something like that. But they will typically pick one. This gives you an opportunity to try profiting off a slight underdog who pays out better than 1-to-1 on your investment.
The catch: Like always, you're guaranteed to nothing. And you need to play the matchup. If Kentucky is facing Penn State and clearly no match for the Nittany Lions, don't try to force the underdog action on the Wildcats.
Similarly, you also need to make sure the prospective return is worth the risk. Some Citrus Bowl games will feature co-favorites—two teams both laying -105 or something similar. Ideally, you're looking for an underdog in the +120 or higher range.
And if you're feeling really spunky, you can parlay this underdog with favorites from a collection of the other secondary bowl games. They tend to feature borderline formalities, and if you pair a Citrus Bowl underdog with a few -400 type heavyweights from other games, you'll have the chance to increase your profit tenfold.