Holiday Bowl Predictions and Odds – Northwestern vs. Utah – 12/31/18
Online betting USA establishments favor the Utah Utes over the Northwestern Wildcats by 7.5 points in the 41st Holiday Bowl. Utah was the Pac 12 South division champion and championship game participant. The Utes went 9-4 (6-3 in conference play) during the regular season, as well as 7-6 ATS. They lost the Pac 12 championship game 3-10 to Washington as 4.5-point dogs. This will be Utah’s fifth straight bowl appearance and first Holiday Bowl.
NU was the Big Ten West division champion and championship game participant. They finished with an 8-5 record (8-1 in conference play). Additionally, they were 6-6-1 according to the best online sportsbooks. The Wildcats lost the Big Ten championship game 24-45 to Ohio State as 16.5-point underdogs. This will be NU’s fourth straight bowl appearance and first Holiday Bowl.
The Wildcats had their hearts set on a Rose Bowl berth. “Week in and week out, [head coach Pat Fitzgerald]’s always given us a great game plan and great motivation — but also being experienced in what we’re going through right now,” defensive end Joe Gaziano said. “He was a Big Ten champion. He went to a Rose Bowl. And those are two goals that we have this year, that are right in front of us.” That obviously did not come to fruition. Which begs the question whether NU will play the Holiday Bowl with the same gumption as they would have the Rose Bowl.
Huntley had 12 TDs and six picks on 1762 passing yards when he was ruled out for the remainder of the season. The Utes went 5-4 against the online betting USA spread in his nine games. Could there be a tenth in the offing? “If I’m cleared I will play,” he said. “I will start.” The QB suffered a surgery-requiring shoulder injury in early November. “It’s coming pretty good,” Huntley added. “I’m just taking it a day at a time.” Backup Jason Shelly has three TDs and four picks on 860 yards while subbing for Huntley. So obviously Huntley is not the only one hoping he can play the Holiday Bowl.
Northwestern Wildcats vs. Utah Utes – Holiday Bowl Betting Preview
- Date: December 31
- Time: 5:00 p.m. MT
- Venue: SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, CA (Holiday Bowl)
Lines from GTBets.eu:
- NORTHWESTERN +7½ (-120) 46 (-110) +245
- UTAH -7½ (EV) 46 (-110) -290
- Wildcats are 23-8 ATS in their last 31 games after allowing more than 40 points in their previous game
- Wildcats are 11-4-2 ATS in their last 17 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game
- Wildcats are 12-5-2 ATS in their last 19 games following a straight up loss of more than 20 points
- Utes are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games after accumulating less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game
- Utes are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game
- Utes are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating less than 275 total yards in their previous game.
Our Game Prediction: There is a clear difference between Utah with and without Huntley. And that difference is about five points. They averaged 30.3 points per game with Huntley under center. And 25.0 points per game without him. If you think that five-point difference is enough to fade the Utes, then more power to you. And there is also the possibility that he does play as we saw above. But even in that case, would he be at a 100%? I guess the uncertainty may just be enough to make one think NU will cover the online betting USA spread.