We have some Power 5 matchups!
The second week of the Cups season is here as we approach Christmas and the New Year’s Six Cups. Until then, we have some exciting matchups between Power Five opponents in some contests that promise to be lively!
We went 0-3 on our stakes last week, moving our best stakes total to 23-21-2 on the season. Let’s stay over .500 with our games this week and get back in the win column. Here are the top three contests over the next seven days with odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. look draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Utah Utes Vs. Northwest Wildcats
- Time: 7:30 in the evening
- Date: Saturday, December 23
- television: ABC
- location: Vegas, Nevada
- Weather: Indoor – Allegiant Stadium
- DraftKings odds: Utah -6.5, O/U: 40.5, ML: UT -245, NW +200
- Best bet (23-21-2): NW +6.5
It’s two of the best defenses in college football going head-to-head in a bowl game no one expected to be in.
Utah will make back-to-back Rose Bowl appearances. But with star quarterback Cam Rising essentially ruled out this season due to injury last year, the Utes have had a disappointing season. They lost three of their last five games and rallied with a 23-17 win over a scrappy Colorado team to end a year many expected to finish as PAC-12 champions again.
Northwestern was the complete opposite. Many expected them to be the worst team in the Big Ten and among all Power 5 teams after a scandal saw the firing of Pat Fitzgerald. The team went 1-11 in 2022, and weeks before the regular season began, David Brown named the team’s interim coach. Amazingly, they won seven games and pulled off upsets over Minnesota, Maryland and Wisconsin. The school has removed the interim tag and Brown has the chance to continue building on his success from this year.
Utah has certainly looked like the better team and has a coach in Kyle Whittingham who is 10-5 ATS in bowl games, but they will be missing key contributors. Two of their top wide receivers sat out this contest. Quarterback Bryson Barnes is in the transfer window but will start this game for the Utes; he completed just 58.5% of his passes and scored just 12 touchdowns. The Utes will also be without both starting safeties and several defensive linemen.
This doesn’t look like a place where Utah is going to win this game by a full touchdown. I’ll take the points and ride the Wildcats a little closer to the start in hopes that the crowd will push past that critical 7-point mark.
Kansas Jayhawks against the UNLV Rebels
- Time: 21:00 hours
- Date: Tuesday, December 26
- television: ESPN
- location: Phoenix, Arizona
- Weather: Covered – Chase Field
- DraftKings odds: KU -12.5, O/U: 64.5, ML: KU -485, UNLV +370
- Best bet (23-21-2): KU -12.5
The Rebels have had a great start to the season except for their loss to Michigan. They scored 40 or more points in four of their first five games, going 5-1. But they have gone 3-3 in their last six, giving up 108 points in their last three contests.
Enter a Kansas team that has an incredibly explosive offense. SP+ ranks them as the No. 24 offense in college football heading into this game, UNLV isn’t far behind at No. 30. The difference is quarterback Jason Beane’s explosiveness, Lance Leipold’s head coaching experience and a defense that has improved dramatically down the stretch for the Jayhawks.
Leipold is 5-1 ATS in his career as a head coach in bowl games and has a really good Jayhawks team that was ranked for parts of this season. They’ve allowed three touchdowns or fewer in three of their last four games, and UNLV quarterback Jaden Maiava has thrown four interceptions in his last three starts.
I think the Kansas defense is able to contain the Rebels offense, force a few turnovers, and run this UNLV team out of Chase Field with a blowout win. I’ll put the points with the Jayhawks.
number 15 Louisville Cardinals against the USC Trojans
- Time: 8:00 in the evening
- Date: Wednesday, December 27
- television: FOX
- location: San Diego, California
- Weather: 61 degrees, rainy
- DraftKings odds: UL -7.5, O/U: 57.5, ML: UL -298, USC +240
- Best bet (23-21-2): U57.5
Louisville lost back-to-back games against Kentucky and Florida State. The latter was in the ACC Championship Game, a place not many thought they would be in the first year under Jeff Brohm. The Cardinals offense couldn’t move the ball consistently against a really strong Florida State defense and they lost 16-6.
USC is in shambles. Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams were expected to compete for the College Football Playoff and the national championship. But their defense once again kept them well below that peak. Williams could only do so much to mask monstrous deficiencies on the other side of the ball, and the Trojans were perhaps the most disappointing team in college football this season, finishing 7-5.
I don’t like the line here at seven-and-a-half, although I fully expect the Cardinals to win this football game against a USC team that has a ton of transfers and will be without Williams, who is likely the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. Louisville will also be missing star Jauhar Jordan and top receiver Jahari Thrash, who will follow Williams to the NFL.
I think both teams struggle to move the ball in the early parts of this contest, and anything under 57 points seems safe enough to throw a few bucks at.