Holiday Bowl Spread: Northwestern vs. Utah Odds, Prediction

Charlie Grant | Updated Dec 27, 2018

utah utes

Northwestern and Utah face for the third time ever in the 2018 Holiday Bowl with the Pac-12 side a touchdown favourite over the Big Ten team in the eyes of the oddsmakers.

AT
December 31, 2018, 7:00 PM ET
SDCCU Stadium
Utah
9-4
Pointspread +6.5 -110
Moneyline +230
Over / Under o +43

58%

Betting Action

42%

Pointspread -6.5 -110
Moneyline -280
Over / Under u +43

58%

Betting Action

42%

This is a matchup between two teams coming off great seasons but probably wishing their bowl game was taking place in Los Angeles rather than San Diego. 

Betting Analysis

Northwestern is playing in the Holiday Bowl instead of the Rose Bowl because it failed to beat Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game. The Wildcats still won a Big Ten division crown for the first time since the conference was split into two divisions in 2011.

The team rebounded well after dropping three of its first four games of the year. Northwestern won seven of its last eight games before it got turned over by the Buckeyes in the conference championship game.

The Wildcats are 13-6-1 against the spread in their last 20 games overall but 0-3-1 ATS in their last four non conference games. The program is 2-0 straight up in its last two bowl game appearances (2017 and 2016) but failed to cover as an 8-point favourite against Kentucky last year.

Utah came up just short of winning the Pac-12 for the first time since it joined the Power 5 conference in 2011. Still, the Pac-12 South division title is nothing to scoff at. The Utes finished ahead of college football big boys like USC and UCLA to win the division.

Best stat to keep in mind for Utah: The team is 27-1 straight up and 20-8 against the number against non-conference opponents since it became a Pac-12 member in 2011. The Utes are 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS in their last four bowl game appearances.

Northwestern Wildcats

The Wildcats will be without a few key defensive starters for the Holiday Bowl. Linebacker Nate Hall, an honourable mention for All-Big Ten team, is out because of shoulder surgery. He was instrumental in the win over the Boilermakers when he collected 10 tackles and one interception.

Meanwhile, defensive tackle Jordan Thompson is still recovering from a recent surgery on his knee. Thompson was graded by Pro Football Focus as Northwestern’s best player in the Big Ten championship game.

Utah Utes

The big news around the Utes surrounds the availability of Tyler Huntley. The junior was the starting quarterback for all of last season and most of this year, but picked up an injury against Arizona State at the beginning of November.

He was expected to be out the rest of the season but he’s been upgraded to probable for the Holiday Bowl. Utah lists he and understudy Jason Shelley as the co-starters. That could be a tricky situation for Northwestern’s defence.

Wildcats vs. Utes Prediction

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