For the season, the Free Analysis sides are now 288-262-10, and 81-70-5 on games with a difference or 4+ points from the spread. Totals are just 289-298-9 but a profitable 39-28 on differences of 6 points or more (28-11 the final 9 weeks).

 

The record on all Free Analysis sides is now 1916-1699-72 ATS since 2013, which is very good picking nearly every game over 7 years. The Free Analysis sides in which my predicted margin was 4 points or more away from the line are now 650-543-27. Totals on the Free pages are now 1641-1596-26 in the 6 seasons I’ve been tracking them.

 

The spreads posted are the consensus lines at the time I posted each analysis and that is the line is use to grade the Free Analysis.

I hope you have enjoyed my Free analysis this season, which was once again profitable. However, my detailed analysis of every Bowl game will be available to subscribers only.

 

Bowl Best Bets were 6-1 (I post the analysis below after each bowl game starts).

College Bowl Games

Clemson vs
Ohio St.

Sat, Dec 28 5:00 PM PT

Rotation: 243, Odds: Ohio St. +2, Total: 63

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Lean – Ohio State (+2)  30   Clemson  29

Ohio State opened as a 1.5-point favorite in this game and I think that line was about right. Clemson outscoring their opponents by an average margin of +35.2 points per game is certainly impressive but Ohio State outscored their opponents by +36.2 points per game while facing a schedule that was 5 points tougher than the schedule that Clemson played. Of course, analyzing this game is not as simple as that, as Clemson’s play really improved over the course of the season once quarterback Trevor Lawrence stopped being careless with his passes. Lawrence was intercepted 5 times in the first 3 games and 8 times in the first 7 games but was nearly perfect over the Tigers’ last 6 games, completing 76% of his passes with 20 touchdown passes and zero interceptions. Of course, that’s still not as impressive as Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, who threw 40 touchdown passes against just 1 interception this season, which I’m assuming is the best ratio ever. Let’s dig in to this matchup.

Clemson’s offense is better than the 45.5 points per game on 539 yards per game at 7.4 yards per play, as the Tigers often had their starters in for less than 3 quarters. Overall, the Tigers were 1.5 yards per play better than average offensively (they faced teams that would allow 5.9 yppl to an average team) but they were 2.2 yppl better than average using only their stats with the starters in the game and their average first-half scoring margin is +26.5 points per game is incredibly impressive (although Ohio State has a +22.5 first-half margin against tougher competition).

The Ohio State defense matches up pretty evenly with Clemson’s starters, as the Buckeyes’ defensive starters allowed just 3.9 yppl to teams that would combine to average 5.8 yppl against an average defensive team and were a bit better against the 6 best offensive teams that they faced (Indiana, Nebraska, Wisconsin twice, Penn State, and Michigan), rating at 2.1 yppl better than average defensively in those games. Clemson didn’t face an elite defense but they were held to an average of just 31 points while their starters were limited to 6.2 yppl by the two best defensive teams that they faced (Texas A&M and South Carolina), who would allow 5.0 yppl against an average team. That’s just a two game sample and overall the Tigers’ starters were relatively the same against worse than average and better than average defensive teams. My math projects 430 yards at 6.15 yards per play for the Tigers in this game.

Ohio State’s offense has been 2.1 yppl better than average with their starters in the game (7.4 yppl against teams that would allow 5.3 yppl to an average team), which is just 0.1 yppl lower than Clemson’s offensive starters rate. The big question is quarterback Justin Field’s injured knee. A few days ago he said his knee was 80% to 85% but he was advised by coaches not to give an update on Thursday morning. However, running back J.K. Dobbins said the Fields “looked 100% to me” and Fields was originally projected to be 100% recovered by game time, which I will assume is the case. Unlike their opponent, Ohio State’s offense has been tested by really good defensive teams and the Buckeyes were just as good, relatively, against those good defensive teams. The best defensive team that Ohio State faced is Michigan, which ranks 5th in my compensated ratings on defense, and the Buckeyes racked up 56 points on 580 yard at 7.6 yppl in that week 14 game. Ohio State averaged 40.6 points and 6.8 yppl against the 7 good defensive teams that they faced (Cincy, Michigan State, Northwestern, Wisconsin twice, Penn State, and Michigan), which is 2.0 yppl more than what an average offense would average against those teams.

Clemson’s defense didn’t face a truly elite offense but they were relatively better against better offensive teams, which turned out to be a case of their starters playing more snaps against better offensive teams. My math for this game only includes stats accumulated before the backups enter the game and Clemson’s defensive starters have been 2.1 yppl better than average, which is the same rating as Ohio State’s offense. The Buckeyes are projected to tally 414 yards at 5.9 yppl in this game, assuming Fields’ knee allows him to run like he usually does.

Overall the math gives an advantage to Clemson from the line of scrimmage but favors Ohio State by a point due to their significant advantage in special teams. Not only is Ohio State’s kicker 0.7 points per game better but the Buckeyes’ kickoff, punt and return teams are 1.8 points per game better and field position could be a deciding factor in this game. I’ll lean with Ohio State as a underdog in this game.

Western Kentucky vs
Western Mich

Mon, Dec 30 9:30 AM PT

Rotation: 245, Odds: Western Mich +3, Total: 54.5

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Best Bet – *Under (54.5) – Western Kentucky (-3)  25   Western Michigan  23

I don’t see many points being scored in this game. Western Michigan has the better offense of the two teams but the Broncos’ 32.9 points per game and 6.4 yards per play were against FBS teams that would combine to allow 6.4 yppl to an average team and those numbers were skewed upwards by their week 3 game against Georgia State in which they racked up over 700 yards at 10.8 yppl and scored 57 points. Western Michigan rated below average offensively in the majority of their games and I rate the Broncos’ offense at 0.1 yppl worse than average. That’s actually pretty good for a MAC team but that unit is at a disadvantage in this game against a solid Western Kentucky defense that’s yielded just 20.1 points per game and 5.2 yppl against teams that would combine to average 22.5 points and 5.4 yppl against an average team. Western Michigan faced mostly bad defensive teams and the Broncos averaged only 4.8 yppl in two games against better than average defensive teams (Michigan State and Miami-Ohio, who would combine to allow 5.1 yppl to an average offense). The math projects just 358 yards at 5.6 yppl for the Broncos in this game.

Western Kentucky’s offense improved some in week 5 when former Arkansas quarterback Ty Storey took over as the starter for an injured Steven Duncan but the Hilltoppers still averaged just 26.4 points and 5.9 yppl in Storey’s 9 starts despite facing mostly bad defensive teams that would combine to allow 30.9 points and 6.3 yppl to an average offense. Western Michigan is equally bad defensively, surrendering 6.0 yppl to teams that would average 5.5 yppl against an average defense but the Broncos only gave up 26.2 points per game (to teams that would average 23.8 points against an average defense). The math projects 392 yards at 5.8 yppl for the Hilltoppers in this game.

The projected total yards of 750 yards doesn’t scream under, although it is 36 yards below the national average, but what is certainly not in the line is how much the special teams units of these teams have hurt their scoring. Western Kentucky’s punt and kickoff return teams cost them 2.3 points per game but their punting and kickoff coverage teams are 2.0 points per game better than average, which helps the under. Western Michigan’s special teams kick and coverage units have lowered their total scoring by 0.6 points per game and the kickers for these two teams are among the worst in the nation, as Western Kentucky’s kicker is -0.92 points per game worse than average while Western Michigan’s kicker is 0.84 points per game worse than average. Only about 30% of past special teams performance projects forward but that’s pretty significant in this case and overall the math model projects just 47.4 total points. My points based model projects 48.2 total points so I feel pretty confident that there is value in the under. I’ll play Under 54 points or less in a 1-Star Best Bet (Strong Opinion down to 53).

California vs
Illinois

Mon, Dec 30 1:00 PM PT

Rotation: 249, Odds: Illinois +6.5, Total: 43.5

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Lean – Over (43.5) – California (-6.5)  27   Illinois  20

Cal is 6-0 when starting quarterback Chase Garbers starts and finishes a game and just 1-5 otherwise (0-2 when he started and was knocked out of the game with injury). Garbers is not great, rating at 0.2 yards per pass play better than average (6.8 yppp against teams that would allow 6.6 yppp to an average QB) but he’s better than the other quarterbacks and 1.1 yppp better than Cal’s season rating. The Bears’ #2 receiver Jordan Duncan (7.7 yards per target) will miss this game but Kekoa Crawford (11.6 yards per target) is the best receiver on the team and he is reportedly ready to return to action after missing 7 ½ games. Garbers should have pretty good success against a sub-par Illinois pass defense that’s allowed 6.9 yppp to quarterbacks that would combine to average 6.4 yppp against an average defensive team, and the Bears mediocre ground game (0.1 yprp worse than average) should produce slightly better than normal results against an Illinois defensive front that’s been 0.2 yprp worse than average. The math projects 415 total yards at 6.1 yppl for the Bears in this game.

Illinois’ starting quarterback Brandon Peters is scheduled to start after missing the season finale but Peters is no better than his backup and averaged just 5.5 yppp this season despite facing teams that would allow 6.7 yppp to an average quarterback. Peters isn’t likely to have much success even if star WR Josh Imatorbhebhe is able to play (he’s questionable and considered a game-time decision) and he’ll have no chance against a good Bears’ pass defense (6.1 yppp allowed to quarterbacks that would average 7.1 yppp against an average defense) if Imatorbhebhe is unable to play. Imatorbhebhe is Illinois’ only receiving threat, as he averaged 19.2 yards per catch and 10.6 yards per target while the rest of the wide receivers have combined for just 5.4 yards per target. For now I’ll assume that Imatorbhebhe has a 50% chance to play and that he’ll be 100% if he does play. Peters is projected to average anywhere between 3.8 yppp and 4.6 yppp, depending on if his star receiver plays (I am using 4.2 yppp for now) and the Illini’s average rush attack is scheduled to rush for 4.3 yards per rushing play against a stiff Cal run defense that is 1.0 yprp better than average. I adjusted for the absence of Cal safety Ashtyn Davis, his backup Trey Turner, and DE Tevin Paul (a non-factor). Cal would miss the speedy Davis if Imatorbhebhe is able to play.

Overall, the math favors Cal from 5.9 points to 8.9 points depending on the status of Illinois’ star receiver, with a total ranging from 46.1 points to 48.7 points. Cal’s offense appears to be underrated due to how bad they were without Garbers and I see some value in the over.

Mississippi St. vs
Louisville

Mon, Dec 30 1:00 PM PT

Rotation: 289, Odds: Louisville +5.5, Total: 63

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Best Bet – *Louisville (+5.5) 33   Mississippi State  30

I’m reading a lot about how Mississippi State is going to run all over Louisville’s soft defensive front. That’s probably true, as I project 286 rushing yards at 6.6 yards per rushing play for the Bulldogs in this game. However, Louisville quarterback Micale Cunningham is finally healthy after playing the regular season dealing with minor injuries and Cunningham and his group of big play receivers (the top 3 all average 18.0 yards per catch or more) should have an easy time getting open deep against a Mississippi State secondary that’s allowed 14.0 yards per reception and is without their best cornerback (Cameron Dantzler is sitting out to prepare for the NFL combine) and their starting safety (C.J. Morgan), who rank first and second on the team in passes defended despite each missing 3 games. Miss State allowed 8.0 yards per pass play this season (to quarterbacks that would average 7.0 yppp against an average defense) and the Bulldogs were 1.4 yppp worse than averaged in the 3 games that Dantzler missed (although I only adjusted 0.2 yppp). Cunningham averaged 9.1 yards per pass play in his 10 starts (against teams that would allow just 6.1 yppp to an average QB) and he should average over 10 yppp against a Miss State secondary that is likely to get beaten deep even more than usual without their two best defensive backs. Louisville will still probably run the ball 60% of the time and Javian Hawkins (1420 yards at 5.9 ypr) should be pretty good success against a Bulldogs’ defensive front that was just 0.2 yards per rushing play better than average. The math projects 195 rushing yards at 5.6 yprp and 432 total yards at 7.5 yards per play for the Cardinals in this game.

I’ve already established that Mississippi State will have success running the ball, but they won’t have as much success with Tommy Stevens at quarterback instead of Garrett Shrader, who suffered an eye injury during an altercation in practice. Shrader ran for 629 yards at 7.1 yards per run against FBS opposition and Stevens isn’t quite that good running the ball (5.8 yprp against FBS teams). Stevens was also worse throwing the football, averaging only 5.9 yards on 147 pass play against teams that would allow 6.4 yppp to an average quarterback (Shrader is 0.2 yppp better than average). Louisville struggles to defend the run and the Cardinals are 0.3 yppp worse than average defending the pass and Stevens and company are projected to average 6.6 yards per run and 6.6 per pass for a total of 425 yards.

Louisville has a slight edge in projected total yards and a 7.5 to 6.6 yards per play advantage and overall the math favors the Cardinals by 2.8 points with Cunningham at quarterback (he’s 1.0 yppp better than the team’s pass rating). I’ll take Louisville in a 1-Star Best Bet at +3.5 points or more (Strong Opinion at +3).

Florida vs
Virginia

Mon, Dec 30 5:00 PM PT

Rotation: 251, Odds: Virginia -14.5, Total: 54.5

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Florida (-14.5)  35   Virginia  21

Despite making it to the ACC Championship game, Virginia is a pretty mediocre team. The Cavaliers are just 0.2 yards per play better than average on offense (5.7 yppl against teams that would allow 5.5 yppl to an average team) and the Cavaliers are worse than average defensively without injured All-American CB Bryce Hall. The Cavs were good defensively with Hall, but his week 7 injury derailed the defense, which gave up 6.5 yards per play in 7 games without Hall – to teams that would combine to average 6.1 yppl against an average defensive team. Florida’s offense averaged 6.2 yppl (against teams that would allow 5.3 yppl to an average offense) in the 9 games that Kyle Trask started at quarterback after Feleipe Franks was injured. The Gators don’t have much of a rushing attack but Trask was very good, averaging 7.4 yards per pass play against FBS teams that would combine to allow 5.8 yppp to an average quarterback. Trask is projected to average 8.9 yppp in this game against a Cavaliers’ secondary without their star cornerback. Overall the math projects 454 yards at 7.2 yards per play for the Gators in this game.

Virginia’s mediocre offense will have a difficult task trying to keep up against a Gators’ defense that allowed just 14.4 points per game and only 4.8 yppl to teams that would combine to average 5.8 yppl against an average defense. The absence of NFL prospect CB C.J. Henderson hurts the pass defense (he’s worth about a point based on my algorithm) but I still project just 334 yards at 5.2 yppl for the Cavaliers in this game.

Overall, the math favors Florida by 14 points with a total of 56.3 points and I recommend passing on this game.

Virginia Tech vs
Kentucky

Tue, Dec 31 9:00 AM PT

Rotation: 291, Odds: Kentucky +2.5, Total: 47.5

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Strong Opinion – Kentucky (+2.5)  24   Virginia Tech  21

Both of these teams are improved due to mid-season changes at quarterback but I think Kentucky is the more underrated team and they appear to match up pretty well. Kentucky saved their season when backup quarterback Sawyer Smith was injured in week 5, as the Wildcats came out after their week 6 bye with top receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. at quarterback to run a version of the option offense. Bowden wasn’t any worse than Sawyer (45.6% completions) throwing the ball and the rushing attack was great, averaging 338.5 yards at 7.0 yards per rushing play in 6 games against FBS teams with Bowden behind center. Their game against Louisville (517 rush yards as 12.9 yprp) was an outlier that I adjusted for, but I still rate the Kentucky attack at 1.4 yprp better than average and 0.5 yards per play better than average using their median performance with Bowden Jr. at quarterback. I’m sure that retiring veteran defensive coordinator Bud Foster has plenty of knowledge when it comes to defending the option but Virginia Tech’s defensive front isn’t particularly good against the run (5.0 yprp allowed to teams that would average 4.9 yprp against an average defense) and SEC defensive coordinators are pretty wise as well and they couldn’t stop Bowden from running the ball for 8.5 yard per run. Virginia Tech’s defensive strength is their aggressive pass rush but being aggressive against the option can backfire and Kentucky throwing the ball just 15% of the time mitigates the Hokies’ defensive strength. I project 312 rushing yards at 6.7 yprp and 360 total yards at 6.3 yppl for the Wildcats in this game.

Virginia Tech’s offense went from bad to good when Hendon Hooker was inserted into the quarterback position in week 6. Hooker averaged 8.5 yards per pass play against teams that would allow 6.5 yppp to an average quarterback and his numbers were even better if you exclude the two games without top receiver Tre Turner (which I did). Virginia Tech still runs the ball 60% of the time even though they’re not good at it (4.9 yprp against teams that would allow 5.4 yprp) and Kentucky’s excellent pass defense (5.4 yppp allowed to quarterbacks that would average 6.5 yppp against an average defense) should slow down Virginia Tech’s big play pass attack some. But, I still project Hooker at 7.4 yppp in this game and the Hokies to gain 328 yards at 5.9 yppl. That number would go up if they choose to throw the ball more but I’ll assume that they stick to the run-pass ratio that they’ve established given that Kentucky is 0.3 yprp worse than average defending the run and very good against the pass.

Kentucky was better than Virginia Tech early in the season and the Wildcats are still better than the Hokies with the current quarterbacks for each team. My math favors the Wildcats by 3.6 points, with a total of 45.6 points, and I’ll consider Kentucky a Strong Opinion at +2 points or more.

Florida St. vs
Arizona St.

Tue, Dec 31 11:00 AM PT

Rotation: 255, Odds: Arizona St. -3.5, Total: 53.5

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Arizona State (-3.5)  29   Florida State  23

Florida State will be without top running back Cam Akers, NFL prospect CB Stanford Samuels and talented DT Marvin Wilson (injured). However, the losses are worse for Arizona State, who will be without RB Eno Benjamin, top receiver Brandon Aiyuk and both coordinators. The losses hurt ASU a bit more, as Aiyuk caught passes for 1192 yards and averaged 11.5 yards per target, which is significantly better than the 8.5 YPT that the rest of the Sun Devils’ wide receivers combined to average. Arizona State’s offense was 0.3 yards per play better than average this season but I know rate that unit at 0.3 yppl worse than average. Devils’ freshman QB Jayden Daniels should still have success against a Florida State pass defense that was just 0.3 yards per pass play better than average this season and is now without two of their top defenders. Wilson led the team in sacks despite playing just 5 games while Samuels was #2 on the Seminoles in passes defended and is considered a solid NFL prospect. FSU defends the run very well but the pass defense rates a bit worse than average after an adjustment and overall the Noles’ defense rates at 0.2 yards per play better than average. I project 391 total yards at a sub-par 5.3 yppl for the Sun Devils in this game but they would improve on that prediction if they decided to throw the ball a lot more often without Benjamin than they normally do.

Florida State’s offense was 0.1 yppl worse than average during the regular season and was average with quarterback James Blackmon behind center. Losing Akers isn’t that big of a deal given his 5.0 ypr wasn’t significantly higher than the 4.7 ypr of backup Khalan Laborn and the Seminoles are projected to gain 377 yards at 5.5 yppl against an Arizona State defense that’s really good defending the run (4.0 yprp allowed to teams that would combine to average 5.2 yprp against an average defense) but is just average against the pass. Florida State tends to throw more than they run it and Blackmon should post solid numbers in this game (7.0 yards per pass play projected).

Overall, the math favors ASU by 5.8 points with 51.4 total points after adjusting for the absent players on both sides of the ball but there is a lot of variance in that projection and it’s unknown how not having the OC and DC will affect ASU in this game. I’ll pass.

Navy vs
Kansas St.

Tue, Dec 31 12:45 PM PT

Rotation: 257, Odds: Kansas St. +2.5, Total: 53.5

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Navy (-3/-2.5)  28   Kansas State  24

I often read about the advantage of having extra time to prepare for the option offense, but the reality is that the 3 military academies, which all run an option offense, are a combined 35-14 ATS in bowl games, including 22-4 ATS if they have a win percentage of greater than .667). So, Kansas State and their mediocre run defense having extra time to prepare is not really an advantage and the Midshipmen will avoid playing into the strength of the Wildcats’ defense, which is their secondary (0.6 yards per pass play better than average). Navy averaged 373 rushing yards per game at 6.4 yards per rushing play and 6.9 yards per play (against teams that would allow 5.2 yprp and 5.9 yppl to an average team) and my math projects 6.7 yppl for the Middies in this game.

Kansas State’s run-oriented offense (60% runs) is just 0.1 yppl better than average and is playing into the strength of a Navy defense that has yielded just 4.3 yards per rushing play to teams that would average 5.1 yprp against an average defense. Navy’s pass defense is average but Kansas State will most likely stick to their game-plan of running the ball, which gives some match-up value to Navy’s defense. Kansas State is projected to average only 4.5 yprp and 5.5 yppl in this game.

Overall, Navy is projected to outgain Kansas State by 65 yards and 1.2 yards per pay but Kansas State once again has excellent special teams to help with field position and an excellent kicker that is 0.9 points per game better than average. But, the math still favors Navy by 4 points with a total of 52 points. I’ll pass.

Georgia St. vs
Wyoming

Tue, Dec 31 1:30 PM PT

Rotation: 259, Odds: Wyoming -7, Total: 48

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Lean – Over (48) – Wyoming (-7/-7.5)  29   Georgia State  22

I certainly would have been leaning against Wyoming if Tyler Vander Waal were still at quarterback for the Cowboys but the coaching staff has turned to freshman Levi Williams, who got the majority of snaps in the season finale against Air Force and is very likely better than Vander Waal, who saw the writing on the wall and entered the transfer portal a couple of weeks ago (although he is available to play in this game). There’s not much to go on with Williams, as he has just 15 pass plays (for 6.4 yards per pass play) and 26 runs for 129 yards, but it’s inconceivable that he’s be worse than Vander Waal, who averaged a pathetic 3.9 yards on close to 400 career pass plays (against teams that would allow 6.9 yppp to an average quarterback. I still rate the Cowboys’ attack a bit worse than their season rating of 0.5 yppl worse than average, as Williams probably won’t be as good as injured starter Sean Chambers, who was lost for the season after 8 games. However, the Cowboys should move the ball well in this game, as their solid ground attack will work against a Georgia State defense that allowed 6.0 yards per rushing play and Williams is reportedly looking good throwing in practice and should have pretty good success against a horrible Panthers’ secondary that allowed 65% completions and 7.8 yards per pass play (to quarterbacks that would average 6.1 yppl against an average defense). So, while Wyoming figures to be below average offensively even if Williams is an upgrade over Vander Waal, they should look pretty good against the porous Georgia State defense. I project 392 yards at 6.3 yppl for the Cowboys.

Georgia State averaged 448 yard at 5.9 yppl but the Panthers are 0.2 yppl worse than average after compensating for defenses faced and they’ve been worse than that recently with quarterback Dan Ellington playing with a torn ACL that takes away his ability to run. Ellington ran for 707 yards on 112 runs in the first 9 games but could only muster 37 yards on 16 runs over the final 3 games. The only positive is that Georgia State will likely throw the ball more, which takes advantage of Wyoming’s defensive weaknes. Wyoming only allowed 17.8 points per game but the Cowboys are actually just average defensively, allowing 5.1 yppl to teams that would combine to average 5.1 yppl against an average defense, and the Cowboys are 0.8 yards per pass play worse than aveage. The discrepancy between Wyoming’s points allowed and yards allowed is due to a ridiculously low 3.6 points per redzone opportunity allowed, which is 1.3 ppRZ below the national average and nearly impossible to maintain. That number should regress and that’s part of the reason my model likes the over in this game. Georgia State is projected to score 22 points on 388 yards at 5.3 yards per play.

Overall, my math favors Wyoming by 7.5 points with 51.9 total points and I’ll lean over the total.

Utah vs
Texas

Tue, Dec 31 4:30 PM PT

Rotation: 261, Odds: Texas +7, Total: 54.5

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Lean – Over (54.5) – Utah (-7)  32   Texas  25

This could be similar to last season for Texas, who benefits from playing a team that may not care that much after blowing their chance of making the playoffs. Last season that team was Georgia and the Longhorns won straight up as a 12-point underdog and now the question is how much Utah really cares after getting upset in the Pac-12 Championship game.

Utah running back Zack Moss cares enough to play in this game rather than sitting out before heading to the NFL and the Utes’ offense has a big advantage over the Longhorns’ defense. Utah averaged 6.9 yards per play against teams that would allow 5.8 yppl to an average team while Texas was just 0.1 yppl better than average defensively (6.3 yppl allowed to teams that would combine to average 6.4 yppl against an average defense). The Longhorns defend the run well (4.8 yprp allowed to teams that would average 5.6 yprp) and should defend Moss well, but their banged up secondary has been 0.2 yards per pass play worse than average (7.4 yppp allowed to quarterbacks that would average 7.2 yppp against an average team) and Tyler Huntley, who completes 74% of his passes, should pick the Longhorns’ secondary apart. The math projects 4.8 yprp, 9.7 yppp, and 7.0 yards per play for Utah but Texas has a lot of defensive players listed as questionable for this game, so those numbers could be surpassed if a few of the injured defenders don’t play.

The Texas offense was also good, as the Horns averaged 471 yards at 6.4 yppl (against teams that would allow 5.4 yppl) and scored 35 points per game. Utah’s defense was among the best in the nation, allowing just 13.2 points per game and rating at 1.4 yppl better than average (4.6 yppl allowed to teams that would combine to average 6.0 yppl (adjusted for facing Cal’s horrible 3rd-string QB). However, I rate the Utes as 0.3 yppl worse than their season rating due to the absence of NFL-bound CB Jaylon Johnson and injured FS Julian Blackmon, who combined for 21 passes defended. It will certainly be easier to throw against the Utes with half of their starting secondary not playing and my math projects Texas with 358 yards at 5.9 yppl in this game.

Overall, the math favors Utah by 8.2 points and 57.6 total points (in perfect dome conditions). I have no interest in playing Utah here with their psyche in question and Texas coach Tom Herman’s 15-4 ATS record as an underdog in his coaching career (3-0 SU in bowl games as a dog). I will lean Over 55 points or less.