Utah Utes (8-4) vs. Northwestern Wildcats (7-5)
The collegiate football stage is set for a compelling Las Vegas Bowl showdown as the Utah Utes, with an 8-4 standing, prepare to face off against the 7-5 Northwestern Wildcats. This matchup, scheduled for Saturday is not just a clash of teams but a canvas for expert NCAAF bowl picks. Fans are eagerly anticipating the kickoff at Allegiant Stadium, with live coverage provided by ABC. This game not only promises excitement but also poses intriguing questions for those tracking the season’s dynamics.
Utah Utes have shown remarkable resilience this season, due to the efforts of Ja’Quinden Jackson and Devaughn Vele. Jackson, an impressive running back, has amassed 742 rushing yards at an average of 4.8 yards per attempt with 4 touchdowns – his ground game will prove pivotal against Kentucky Wildcats’ defense. Meanwhile Devaughn Vele has provided vital aerial support with 593 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns, providing reliable options for Utah’s aerial attacks.
Northwestern Wildcats may trail slightly in season record, yet boast two outstanding players in Cam Porter and Cam Johnson who standout on their team. Porter, an efficient running back who has amassed 618 rushing yards and four touchdowns this year; wide receiver Cam Johnson has contributed 684 receiving yards and five touchdowns as a key figure of Northwestern’s passing game with his playmaking abilities capable of turning games upside-down.
Utah Utes vs. Northwestern Wildcats Game Info
|Saturday, December 23, 2023, at 7:30 PM ET
Bryson Barnes QB vs. Ben Bryant QB
Utah quarterback Bryson Barnes enters this contest as a seasoned game manager, able to efficiently read defenses and keep the Utes offense on schedule. Despite solid production that includes over 1,500 passing yards and 12 touchdowns, he has had turnover issues at times this season. Barnes will need to avoid the big mistake against an opportunistic Northwestern secondary. He displays quality mobility, both inside and outside of the pocket, with the ability to extend plays when the protection breaks down. However, Barnes has taken his share of drive-killing sacks, and the Wildcats potent pass rush could impact his rhythm if left unchecked.
For Northwestern signal caller Ben Bryant, efficiency ranks among his strongest attributes. Bryant maximizes his opportunities downfield by diagnosing coverages and finding the open man. He also shows a level of poise within the pocket, willing to hang in to deliver accurate strikes under duress. Though sack totals have piled up, Bryant has the awareness to avoid massive loss yardage by navigating the pocket or throwing the ball away. He also utilizes the middle of the field well, attacking linebackers in coverage to move the sticks. Bryant must contend with a Utah defense that has forced 16 interceptions this season.
NCAAF Odds/Point Spread: Utah Utes -350, Total Odds: 42.5
The odds favor the Utah Utes, reflecting confidence in their ability to control the game. The total odds set at 42.5 points suggest a game that might not be high-scoring but strategically intense.
Utah Utes Betting Trends
Utah’s offense has trended over recently, hitting the over in 5 of their last 7 overall. They also excel in December showcases, boasting a 5-0 straight up record this month over the last few seasons. When favored, the under has value, going under in 8 of their previous 11 matches.
Northwestern Wildcats Betting Trends
The Wildcats enter this contest covering their last 6 point spreads. They’ve also stayed under the total in 5 of their previous 7 games. Northwestern has historically struggled against the Pac-12, going 3-6 ATS over their last 9 matches. However, the under has value, hitting in 6 straight December contests. They are also 5-0 ATS over their last 5 Saturday games.
Utah Utes vs. Northwestern Wildcats 12/23/23 Betting Picks
The Utah Utes appear to have an edge in terms of overall performance and player impact. However, the Northwestern Wildcats’ impressive ATS record and resilience make them a strong contender, especially with the point spread. For those looking into top bookie software, betting on the Utes to win but the Wildcats to cover the spread seems a prudent choice. The total going under 42.5 is also a viable bet, considering both teams’ recent trends.
Free Pick and Prediction: Utah Utes 24, Northwestern Wildcats 17