Northwestern Wildcats (8-5) at Utah Utes (9-4)
|Date & Time||Monday December 31, 2018, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Utah Utes -7 -- Over/Under: 45
The Northwestern Wildcats and the Utah Utes meet in college football action in the Holiday Bowl from SDCCU Stadium in San Diego, California.
The Northwestern Wildcats enter this game with an 8-5 overall record, including a 8-1 mark in Big Ten conference play to sit atop the Big 12 West division and book a spot in the conference championship game where the Wildcats fell to Ohio State by a final score of 45-24. Clayton Thorson has thrown for 2,942 yards, 15 touchdowns and 14 interceptions on 60.4% passing while Isaiah Bowser has rushed for a team-high 796 yards and 6 touchdowns this season. Flynn Nagel leads the Wildcats in receiving with 66 catches for 759 yards while Bennett Skowronek has 44 grabs for 556 yards and Cameron Green has a team-high 50 catches for 437 yards and 4 touchdowns. As a team, Northwestern is averaging 356.8 yards of total offense and 23.7 points per game this season.
The Utah Utes enter this game with a 9-4 overall record, including 6-3 in Pac-12 conference play, finishing at the top of the Pac-12 South division, earning a spot in the conference title game where the Utes would fall to Washington by a final score of 10-3. Tyler Huntley (who is questionable for this game) has thrown for 1,762 yards, 12 touchdowns and 6 interceptions while Jason Shelley has thrown for 860 yards, 3 touchdowns and 4 picks. Zack Moss leads Utah with 1,092 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns while Armand Shyne has 479 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns. Britain Covey leads Utah with 59 catches for 611 yards while Jaylen Dixon has 475 receiving yards and Samson Nacua has 30 grabs for 357 yards and a team-high 5 touchdowns. As a team, Utah is averaging 396.6 yards of total offense and 28.7 pints per game this season.
Northwestern is 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games against a team with a winning record and 13-6-2 ATS in their last 21 games overall while the under is 4-1 in their last 5 bowl games. Utah is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games against the Big Ten and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 bowl games while the over is 5-1 in their last 6 games against a team with a winning record.
Utah is the team with the higher-octane offense here, but we saw that offense stall without Huntley under center and if he’s questionable for this game, I like Northwestern’s chances to at least cover here. The Wildcats were one of the most underrated teams in the country given how well they’ve played the entire season, and I simply trust Thorson running the Wildcats offense than I do Shelley running Utah’s, so I’ll take Northwestern and the points here.