No one said it better than Keith Jackson: the Rose Bowl is the Granddaddy of them all. Our pick and prediction for Ohio State vs. Utah in the Rose Bowl marks many of college football‘s greatest traditions. With it comes great football and the gentle reminder that there is good in the world as the calendar turns to 2022. Steeped in pageantry and tradition, the 2022 iteration of the Rose Bowl pits two teams just the same.
Ohio State vs. Utah betting odds and trends
- Opening Line: Ohio State -6.5 (Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)
- Current Line: Ohio State -4
- Over/Under: 64
- Moneyline: Ohio State -195, Utah +165
At one point, you could have gotten this one at Utah +7 and sat pretty through the New Year. Even still, there is some serious meat on the bone at Utah +4 if your confidence is rightfully placed in the Utes. And it’s not just because of the recent opt-outs from the Ohio State team.
Sure, OSU will be without their top two wide receivers in Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. Okay, Haskell Garrett and Nicholas Petit-Frere, their best linemen on either side of the ball, have also opted out. But even aside from those, Utah has enough recent history on their own side to warrant a look before the line continues to sway in their favor.
The Utes have covered each of its last four games against AP-ranked teams. They’re 1-0 as a betting underdog this season and are playing some of the best football of any team down the stretch of the season.
Ohio State vs. Utah prediction
Ohio State has been left with a sour taste in its mouth. In their last outing, they lost to the Michigan Wolverines for the first time in a decade. They don’t want that to be the way they remember the 2021 season. But the Buckeyes are set to be without their top two playmakers on offense, their left tackle, and a starting defensive tackle, as all have opted out of the Rose Bowl to prepare for the 2022 NFL Draft.
On offense, Wilson and Olave combined for 135 receptions and over 2,000 yards through the air. They also scored a combined 25 touchdowns. Yet, there is still cause for concern for Utah’s secondary. Jaxon Smith-Njigba may be the best of the three to play for OSU this season, which is a testament to his ability. Smith-Njigba led the trio in receptions and yards as well as yards per catch and total yards after the catch.
Utah’s recipe for success
With all of the players set to be out for OSU, there’s one big blueprint for Utah’s success: pressure C.J. Stroud and limit TreVeyon Henderson on the ground. That’s how Michigan did it in the season finale. Mika Tafua should have quite the day off the edge with the absence of Petit-Frere. Devin Lloyd should roam free and easily find pass-rushing lanes.
And then there’s Clark Phillips III at cornerback. Phillips has been terrific this season and will have arguably his toughest test yet in stopping Smith-Njigba. If his double-digit plays on the ball this season are anything to look to, he’s certainly up for the job. His play against the OSU aerial assault will pay huge dividends to the Utes’ success.
Getting down to brass tacks, the Utes might have been a bit outmatched if this game were played in October — and maybe even early in November. But through the latter stages of the season, no offensive line was playing better football, and no rushing attack was more potent than Utah’s. The unit is healthy, and Tavion Thomas isn’t fumbling the ball anymore.
Both head coaches are terrific, and both are disciples of Urban Meyer, as each took over for him at their respective universities. Kyle Whittingham took Meyer’s post in Salt Lake City 15 years ago, and Ryan Day did the same in Columbus three years ago.
Give the edge to the hotter, healthier, and more experienced team. Back the Utes.
Ohio State vs. Utah Prediction: Utah 34, Ohio State 31