Utah vs. Northwestern Prediction, Odds, Trends and Key Players for Las Vegas Bowl

College football betting preview, prediction and best bets for Las Vegas Bowl between Northwestern and Utah.

Nov 18, 2023; Evanston, Illinois, USA;  Northwestern Wildcats quarterback Ben Bryant (2) passes the
Nov 18, 2023; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Northwestern Wildcats quarterback Ben Bryant (2) passes the / Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
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Utah's season was mired by injuries to key players, but the team will look to finish it on a high note by winning its bowl game against Northwestern in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Despite a turbulent offseason, Northwestern rallied around its interim and now full time head coach David Braun to qualify for a bowl game. The team navigated the imposing Big Ten West and now faces another stout defense in Utah. What can we expect from this bowl game?

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Utah vs. Northwestern Odds, Spread and Total

Northwestern vs. Utah Betting Trends

  • Utah is 6-5-1 against the spread (ATS) this season
  • Northwestern is 8-4 ATS this season
  • Utah is 2-2-1 as a favorite of seven or more
  • Utah has gone UNDER in seven of 12 games
  • Northwestern is 4-2 ATS as an underdog of seven or more

Northwestern vs. Utah How to Watch

  • Date: Saturday, Dec. 23
  • Game Time: 7:30 PM EST
  • Venue: Allegiant Stadium
  • How to Watch (TV): ABC
  • Northwestern Record: 8-4
  • Utah Record: 7-5

Northwestern vs. Utah Key Players to Watch

Northwestern

Ben Bryant: Despite some injuries, Bryant has returned for the back half of the Wildcats schedule, clearly the best man for the job at quarterback. He has completed 65% of his passes with a 10-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio. While the NW offense is limited, Bryant has been able to open up the passing game quite a bit for this team, passing for 230 or more yards in three of seven starts.

Utah

Bryson Barnes: Barnes is in the transfer portal as the team's primary starter looks for a new home next season, but he has already stated that he'll play in the bowl game as the Utes' won't have backup quarterback Nate Johnson is in the portal and not set to play. Barnes performed well after taking the starting role early in the season, leading the team to wins against the likes of USC and Florida. Barnes had a 12-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio and passed for 1,410 yards.

Northwestern vs. Utah Prediction and Pick

This game is going to be a slog as both teams prefer to lean on its defense and methodical drives that well position the team to win the battle of field position. Utah is 102nd in EPA/Play and Northwestern isn't far ahead, 99th in that same metric. Meanwhile, both defenses check in inside the top 50 in yards per play allowed.

Neither team is explosive on offense and I expect each defense to dictate the terms, evident in this low total. However, I can only side with the under. The Utah defensive line will be one of the best Northwestern has seen this season, ranking top 20 in Pro Football Focus' tackling grade. There won't be many holes for the Northwestern offense to run through or time for Bryant to find guys downfield.

Northwestern will look to do the same against Utah. The team is top 40 in both explosive pass and rush defense as the team will force the Utes to work its way down the field. However, Utah grades out as a poor offense, 98th in yards per play and is poor at generating touchdowns from in close, 114th in red zone touchdown percentage.

I think this game is going to be a slog, and I'll go with the under.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

Track Reed's bets here!