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Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com

By Dan Kilbridge | | 6 mins

Ohio State vs Utah Rose Bowl Picks & Betting Predictions

Ohio State vs Utah Rose Bowl Picks & Betting Predictions

Talk about two teams in two different places.

Utah is flying high coming off a Pac-12 title game win over Oregon, the Utes’ second victory over the Ducks in two weeks. And they’re about to make the first Rose Bowl appearance in school history. All is well in Salt Lake City.

Ohio State is coming off a devastating season-ending loss to rival Michigan in Ann Arbor, an upset that ended the Buckeyes’ CFP hopes and CJ Stroud’s Heisman campaign in the blink of an eye.

The Buckeyes will be making their 16th appearance in “The Granddady of them All” and enter as favorites, but the Utes have all the momentum and enthusiasm ahead of this Big Ten-Pac 12 showdown.

Let’s take a deeper look into this matchup and what it means from a college football betting perspective.

All college football odds are current as of publication. Betting sites may indicate odds changes closer to kickoff.

Utah vs. Ohio State Key Matchups

Ohio State WRs vs. Utah DBs: We’re still waiting to hear if Ohio State receivers Chris Olave and Garret Wilson will play in this one. Assuming they suit up, the Utes’ secondary is presented with a tremendous challenge here. Utah has one of the best secondaries in the country and Ohio State’s passing attack is up there as well. Games like this often come down to one or two big plays, and the Buckeyes receivers need to create them against an elite defense in this strength-on-strength matchup.

Utah OL vs. Ohio State Front Seven: Michigan presented the blueprint on beating Ohio State last month. The Wolverines chipped away in the run game with midsize gains, managed the clock and ultimately wore the Buckeyes down in the trenches to the tune of 297 rushing yards and an average of 7.2 yards per carry. Utah is almost perfectly balanced offensively, with a strong rushing attack. That’s how they beat Oregon twice and that’s how they can try to pull off the upset in Pasadena.

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4 Key Stats For Utah vs. Ohio State

551.4: Offensive yards per game for Ohio State, tops in the nation.

315.4 Yards per game allowed by the Utes defense, 12th-best in the country.

20.9: Points per game allowed by Ohio State.

20.6: Points per game allowed by Utah.


RELATED: Ultimate Betting Guide To College Football Bowl Season


Utah vs. Ohio State Moneyline

Ohio State is a moneyline favorite for the Rose Bowl, listed around -185 on betting apps. Utah is a +155 underdog for one of the biggest games in the history of the program, and so far the large majority of moneyline bets are coming in on the Utes.

This game is as much about Ohio State bouncing back from disappointment as anything else. If the Buckeyes are motivated – which shouldn’t be that difficult, even if the CFP has taken a little shine off the Rose Bowl in recent years – they will be very tough to beat.

Michigan played a nearly-perfect game to upset the Buckeyes and Utah will have to come close. The Utes have won six straight and continued to improve throughout the season, with a pair of wins over Oregon in the final weeks. The same Oregon team that beat Ohio State in Columbus earlier this season.

Unfortunately, the transitive property is never a strong indicator of future college football results. We expect a close game, but the Buckeyes should come out on top behind the most prolific offense in the country.

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Utah vs. Ohio State Point Spread

The Buckeyes opened as a touchdown favorite, with the line since dropping to -5 or -4.5 depending on the sportsbook. More point spread tickets have come in on Ohio State, but the money is almost dead even with bettors completely split on this line at sportsbooks.

Utah’s defense has been playing out of its mind lately, holding Oregon to just 515 yards combined in those two victories. The Utes have also held opponents under 100 rushing yards in four of their last five games, which is exactly how Michigan’s defense was able to get off the field in crucial times against the Buckeyes.

Ohio State will test this Utah secondary like it’s never been tested, but the Utes have balance and should be able to run on the Buckeyes and stay in it for four quarters. We don’t think Utah has enough to pull off the upset, but we do like the Utes to keep it close and cover in Pasadena. You can get Utah +4.5 at BetMGM.

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Utah vs. Ohio State Total

This is a big number, with the Over/Under settling in around 67. That’s the highest total for a Rose Bowl since it was set at 74 for the Oregon-Florida State College Football Semifinal in 2014. That total sailed Over as Oregon cruised to a 59-20 win.

That’s been the trend of late, with the total going Over in 12 of the past 16 Rose Bowl matchups – however, the total has gone Under in Ohio State’s last three Rose Bowl appearances. That’s the trend we expect to continue with this matchup.

Utah will want to slow things down as much as possible on the ground, and Ohio State might find it’s better suited to run than test the elite Utes secondary. Both defenses are strong and the status of several offensive skill players is still unknown. We’re comfortable taking the Under as one of our college football picks.

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About the Author

Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com
Dan Kilbridge
Handicapper Dan Kilbridge writes about college football, MLB and other sports for Bookies.com after spending three years covering Tiger Woods’ comeback and the PGA for Golfweek.