Last Updated Jan 04, 2022, 2:46 PM

Rose Bowl Picks, Predictions and Odds: Utah vs. Ohio State

Jan. 1, 2022
Dan Dobish
VI Betting Expert

The Utah Utes (10-3) of the Pac-12 Conference take on the Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2) of the Big Ten Conference in a traditional conference matchup in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One Venture X on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. ET, and the game can be viewed on ESPN.

Score Prediction

Utah 37, Ohio State 34

Best Bets

Utah +160 ML at Bet365

Utah +4.5 (-110) at Bet365

Over 64 (-110) at BetMGM

Rose Bowl Predictions

The Utes will be making their first-ever appearance in the Rose Bowl, and Utah will certainly be glad to be in this game as the Pac-12 champion. In fact, we've seen plenty of schools have players declare for the NFL Draft, while opting out of their bowl games. Utah has several players who have declared for the draft, but so far everybody still intends to play in this bowl game. That's how much this means to Utah. It'll be wearing white throwback uniforms, harkening back to a time when players didn't opt out of bowl games, especially important ones like the Rose Bowl. It's the "Granddaddy of Them All". Everyone knows that! Or, at least I thought they did.

Apparently some of the Ohio State players didn't get the memo, or the history lesson. WRs Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson elected to opt out, purportedly to avoid injury in one more 'free' game before getting paid at the next level. OT Nicholas Petit-Frere and DT Haskell Garrett have also declared for the draft and will not play on Saturday. Can you imagine what Woody Hayes would say about opting out? Yeah, it's another era, that's for sure.

Still, this is an exciting situation. The Pac-12 vs. Big Ten on New Year's Day, just like the Rose Bowl was always intended. And with a lot of defections from the Scarlet and Gray, while the Utes are excited and whole, it could be a long day for the boys from C-Bus like the old days in the 1970's when they'd go to the west coast for their annual beating from the Pac-12.

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Rose Bowl Betting Resources

  • Matchup: Pac-12 vs. Big 10
  • Date: Saturday, January 1, 2021
  • Venue: Rose Bowl
  • Location: Pasadena, California
  • TV-Time: ESPN, 5:00 p.m. ET

Utah Utes Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 10-3
  • ATS: 6-7
  • O/U: 8-5

The Utes head to Pasadena hoping to snap a two-game bowl losing streak. Utah dropped a 38-10 decision to Texas in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 31, 2019 in its most recent bowl, and they were topped 31-20 in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 31, 2018, its most recent showing against a Big Ten school. The last time the Utes came out on top was the Heart of Dallas Bowl, winning 30-14 over West Virginia at the Cotton Bowl Stadium on Dec. 26, 2017. That was the fifth straight bowl victories for the Utes and Kyle Whittingham, as despite the current two-game bowl losing skid the Utes are an amazing 14-3 SU in the previous 17 bowl games, including the tail end of the Ron McBride years, the short Urban Meyer era at UU, and the nearly two decades under Whittingham's tutelage. When the Utes accept a bowl bid, they take it super serious.

Utah enters this game on a 5-1 ATS run in the past six games against teams with a winning overall record, while going 4-1 ATS in the past five games as an underdog. The Utes are also 6-2 ATS in the previous eight games against the Big Ten. However, it isn't all great, as Utah is 1-4 ATS in the past five neutral-site games, while going 0-6 ATS in the past six non-conference tilts.

In terms of the total, the Utes have hit the OVER in 11 of the past 16 games, while going 5-2 in the past seven games against teams with a winning overall record. The OVER is also 4-1 in the past five bowl games as an underdog. However, the UNDER is 5-2 in the previous seven neutral-site games.

Ohio State Buckeyes Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 10-2
  • ATS: 6-5-1
  • O/U: 7-5

This will be just the second-ever meeting between these two institutions on the gridiron. Ohio State blasted Utah 64-6 at the Horseshoe back on Sept. 27, 1986, and needless to say, Saturday's game will be quite a bit closer.

Ohio State dropped its most recent postseason game, a 52-24 loss to Alabama in the CFP National Championship last Jan. 11. Prior to that, they won three of the past four postseason games, including a 28-23 win over Washington in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, 2019. Prior to that, Ohio State topped Oregon on Jan. 1, 2010 in the Rose Bowl, winning 26-17. And before that, the Buckeyes were victorious against Jake Plummer and Arizona State in an epic game Jan. 1, 1997 in front of 100,635 fans. The last time the Buckeyes lost a Rose Bowl was Jan. 1, 1985, a 20-17 loss to USC under Earle Bruce. Under Ryan Day, the Buckeyes are 1-2 SU/ATS in three bowl/postseason games.

Ohio State has covered five of its past six appearances in the month of January, while going 6-2 ATS in the previous eight bowl games. Ohio State is also an impressive 12-3-1 ATS in the past 16 tries against Pac-12 teams. However, they're 1-4 ATS in the past five neutral-site games, too, and there are no trends to indicate how the team fares after a rash of opt outs by key personnel.

Inside the Stats - Utah Utes

  • Record: 10-3
  • VI Ranking: 13
  • Points Scored: 461
  • Points Allowed: 268
  • PS/G: 35.5
  • PA/G: 20.6

Inside the Stats - Ohio State Buckeyes

  • Record: 10-2
  • VI Ranking: 8
  • Points Scored: 546
  • Points Allowed: 251
  • PS/G: 45.5
  • PA/G: 20.9

Key Players to Watch

  • UTAH: Cameron Rising - QB (187/298, 2,279 yards, 18 TD, 5 INT)
  • UTAH: Tavion Thomas - RB (186 rushes, 1,041 yards, 20 TD)
  • OHST: Treveyon Henderson - RB (167 rushes, 1,172 yards, 15 TD)
  • OHST: C.J. Stroud - QB (280/395, 3,862 yards, 38 TD, 5 INT)

Rose Bowl Betting Conclusion

The Buckeyes had two top receivers opt out, as WRs Chris Olave (65-936-13) and Garrett Wilson (70-1,058-12) will certainly be missed, but don't forget that WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba emerged as the leader of the triumvirate, posting 1,259 receiving yards and six scores in his 12 games. He is still a stud, and will be the go-to option for QB C.J. Stroud. And certainly do not sleep on super frosh RB Treveyon Henderson, who will likely be leaned upon heavily. Of course, he'll face stiff resistance from a Utes rush defense which allowed 122.0 yards per game, ranked 22nd in the nation.

It's not that Ohio State doesn't want to be in the Rose Bowl, as it's always nice to see the Scarlet and Gray in this game. But the truth of the matter is that there could be a hangover after losing to rival Michigan for the first time in a decade, failing to make the College Football Playoff, while Michigan is playing for a chance at all the marbles. Meanwhile, Utah is more than pleased for its first-ever Rose Bowl experience. Nobody opted out for the Utes, and they are looking to make a statement against one of the country's best teams, especially on offense. Utah has a top-notch defense, allowing just 317.3 total yards per game to rank 13th, but that will easily be put to the test against an offense which is missing some parts, but still has plenty of talent.

This game might not be a video game-like offensive showcase like the Music City Bowl, but you can expect plenty of points in the Granddaddy of Them All.

Rose Bowl Betting Trends

  • Utah is 5-1 ATS in the past six games against winning teams.
  • Utah is 4-1 ATS in the past five bowl games as an underdog.
  • Utah is 6-2 ATS in the past eight games vs. Big Ten.
  • Utah is 0-6 ATS in the past six non-conference games.
  • Ohio State is 6-2 ATS in the past eight bowl games.
  • Ohio State is 12-3-1 ATS in the past 16 games vs. Pac-12.
  • The OVER is 11-5 in the past 16 games overall for Utah.
  • The OVER is 4-1 in the past five bowl games as an underdog for Utah.
  • The OVER is 5-2 in Utah's past seven vs. winning teams.
  • The UNDER is 6-2 in the past eight bowl games for Ohio State.

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