Northwestern Vs. Utah: Holiday Bowl Trends & Betting History

Thursday, December 20, 2018 2:01 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018 2:01 PM UTC

The Big Ten has topped the Pac-12 in each of the last three Holiday Bowls. Can No. 22 Northwestern keep the streak alive in 2018 versus No. 17 Utah? Oddsmakers do not thing so, the Wildcats currently 7-point underdogs.

2018 Holiday Bowl: No. 22 Northwestern vs. No. 17 Utah

In operation since 1978, organizers created San Diego’s Holiday Bowl to provide the now-defunct Western Athletic Conference a postseason showcase. The event has fielded a Pac-10, Pac-12 team since 1997, matched with a Big Ten opponent since 2014. No. 22 Northwestern and No. 17 Utah square off in the 2018 edition, the first appearance for each program.

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Holiday Bowl Results Last 20 Years
Season Winner Loser Final Line Total Winner ATS O/U
1998 Arizona Nebraska 23-20 3 N/A W N/A
1999 Kansas St. Washington 24-20 -10.5 N/A L N/A
2000 Oregon Texas 35-30 7.5 N/A W N/A
2001 Texas Washington 47-43 -13 N/A L N/A
2002 Kansas St. Arizona St. 34-27 -18.5 N/A L N/A
2003 Washington St. Texas 28-20 9.5 N/A W N/A
2004 Texas Tech California 45-31 11 N/A W N/A
2005 Oklahoma Oregon 17-14 3 N/A W N/A
2006 California Texas A&M 45-10 -4.5 52.5 W O
2007 Texas Arizona St. 52-34 -2 62 W O
2008 Oregon Oklahoma St. 42-31 1 76 W U
2009 Nebraska Arizona 33-0 -2 40.5 W U
2010 Washington Nebraska 19-7 13.5 53 W U
2011 Texas California 21-10 -3.5 48 W U
2012 Baylor UCLA 49-26 2 82 W U
2013 Texas Tech Arizona St. 37-23 16 72 W U
2014 USC Nebraska 45-42 -7 62.5 L O
2015 Wisconsin USC 23-21 3.5 50 W U
2016 Minnesota Washington St. 17-12 8.5 61 W U
2017 Michigan St. Washington St. 42-17 -2 47.5 W O

Holiday Bowl Key Betting Numbers (Since 1998)

Average Victory Margin: 12.0
Average Line: 0.8
Favorite ATS: 5-15
Average Total: 58.9 (since 2006)
O/U Record: 4-8 (since 2006)
O/U Margin: -4.0
Largest Underdog Upset: Texas Tech (+16) 37, Arizona St. 23 (2013)
Largest Spread: Kansas State -18.5 (2002)
Largest Rout: California 45, Texas A&M 10 (2006)

Holiday Bowl Summary & Trends
  • Since 1998, the game winner is 16-4 ATS, topping the number (0.8) by 12.7 points per game.
  • Underdogs are 11-9 SU over the last 10 years.
  • Since 2005, the team allowing fewer rushing yards for the season has won 10 of the 14 Holiday Bowl matchups. Northwestern enters allowing 133.8 yards per game, as opposed to 102.2 for Utah.
  • The “under” is 8-2 in the last 10 contests, the losing team averaging 18.9 points in this span.
  • The team with the smaller margin of victory is 14-6 SU and 13-7 ATS in the last 20 meetings.
Conference H2H: Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Since the current formation of the Pac-12, the Big Ten is 26-25 SU (51.0 percent) and 27-22-2 ATS (55.1 percent) in head-to-head battles. In bowl games, the cover rate improves significantly to 13-4 ATS (76.5 percent). Straight up the rate is 58.8 percent (10-7). The Big Ten has won and topped the number in all six postseason meetings kicking off the betting favorite or a short-priced underdog of less than 4.5 points.

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Are you ready for @NUFBFamily and @Utah_Football? Make sure you grab your #HolidayBowl merch today!https://t.co/Fz4j0ko16S pic.twitter.com/YOWSnW9oLr

— SDCCU Holiday Bowl (@HolidayBowl) 5 de dezembro de 2018
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Northwestern Wildcats (8-5 SU, 6-7 ATS)

Seasons: 125
Bowl Record: 4-10 SU, 6-7 ATS (since 1980)
Coach, Bowl Record: Pat Fitzgerald (3-5 SU, 5-3 ATS)

Pat Fitzgerald, The king of upsets, hasn’t conjured up as much stunner magic in bowl games, losing five of six catching points outright. The longtime Northwestern head coach has claimed victory in two bowl games as the betting favorite (2013, 2017), and again as a 4-point pup against Pitt (31-24) in the 2016 Pinstripe Bowl, but none spotted more on the college football oddsboard.

Northwestern vs. Pac-12

SU Record: 2-1
Average Margin: 5.6
ATS Record: 2-1
Average Line: -1.8

All three of Northwestern’s Pac-12 matchups are season openers. Including the old Pac-10, the Wildcats are 0-2 SU and ATS in bowl games since 1980, losing the 1996 Rose Bowl to USC (41-32) as a 3-point underdog, and the 2005 Sun Bowl to UCLA (50-38) catching 2.5 points.

Utah Utes (9-4 SU, 7-6 ATS)

Seasons: 112
Bowl Record: 17-4 SU, 14-5 ATS (since 1980)
Coach, Bowl Record: Kyle Wittingham (11-1 SU, 9-3 ATS)

Since 1980, the Utes are an eye-opening 15-4 SU and 14-5 ATS in bowl games. Head coach Kyle Wittingham has led the charge since 2004, going 11-1 SU and 9-3 ATS overall. Wittingham’s defense has held nine of 12 opponents under their projected team total, yielding 19.6 points per game.

Utah vs. Big Ten (since 1980)

SU Record: 9-4
Average Margin: 0.5
ATS Record: 9-4
Average Line: 3.8

Utah is 7-4 SU and ATS away from Provo in Big Ten matchups since 1980, despite kicking odd a 6.3 average underdog. Two matchups have come in bowl games: a 38-10 defeat to Wisconsin as an 8.5-point pup in the 1996 Copper Bowl, and a 26-24 victory laying 4.5 points to Indiana in the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl.

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