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2021 Rose Bowl: Utah vs. Ohio State - Betting Lines, Odds and Trends

Betting insight and analysis for the Rose Bowl matchup featuring No. 11 Utah and No. 6 Ohio State.

The Rose Bowl, also known as the "The Granddaddy of Them All", is the highlight of the New Year’s six matchups. The oldest running College Bowl tradition in 2021 features two 10-win teams in No. 11 Utah against No. 6 Ohio State.

When it was reported earlier this week that both Ohio State star wideouts Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave were opting out of the Rose Bowl, it sent oddsmakers scrambling to pull the game off the board.

Wilson, a projected first round pick in April’s NFL Draft, emerged as a star in his junior season hauling in 70 receptions for 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns. His impressive 15.8 yards per reception is going to be difficult for the Buckeyes to replace against a Utah club that enters the Rose Bowl on a six-game winning streak.

On the other side of the formation, the loss of Olave is also a major loss for a Buckeye offense that led the nation in total yards with an astounding 551.3 total yards per game. The senior wideout, who notched 35 touchdowns in his career at Columbus, was a reliable target for freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud.

The Buckeyes, who saw their College Football Playoff hopes come to an end following a 42-27 loss at Michigan in the final game of the regular season, will look to end the season on a winning note. Prior to being upset by the Wolverines as 6.5-point favorites, Ohio State had strung together nine consecutive victories after being upset by Oregon back in Week 2.

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On the flip side, Utah heads into the Rose Bowl as Pac-12 Champions for the first time in school history. The Utes, who are 9-1 SU and 6-4 ATS over their last ten games, earned their first Pac-12 crown after beating the Oregon Ducks twice in a span of three games. The Utes dominated No. 15 Oregon by a combined score of 76-17.

For bettors the question that must be answered is what kind of impact will losing 25 touchdowns of offensive production have on Ohio State in the Rose Bowl? Will Pac-12 Champion Utah be the more motivated team?

Let’s dive in and break it all down!

Utah's Tavion Thomas runs with the ball vs. Stanford

Rose Bowl Betting Breakdown

No. 11 Utah Utes vs. No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes

Spread: Utah Utes +4 (-110) | Ohio State Buckeyes -4 (-110)

Moneyline: Utah (+145) | Ohio State (-200)

Total: 64– Over (-110) | Under 64 (-110)

Public (Spread) Betting Percentages: UTAH 36% | OSU 64%

Game Info: Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022 | 2 pm EST | ESPN

Editor's Note - Odds are subject to change.

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The line has dropped since No. 6 Ohio State (10-2 Straight-Up -SU, 6-5 Against the Spread- ATS) opened as a 7-point favorite over No. 11 Utah (10-3 SU; 6-7 ATS) at SI Sportsbook. Following the opt-outs involving Ohio State, oddsmakers were forced to drop the line a full field goal, shrinking Utah to only 4-point underdogs.

Ohio State has the No. 1 scoring offense (45.3 points per game) led by quarterback C.J. Stroud. The freshman quarterback, has 15 touchdown passes in his last four games, ranks fourth in the nation in touchdowns (38), ninth in passing yards (2,862) and fifth in completion percentage (70.9%). Stroud will now face a Utah defense that ranks 24th in the country allowing only 195.3 passing yards per game. The Buckeyes, who have won 10 of 12 games this season, have only been slightly profitable for bettors posting a 6-5 ATS mark on the year.

On the ground, freshman tailback TreVeyon Henderson leads the Buckeyes in rushing yards (1,165) and rushing touchdowns (15). Junior running back Master Teague, who has missed four of the team’s last six games, is expected back for Ohio State and that will be a boost for an offense that has lost two of its key contributors. Teague has big game experience after scoring two rushing touchdowns in last year’s National Championship game against Alabama. The Ohio State backfield will face a Utes run defense that ranked 22nd in the nation in rushing yards allowed (122.0).

Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (14) celebrates after scoring a rushing touchdown with Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11)

While all the focus is on the loss of Wilson and Olive, Stroud's top target in the passing game this season was sophomore wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba who led the club in receptions (80) and receiving yards (1,259). Smith-Njigba has been sensational, hauling in 45 receptions for 611 yards over his last four games. Averaging 153 receiving yards per game over the last month, combined with taking over the lead role, the Buckeyes will rely on Smith-Njigba for significant production in the Rose Bowl.

On the other side of the ball, Utah will look to culminate a history-making season for their program, by potentially ending with seven consecutive victories. Sophomore quarterback Cameron Rising, who has accounted for 23 total touchdowns, has been solid with ball security only throwing five interceptions on the season. Rising has been instrumental to the Utes success this season since beating out Baylor transfer Charlie Brewer and guiding Utah’s offense to 35.5 points per game.

On the ground, Utah relies heavily upon sophomore tailback Tavion Thomas who has been outstanding this season amassing 1,041 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. Thomas’s 20 rushing scores is tied for the second-most among all FBS running backs. The powerful back has been sensational over his last six games averaging 118.3 yards per game on the ground, while notching 16 of his 20 touchdowns. Ohio State’s run defense, surrendering 119.7 rushing yards per game, will be hard pressed to keep Thomas contained.

The absence of two star players, projected to be first-round picks, will result in a cast of freshman joining Smith-Njigba attempting to pick up the slack. One name to keep an eye on Saturday is Marvin Harrison Jr., the son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Marvin Harrison. The talented class of young Buckeyes, earning valuable experience on a big stage, will undoubtedly help Ohio State for the future but they can not be trusted to be in sync with Stroud on such short notice. Respected money in Vegas is backing Utah to be the more motivated club over an Ohio State squad potentially lamenting about not playing in the College Football Playoffs.

SI BET: UTAH +4 (-110)

As we know, bowl games continue to be canceled and others are in jeopardy because of Covid-19. The most important thing sports bettors must do is adjust betting philosophies involving Bowl games. For decades, respected money would look to invest early and get the best lines. However, with the pandemic now wreaking havoc, bettors should look to wait until close to kickoff to place any wagers.

2021 SI Betting NCAA Football: 13-12-1 ATS

2020 SI Betting NCAA Football: 31-21 ATS

2020 SI Betting Bowl Selections: 7-2 ATS

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Frankie Taddeo is a successful high-stakes fantasy football player who created the first-ever DFS program ever offered in a Las Vegas sportsbook. Frankie is SI Betting's Senior Analyst and provides his significant experience and resources in the sports betting scene. You can follow Frankie on Twitter @Frankie_Fantasy for his latest betting and fantasy insights from Las Vegas.

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