Rose Bowl 2022: Latest Ohio State vs. Utah Odds, Predictions and MoreDecember 11, 2021
Rose Bowl 2022: Latest Ohio State vs. Utah Odds, Predictions and More
The Ohio State Buckeyes and Utah Utes may have missed out on the College Football Playoffs this season, but consolation prizes don't get better than the Rose Bowl.
The Utes will be making their first trip to the Granddaddy of them All. They never made it to Pasadena when they were a mid-major breaking the mold in the Mountain West, and this is the first time they have won the Pac-12 since joining the conference in 2011.
The Buckeyes are no stranger to Pasadena, California. They have made the third-most appearances in the history of the game (15) and are tied with Michigan for the second-most wins (eight).
For Utah, this is an opportunity to bring some added legitimacy to the program. This will be the Utes' first top-tier bowl game since beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl in the 2008 season. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, have a chance to wash away the taste of losing to Michigan and make one more statement as to how good the 2021 version of the team is.
Odds and Viewing Info
Date: Jan. 1, 2022
Time: 5 p.m. ET
Location: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
Live Stream: ESPN
Odds: Ohio State -6.5, O/U: 67
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.
It comes as no surprise that the Buckeyes come into this game as the favorite. They have the better record at 10-2 on the season, with their latest loss coming to a Michigan team that is on its way to the playoffs.
They also boast one of the top offenses in the country. Much of that is thanks to a passing attack that is nearly impossible to stop. C.J. Stroud finished the season as a Heisman finalist after tossing 38 touchdowns to five interceptions and a little more than 3,800 yards.
While Stroud was the catalyst for the passing attack, the heart of their game possibly the best trio of receivers in college football. Both Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson project as first-round picks in the 2022 NFL draft. Jaxon Smith-Njigba would be in that discussion too if he were draft-eligible.
Smith-Njigba and Wilson each has more than 1,000 yards, while Olave is just 64 yards away from the milestone.
As for the Ohio State defense, it has been strong on the whole. But when the unit has fallen short of expectations, it has failed spectacularly. After allowing a little more than three yards per carry in the run game, it gave up 297 rushing yards to Michigan.
That's good news for Utah as it has been a successful running team all season. The Utes are second in the nation in yards per carry and have four rushers with more than 400 yards on the season. Sophomore Tavion Thomas leads the way with 1,041 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground.
The Utes will rely on the ground game and depend on good defense to keep them in it. They are 23rd in the nation in scoring defense, and come in at 14th on a yards-per-play basis.
Their abilities to defend both the run and pass make it unclear what to exploit. As they showed in two wins over Oregon this season, they are a physical team that can control a game in the trenches.
The spread here feels just about right. The way Utah has finished the season with six consecutive wins, including two over Oregon over their final three games, commands respect. Given the issues that Michigan gave Ohio State up front, there is a path to victory for Utah.
But it's also true that Ohio State is among the most dangerous teams in the country. Analytic models that focus on success on a per-play and per-drive basis love the Buckeyes, and that can be a better indication of their ability than simply looking at their record.
ESPN's SP+ particularly likes the Buckeyes, ranking them at No. 2. Meanwhile, Utah finished the season at No. 21.
This one could turn into a shootout. With a few weeks to see the way Michigan attacked the Ohio State defense, Utah should be able to make hay with its rushing attack. But it's also questionable whether the Utes can slow the Buckeyes passing attack.
Utah has been solid on that side of the ball, but there aren't many teams that bring the skill Ohio State does on the perimeter.
The Buckeyes and the over are just barely the picks.
Prediction: Ohio State 38, Utah 31
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