Tennessee vs Iowa Citrus Bowl Preview and Prediction January 1, 2024
Tennessee vs Iowa January 1, 2024 @ Arlington TX
Opening Betting Odds
Spread: Tennessee -7.5, Iowa +7.5
Moneyline: Tennessee -300, Iowa +260
The Citrus Bowl will feature the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Tennessee Volunteers in Orlando on New Years Day. This certainly isn’t the most highly anticipated matchup of the day. It has been said that watching Iowa’s offense is right up there with watching paint dry.
Last year’s Music City Bowl was a showcase for the punters, as Iowa defeated Kentucky by a score of 21-0. Iowa had just 206 total yards, and they were 0-for-11 on third down.
The Vols might give us some hope though, as they come in as a -7.5 point favorite after an 8-4 season. They won their bowl game by a score of 31-14 over Clemson in last year’s Orange Bowl. Joe Milton may have had the best game of his career, throwing for 251 yards and three touchdowns on 19-of-28 passing.
- 8-4 Overall in 2023
- 4-4 in the SEC in 2023
- 6-6 ATS in 2023
The Vols lost leading receiver Bru McCoy halfway through the season, and Joe Milton struggled in conference play. Tennessee leaned on their running game, finishing second in the SEC in rushing averaging over 200 yards per game and 5.5 yards per carry.
Tennessee also ranked second in the SEC in run defense, allowing 113 yards per game and just 3.2 yards per carry. This is a team that is designed to shut down a one dimensional opponent such as Iowa.
Finishing 8-4 in the SEC is arguably more impressive than winning 10 games versus unranked teams in the BIG10. While the Vols were blown out in losses to Georgia and Missouri, they actually held a 20-7 lead at halftime in their loss at Alabama.
- 10-3 Overall in 2023
- 7-2 in the BIG10 in 2023
- 6-6-1 ATS in 2023
The Hawkeyes offensive futility is legendary, They rank dead last in the country in total offense, averaging just 240 yards per game. Teams that rank higher than Iowa include the likes of Kent State, Eastern Michigan, Akron and every other team in Division 1.
As bad as their offense is, they do boast a Top 5 ranked defense allowing just 172 yards per game. Their stellar defense combined with some small miracles carried them all the way to a 10 win season and a matchup versus Michigan in the Conference Championship game.
Deacon Hill took over at quarterback for Iowa after Cade Macnamara suffered a season ending injury. He threw for just 1,096 yards, five touchdowns and six interceptions on 48 percent passing.
- The Hawkeyes are 1-5 SU in their last 6 games played in January.
- The Volunteers are 5-1 SU in their last 6 games played in January.
- The Volunteers are 29-25 all time in bowl games.
- The Hawkeyes are 7-6 all time versus the SEC in bowl games.
- The Hawkeyes are 4-12 SU in their last 16 versus Top 25 teams.
PREDICTION: IOWA 13 – TENNESSEE 31
The Hawkeyes are playing the #21 ranked Tennessee Volunteers in the Cotton Bowl, and it will be their third game versus a Top 25 team this season. They lost the first two by a combined score of 57-0 versus Penn State and Michigan. The Vols are likely to pose similar matchup concerns as those two BIG10 opponents. They have an elite rushing defense, and they have a formidable rushing attack. Don’t be surprised if this game looks a lot like the Hawkeyes loss to Michigan in the BIG10 Championship Game.