2023 Las Vegas Bowl – Utah vs Northwestern

2023 Las Vegas Bowl – Utah vs Northwestern

posted December 20

The Game

Take a break from the THREE’S COMPANY SLOTS and leave that 17 ITEM POTATO BAR behind as it’s time for the Las Vegas Bowl. Utah (8-4) had a disappointing regular season, thanks in large part to a yuuuge case of the injury bug, but it tells you something about their program when “just” eight wins is considered to be a downer. Northwestern (7-5) SHOCKED the WORLD and scampered into bowl season quite easily which is quite the achievement given that their season win total was set in the 3.5 range.

The Details

Utah -6.5 Northwestern (42)


“Vegas” Implied Projected Score: Utah 24.25 Northwestern 17.75

Utah offense vs Northwestern defense

The Utes had to roll without star QB Cam Rising this season and it showed in the offensive stats (#86 FBS total offense, #114 passing). The good news is that they found a way to run the ball no matter who was at QB or who was playing RB (#26 rushing offense) so that’ll bode well facing a Wildcats’ run defense that’s ranked #81 in the nation (160 YPG). It appears as tho the Utes will have QB Bryson Barnes available (12-9 TD to INT, 3 rush TD) as well as their top-two RBs (Jackson, Glover) so that should allow them to craft an offensive strategy that they’re comfortable with on game day.

Northwestern offense vs Utah defense

Northwestern has been anything but impressive on offense (#118 rush, #95 pass) but they’ve still managed to bag seven wins whilst winning four of their last five games. We presume that QB Ben Bryant will start this game (11-6 TD to INT, 62%) but backup Brendan Sullivan has done some good work and he presents much more of a threat with his legs. RB Cam Porter is a decent #1 option (618, 4 TD) and the Cats boast a pair of WRs with 600+ receiving yards (Johnson, Kirtz). Utah is traditionally a BRICK WALL on defense but they’ve been down a clear notch this season (injuries) and they’ll be missing a small handful of starters in this one.

Trends, Intangibles and More!

Northwestern has won four consecutive bowl games dating back to the 2016 Pinstripe Bowl…..The Utes have lost (!) four straight bowl games after having an epic run under HC Kyle Whittingham……One of those losses came against…..WAIT FOR IT…..WE KNOW YOU WANT IT……Northwestern in the 2018 Holiday Bowl…..Northwestern has recovered nicely from the hazing scandal that rocked the college football world in the summer…..As one anonymous player put it, “We now realize that putting freshmen in WOOD CHIPPERS was wrong, even though they were just scum. Ha ha.”


What do you do when it’s CRAFTY vs CRAFTY? We’d probably take the points if forced to make a call but gonna take a seat for now.


No leanage

‘Official play’ implies this pick is one of our favorites of the week (perceived value, match-up, coaching, trends, etc.). We’re currently playing these picks for the same amount as the leans but it’s up to you how you want to manage your bankroll. Please see the Week in Review posts for more detail.

‘Lean’ implies we are placing a wager on the game.

‘No leanage’ implies we won’t have any action on the game.

Team totalsWe list the implied number based on the point spread and total when our analysis is posted. If a team total ends up being an official play we will post a widely available number at the time of pick release.