Sun Bowl 2022 Betting Guide

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Sun Bowl 2022 Betting Guide
© USA Today

Originating in 1935, the Sun Bowl is tied with the Sugar and Orange Bowls as the second-oldest college football bowl games, trailing only the Rose Bowl as the oldest (1916). The game takes place at Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, Texas where the University of Texas El Paso plays its home games. Typically, an ACC team takes on a Pac-12 squad in the bowl contest. 

This year’s matchup features the No. 18 UCLA Bruins and the Pittsburgh Panthers. It will mark the first time the two teams meet in a bowl game. 

The Sun Bowl is unique because it is one of only three bowl games that aren’t broadcasted on the ESPN family of networks. It has been aired on CBS each year since 1968 and is one of only two games CBS airs that does not include an SEC team. The Army-Navy matchup is the other. 

Sun Bowl 2022 Teams and News

The Sun Bowl takes place on Dec. 30, and you can place your college football bets right now at the best sports betting sites.

2022 Sun Bowl

📅 Date: Friday, Dec. 30, 2022
⏲️Time: 2 p.m. ET
🏟️Venue: Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, Texas
📺 Watch: CBS
🏈 Teams: No. 18 UCLA vs. Pittsburgh

 

Betting on UCLA at the Sun Bowl

UCLA (9-3) was one of the hottest teams to start the year, winning its first six games before closing the season 3-3. The Bruins featured one of the most explosive offenses in the country, ranking third in yards per game (521.7) and averaging the 10th-most points per game (39.6). 

Early signs point to UCLA having its key members on both sides of the ball take part in the Sun Bowl. Players have yet to opt out of the Sun Bowl, and quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Zach Charbonnet were taking part in practices in the lead-up to the game. 

Thompson-Robinson completed 69% of his passes for 2,883 yards and 25 touchdowns and added 631 yards rushing and 11 scores on the ground. Charbonnet was the team’s leading rusher, gaining 1,359 yards while averaging seven yards per attempt and finishing with 14 touchdowns. 

Defensively, the Bruins are led by linebacker Darius Muasau, who has recorded 77 tackles, two interceptions and six quarterback hurries. Linebacker Laiatu Latu tallied a team-high 9.5 sacks and added 11 tackles for loss and five quarterback hurries.

This season marks the second straight winning campaign for UCLA coach Chip Kelly after he won just 10 wins in his first three years combined. He can equal that win total in 2022 alone with a victory in the Sun Bowl.

Betting on Pittsburgh at the Sun Bowl

With a win, Pittsburgh will record its 20th victory in a two-season span for the first time in 40 years. The Panthers previously achieved 20 wins over two years in 1981-82. 

Pittsburgh closed with one of the more dominating stretches in the country, winning its last four games by a 126-58 scoring margin. It’s also the sixth time in Pat Narduzzi’s eight seasons of leading the program to a bowl game. Last year, Pittsburgh won the outright conference championship. 

On defense is where the Panthers have dominated this season. The unit led the nation in sacks (45), ranked seventh in defending the run (95.5 yards allowed per game) and was 19th in yards allowed (319.7). 

But Pittsburgh will be without Calijah Kancey, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. He finished with 31 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks in 11 games but will miss the Sun Bowl because of a left arm injury. 

Quarterback Kedan Slovis entered the transfer portal and is not expected to play. Senior Nick Patti or freshman Nate Yarnell will take over the offense, but neither boasts much experience. 

Patti completed 9 of 20 passes for 79 yards in relief of Slovis after he was knocked out of the Tennessee game. Yarnell was 9 of 12 for 179 yards and a touchdown against Western Michigan. A starter has yet to be named for the Sun Bowl.

Whoever goes under center, expect Pittsburgh to lean on running back Israel Abanikanda, who gained 1,439 yards and scored 20 touchdowns for the Panthers this season.

Sun Bowl Past Results

Arizona State and Stanford have fared well in recent years, winning two Sun Bowls within the past decade.

With a bowl that has been around as long as the Sun Bowl has, a variety of teams have played here.

Still, the most wins by any school is five by UTEP. The Miners have been in this game eight times. But, that's not the most. Texas Tech has played in this bowl game nine times, but the Red Raiders have struggled once they get here. They have a 1-8 record with their only win in 1952.

Year Winning Team Losing Team
2021 Central Michigan 24 Washington State 21
2019 Arizona State 20 Florida State 14
2018 Stanford 14 North Carolina 13
2017 North Carolina State 52 Arizona State 31
2016 Stanford 25 North Carolina 23
2015 Washington State 20 Miami 14
2014 Arizona State 36 Duke 31
2013 UCLA 42 Virginia Tech 12
2012 Georgia Tech 21 USC 7
2011 Utah 30 Georgia Tech 27
2010 Notre Dame 33 Miami 17

Best Odds Available for the Sun Bowl

With multiple sports betting apps posting odds for all of the college football bowl games, it’s important to find the best number and odds possible. . 

Operator Moneyline Point Spread Over/Under
Caesars Pitt +196 UCLA -240 UCLA -6 (-110) 57.5 (-110)
BetMGM Pitt +200 UCLA -250 UCLA -6.5 (-110) 57.5 (-110)
Draftkings Pitt +200 UCLA -240 UCLA -6.5 (-115) 57 (-110)
Fanduel Pitt +202 UCLA -250 UCLA -6.5 (-110) 57.5 (-110)
BetRivers Pitt +185 UCLA -235 UCLA -6 (-110) 58 (-110)
Unibet Pitt +185 UCLA -235 UCLA -6 (-112) 58 (-112)
Superbook Pitt +196 UCLA -230 UCLA -6 (-110) 57.5 (-110)
Bet365 Pitt +195 UCLA -235 UCLA -6 (-110) 57.5 (-110)
Pointsbet Pitt +185 UCLA -230 UCLA -6 (-110) 57.5 (-110)
Betway Pitt +200 UCLA -240 UCLA -6.5 (-105) 57 (-115)

Sun Bowl Predictions: Moneyline Betting Pick

A moneyline refers to a straight-up bet where you try to predict a game’s winner. Both sides are handicapped to help even out the betting action. You can see FanDuel's current Pittsburgh and UCLA moneyline below:

  • Pittsburgh +202 (bet $100 to win $202)
  • UCLA -250 (bet $250 to win $100)

Pittsburgh’s defense held Tennessee, the nation’s highest-scoring offense, to 27 points in regulation when they met up this season – more than 20 fewer than the Volunteers’ average for the season. 

UCLA will be the second-best offense this Panthers' defense has faced, but Kancey won’t be there to assist the defensive front and there are too many concerns at quarterback to wager Pittsburgh to pull off the upset. 

PointsBet and the Superbook both have the best odds for the UCLA moneyline at -230. 

Sun Bowl Predictions: Point Spread Betting Pick

The point spread refers to each team needing to cover their assigned spread. The favorite starts with negative points (minus sign), while the underdog is spotted points (plus sign). Here is FanDuel's latest 2022 Sun Bowl point spread:

  • Pittsburgh +6.5 (-105)
  • UCLA -6.5 (-105)

Pittsburgh is just 5-7 against the spread this season, while UCLA went 6-6. 

UCLA is one of the few bowl teams yet to have numerous players announce they are sitting out the postseason. It could still happen, but as it stands, the Bruins have a decided talent and continuity advantage, especially if Thomas-Robinson and Charbonnet both play. 

One concern with backing a team that’s nearly a touchdown favorite is the chance a backdoor cover happens. That issue is mitigated with Pittsburgh’s uncertainty at quarterback, which should help the Bruins cover the spread. 

Caesars Sportsbook currently has UCLA at -6 (-110) for the best number on the Bruins.

Sun Bowl Predictions: Over/Under Betting Pick

An over/under (a.k.a. totals) line represents a point total that you can either bet over or under. FanDuel’s over/under on UCLA and Pittsburgh is as follows:

  • Over 57.5 (-110)
  • Under 57.5 (-110)

Even with Kancey not playing for Pittsburgh, the Panthers’ best chance at winning is relying on its stingy defense. Add in the uncertainty of a new quarterback taking over for Pittsburgh’s offense and the likelihood it will feature a ground-heavy attack around Abanikanda, the Under is the best play with the total. 

BetRivers Sportsbook currently has the best under bet for the Sun Bowl at 58 (-110). 

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