Utah (9-4) is favored against Northwestern (8-5) in the Holiday Bowl at SDCCU Stadium on Monday (December 31, 2018, 19:00ET).
The spread opened at -8.5 points for the Utes. They’ve gone 8-2 straight up as favorites this year, and 6-4-0 against the spread. The Wildcats are 5-3 straight up as underdogs, and 6-1-1 against the spread.
Utah had a fantastic season, going 9-4 and winning the Pac-12 South. The conference championship game was unwatchable, but at least it did away with stereotypes about the Pac-12. The wins Utah recorded this year over Oregon, USC, BYU, Stanford, and UCLA will be looked back on fondly.
Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley completed 63.9% of his attempts this season for 1,762 yards and 12 touchdowns. Zack Moss gained 1,142 yards from scrimmage and rushed for 11 touchdowns, averaging a respectable 6.1 yards per carry.
As a squad, the team gained 396.6 yards per game and scored 28.7 points per game. The defense allowed just 316.2 yards and 18.5 points per game, while Bradlee Anae led the team with 8 sacks this season.
Northwestern also had a historic season, also won their division, and was also fed to a superpowered death machine in the conference championship game.
The Wildcats offense features QB Clayton Thorson, who threw for 2,940 yards and 15 TD’s this season. Thorson completed 60.3% of his passes, which works out to a passer rating of 118.8. Isaiah Bowser ran for 1,092 yards and 6 touchdowns, averaging 4.6 yards per carry.
Altogether, Northwestern averaged 356.8 yards per game and 23.7 points. The defense allowed 390.7 yards and 23.5 points per game. Joe Gaziano notched 7 sacks this season.
Holiday Bowl Betting Advice
Utah is certainly the better team, but both of these teams are perfectly happy with a low-scoring game. It might be tough to cover this spread in a game that adds up to less than 35 points.