Citrus Bowl 2022 Odds: Iowa Starts New Year As Underdog Vs. Kentucky

Written By Russ Mitchell on December 30, 2021 - Last Updated on July 22, 2022
Citrus Bowl

Iowa fans are known to say “Hawks by a million,” but the betting analysts who set Citrus Bowl odds are saying “Wildcats by a field goal” as of midweek.

The No. 15 Hawkeyes face No. 22 Kentucky in a high-noon showdown on New Year’s Day.

Where can I find the Citrus Bowl on TV?

  • When: Noon Saturday, Jan. 1
  • Where: Camping World Stadium in Orlando
  • Opponent: Kentucky (9-3) of the SEC Conference
  • TV: ABC

The Citrus Bowl is on ABC, but as PlayIA explained before the Cy-Hawk game in September, cable customers in some parts of the state may need to plan ahead.

TEGNA, a broadcasting company based out of Tysons CornerVA, owns the ABC affiliates in Des Moines (WOI) and the Quad Cities (WQAD). Right now, contract negotiations between TEGNA and Mediacom — the state’s largest cable television provider — are at an impasse. So, ABC isn’t available to Mediacom customers in those areas of central and eastern Iowa.

Barring an 11th-hour agreement, those fans will have to stream the game at ESPN3, which is not to be confused with ESPN’s paid subscriber platform, ESPN+.

How to bet on the 2022 Citrus Bowl

Casino employees took in the first legal sports bets ever placed in Iowa back in August 2019. And, you can still ask casino staff members to help you register and place your wager if you wish. All 19 state-operated casinos now offer sports betting.

But a change on New Year’s Day 2021 brought the process closer to home. The state allowed an in-person registration requirement to sunset. That means customers who want to bet on the Hawkeyes can set up a sports betting account or accounts through the internet or a mobile device. You may need to include a picture of your ID and a selfie as part of the process.

Many of the 17 sportsbooks in Iowa have set up aggressive introductory offers to welcome you as a new customer. At DraftKings Sportsbook IA, for example, a $5 deposit and bet lead to a $100 offer.

At BetMGM a $50 bet sets up a $1,000 bonus bet offer for new customers in Iowa. Be sure to use the PLAYBONUS50 promo code when signing up.

Citrus Bowl has special meaning to Iowa

An increasing number of players are opting out of bowl games to avoid injuries that could derail an NFL career. The transfer portal now allows players to move from one program to the next without missing a season. And some of the best players can earn money using their name, image and likeness (NIL). Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz hears “a lot of conversation about that stuff” and the importance of bowl games.

“The bottom line is, we still think it’s a relevant thing, first and foremost. To earn a bowl bid is significant. It’s important to us in our program. It’s important to our players and I think it’s really important to our fans also. So the way we look at it, it’s still a pretty big deal.”

Iowa is returning to the stadium that brought us Drew Tate to Warren Holloway in one of the most memorable finishes in program history. Tate found Holloway with a 56-yard touchdown pass as time expired in the 2005 Citrus Bowl. (BTN is scheduled to replay a condensed, one-hour version of the classic at 9:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day. It’s a great YouTube journey, too.)

Nick Saban was on the other sideline for the miracle finish 17 years ago. On Saturday, Ferentz and the Hawkeyes will see a friendlier face. Mark Stoops leads the Kentucky program. He played for Iowa from 1986-88 and was a graduate assistant from 1990-91. Ferentz coached the offensive line during Stoops’ playing days in Iowa City.

“I really don’t like competing against people who I know. So whether it be the Stoops family, Bill Snyder, Barry Alvarez — Bret (Bielema) was a coach and player here. But ultimately it isn’t about us — me vs. another guy. It’s about our guys against their team.”

About the game

With a history that dates back to 1947, the Citrus Bowl is the nation’s seventh-oldest bowl. It was originally called the Tangerine Bowl.

Elks Lodge #1079 of Orlando originally sponsored the game — members chipped in $100 each to make the game happen. Now Vrbo is the title sponsor.

The game has been a New Year’s Day staple since 1987 and the bowl has maintained its Big Ten vs. SEC matchup since 1993.

The Hawkeyes were No. 15 in the final College Football Playoff rankings. No. 22 Kentucky’s regular season ended Nov. 27 with a 52-21 win over Louisville. The Wildcats finished second in the SEC East. Iowa won the Big Ten West.

Photo by Matthew Kaiser / Shuttlestock
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Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell has been covering news and sports in northwest Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most acclaimed community newspapers in the state. He looks forward to keeping readers up to date on the growing sportsbook industry in Iowa.

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