Texas Brings Question Marks As Underdog Against Utah
Sam Ehlinger enters the 2019 season with a lot of Heisman hype, in part thanks to an MVP performance in last year's Sugar Bowl win over Georgia. Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire.
- Unranked Texas (7-5), once ranked as high as No. 9, could win its third-straight bowl for the first time since 2008
- No. 11 Utah (11-2) could clinch a third 12-win season in its 113-year history
- See below for game analysis and betting advice
For Texas and Utah, facing off in the Alamo Bowl is the culmination of a season that begs the question, “How did I get here?”
At the start of the year, both schools were ranked in the top 15. Texas lost narrowly to now-No. 1 LSU, but later dropped two games against unranked opponents and fell out of the rankings. Utah hardly wavered all year, never dropping out of the top 20, and finished one win short of a trip to the Rose Bowl — if not a possible spot in the College Football Playoff.
Here’s a look at the Texas vs. Utah odds.
Texas vs. Utah Odds
|Team||Moneyline||Spread||Total at BetOnline|
|Texas||+225||+7.5 (-113)||Over 55.0 (-105)|
|Utah||-275||-7.5 (-107)||Under 55.0 (-115)|
Odds taken Dec. 20
What’s So Good About Texas?
If you’re new to college football and you see the No. 11 team facing an unranked opponent, that may raise some eyebrows. In truth, there’s a reason Texas was once ranked inside the top 10. The Longhorns, at times, have looked legit this season.
Let’s start with the game against LSU. Texas only lost by a touchdown, keeping the game tight through the fourth quarter.
Joe Burrow and Justin Jefferson leave no doubt in LSU's matchup vs. Texas
Tigers beat the Longhorns, 45-38 🐯
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 8, 2019
Later in the year, against Oklahoma (No. 6 at the time, now playoff-bound at No. 4), Texas again lost by just a touchdown.
The river runs red. #Sooners top Texas 34-27 in the Red River Showdown!
— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) October 12, 2019
If one or both of those games flips the other way, let’s just say Texas would not be playing in the Alamo Bowl.
Some of Texas’ biggest names are questionable for this matchup, which certainly adds an extra layer to placing a wager. Their top two receivers (Devin Duvernay and Brennan Eagles) are among that group. Duvernay is listed as having a hamstring injury, while Eagles is apparently dealing with a “personal” matter”.
If they are out, that’s a massive blow to the Texas offensive, considering Duvernay and Eagles combined for 133 catches, 1,812 yards and 14 receiving touchdowns.
DEVIN DUVERNAY KEEPING TEXAS ALIVE! pic.twitter.com/dUxUqTFPDc
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) September 8, 2019
On the flip side, Utah will be without starting safety Julian Blackmon, after he injured his leg in the PAC 12 title game. Blackmon is fourth on the Utes in tackles (60) and has a team-high four interceptions, as well as a touchdown.
Texas has 12 players listed as questionable, which also includes starting running back Keoantay Ingram. Certainly this is not a great position to be put in as a bettor.
2020 NHL Eastern and Western Conference Title Odds Tracker
Utah is a solid 9-4 against the spread and had won eight-straight ATS before the PAC 12 title game, where they lost outright to Oregon as 6.5-point favorites.
— Oregon Football (@oregonfootball) December 10, 2019
Utah was favored in every game this season and is 3-2 as a single-digit favorite.
Texas is a pedestrian 6-6 ATS, but they’ve covered in two of their past three games. The Longhorns are just 1-3 as a single-digit underdog this season.
As previously mentioned, the army of questionable Longhorns makes this a very tricky game to pick. Some players might take their decision down to the wire, which is worth keeping an eye on. Texas can be quite explosive when its offensive weapons are present
For now, despite the enticing 7.5-point cushion Texas has, it’s safer to take Utah. Don’t forget, the Utes were one game away from being a featured participant in the College Football Playoff show. They’re down a top safety, but they’ve proven their worth this year.
Pick: Utah, -7.5 (-107)
Jordan Horrobin is a sports journalist whose MLB, NHL, NFL and NCAA work has appeared in outlets such as The Athletic, MLB.com, the Detroit Free Press and more. He is currently based in Toronto, also working as a contributor for Forbes.com and a freelance editor for Sportsnet.
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