The Utah Utes (8-3) host the BYU Cougars (6-5) on Saturday night in the 99th installment of the Holy War. Kickoff is set for 10:00 PM EST at Rice-Eccles Stadium and the game will be broadcast on FS1.
Taking a look at the Week 13 college football odds, Utah opened as a 13.5-point home favorite earlier this week. That line shifted by half a point after early betting, as the Utes are currently listed at -13. The total for the game is sitting at 44 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Utah vs BYU
BYU crushed New Mexico State 45-10 last weekend to move one game above .500 on the season overall. Even more importantly for the Cougars, the victory was their sixth of the year- and third straight – meaning that they are now bowl-eligible for the 13th time in the last 14 seasons. RB Lopini Katoa was clearly the star of the game for the BYU offense, rushing for a season-high 155 yards and four touchdowns. QB Zach Wilson has played well after taking over for Tanner Mangum, throwing six touchdowns and averaging over 150 yards passing per game. As a whole, the offense is currently averaging 25.3 points per game on 354.3 total yards. They have certainly struggled to move the ball through the air through eleven games, averaging just 199.2 passing yards per contest (96th overall).
The Cougars have played quite well on the other side of the ball this season, as they are currently giving up an average of just 20.5 points per game on 327.6 yards of total offense. BYU has been exceptional against the run, allowing just 127.1 yards per game on the ground (25th overall).
Utah won their second consecutive game last weekend, beating up on the Colorado Buffaloes by a score of 30-7 to improve to 8-3 overall. The Utes didn’t play well for the first two quarters before really turning it on in the second half, scoring 23 unanswered points. They also almost doubled Colorado in total yardage (390-196) and forced three turnovers while not committing any of their own. QB Jason Shelley played well despite completing less than 50% of his passes, throwing for 221 yards and two touchdowns. Shelley was forced to take over at quarterback after starter Tyler Huntley broke his collarbone in early November. Utah also lost RB Zach Moss at the beginning of the month, as he appeared to injure his knee in practice. Moss had been enjoying a fantastic season up until that point, racking up 11 touchdowns while averaging 121 rushing yards per game. Overall, the offense is currently averaging 30.5 points per game on 423.6 total yards.
The Utes have played remarkably well on the other side of the ball, as they are giving up an average of only 18.5 points per game (16th overall) on 312.1 yards of total offense. They have been fantastic against the rush so far this year, limiting opponents to just 95.5 rushing yards per game (5th overall).
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: BYU +13
This spot looks pretty straight-forward to me : Utah has been absolutely decimated by injuries and now has to face their biggest rival here in Week 13 without their top two offensive players. Yes, the Utes defense has been extremely impressive this season and will likely hold a below average Cougars offense to 15 points or less. However, BYU has also played quite well defensively and should be able to do enough to keep this one close for four quarters. It is also worth noting that these two teams almost always play each other extremely close, as five of the last seven meetings between these state-rivals have been decided by seven or fewer points.
Click on the link for more free college football picks from our experts on staff.
BYU is a rock-solid 7-1 ATS over their last eight road games. They are also an impressive 4-1 ATS in their last five road games against teams with a winning home record and 7-2 ATS in their last nine games as a double-digit road underdog. Utah is only 1-4 ATS over their last five home games against opponents with a winning road record.
The Cougars have really been on a roll against the spread as of late, going 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall. I think that trend will continue on Saturday, as the Utes are extremely banged up right now and simply don’t have enough offensive firepower to win this game by double-digits. This is the matchup BYU has waited for all season long, and I like them to stay within striking distance all game long – I’m taking the free points and rolling with the road underdog in this spot.