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Las Vegas Bowl Betting Preview: Northwestern Wildcats vs. Utah Utes

December 23, 2023

The Utah Utes will face the Northwestern Wildcats in the 2023 Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday, December 23rd, in Paradise, Nevada at Allegiant Stadium with the game scheduled to start at 7:30 PM ET on Saturday evening and will air on ABC.


Utah finished the regular season with a record of 8-4 which led to a 4th place finish in the Pac-12 Conference, however, the Utes lost two of their last three games but ended their two-game losing streak with a 23-17 win at home against the Colorado Buffaloes. In three of the four losses this season for the Utes, they allowed 35 or more points with a loss at home by a score of 6-35 against the Oregon Ducks while losing on the road to the Washington Huskies by a score of 28-35 and on the road against the Arizona Wildcats by a score of 18-42. In seven of their eight wins, the Utes allowed 17 points or less, so this game is likely to come down to how the defense performs. The Utes will look to build off the momentum following the 23-17 win against the Colorado Buffaloes in the season finale when they face the Northwestern Wildcats.


The Northwestern Wildcats far exceeded expectations they had entering this season as they were projected to be one of the worst teams in the Big Ten and had an over/under win total of 3 games. The Wildcats also fired Pat Fitzgerald shortly before the season started because of hazing allegations which also left them in limbo, however, they finished the regular season in 2nd place in the West Division of the Big Ten Conference with a record of 7-5 while winning four of their last five games and are on a three-game winning streak following a 45-43 win on the road against the Illinois Fighting Illini. Northwestern featured a below-average scoring offense as they enter this game averaging 22.75 points per game, however, they had an above-average scoring defense that allowed an average of 23.83 points per game during the regular season.


BookMaker has the Utah Utes listed as 6.5-point favorites against the Northwestern Wildcats in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday evening. The teams have only played each other one time before this meeting which occurred in the 2018 college football season and resulted in a 31-20 win on the road for the Northwestern Wildcats while covering the 6.5-point spread as an underdog by winning the game outright. The Utah Utes are 6-5-1 ATS overall and 4-2-1 ATS as a favorite this season while the Northwestern Wildcats are 8-4 ATS overall and 6-3 ATS as an underdog on the year.


Utah has been the better team this season as they enter this game with a record of 8-4 while Northwestern is 7-5. The four losses for the Utah Utes came against high-powered offenses with losses against Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and Oregon State all of which averaged over 33 points per game, however, that isn’t the case with Northwestern as they are one of the lowest-scoring teams in the nation which is why I look for the Utes to get the win. The Utes are 4-2-1 ATS as a favorite this season. 


Utah is dealing with quite a few changes to their team and although Northwestern is not a team that will keep you up at night they should keep this game close in a low scoring game.


Spooky Express Pick: Northwestern Wildcats +7