This Friday the BYU Cougars (3-2) will host the Utah State Aggies (3-1). Kickoff is set for 9:00 EST at LaVell Edwards Stadium and will be televised on ESPN2.
Taking a look at the Week 6 NCAAF odds, the books opened this one with BYU as a slim 2.5-point home favorite and that’s where the number sits right now. The total for this matchup is currently at 56 points.
BYU vs Utah State Vegas Betting Line & Game Preview
The Aggies come into this one off a bye. Last time out they won 42-32 as a 9.5-point home favorite against Air Force in their MWC conference opener. It was Utah State’s third straight win following that crushing 31-38 loss at Michigan State in Week 1. They are also a perfect 4-0 ATS and all 4 of their games have finished OVER the total.
BYU enters off a 35-7 loss at No. 11 Washington as a 18.5-point underdog. The Cougars, who upset Wisconsin on the road 24-21 as a 23.5-point dog, were completely dominated in the loss to the Huskies. Washington led 35-0 going into the 4th quarter. They outgained BYU 464 to 194 and had a 26 to 7 edge in first downs. The Cougars are still profiting at 3-2 ATS and the UNDER is now a perfect 5-0 in their games this season.
This will be the 88th meeting in this in-state rivalry. It’s been pretty lopsided of late, as BYU has won 16 of the last 20 meetings including 10 of the last 11 at home. With that said, it was Utah State won last year 40-24 as a 1.5-point home dog.
College Football Free Pick Against the Spread: Utah State +2.5
My early lean here would be on the Aggies to cover the short number, as I think they win this game outright. Utah State was one of the most underrated teams in the country coming into the 2018 season and it’s shown by the fact that they are a perfect 4-0 ATS to start the season.
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While BYU is also a much-improved team from last year, I think they are still getting a little too much love from that big upset win at Wisconsin. A victory they were very fortunate to get, as the Badgers outgained them by 83 yards and had a 20-14 edge in first downs. More than anything, I think the Cougars caught Wisconsin by surprise and that certainly seems to be the case after how poorly they played against Washington.
I know the schedule has been extremely difficult early on with 4 of their first 5 games coming against Power 5 opponents, but it’s hard to ignore the lackluster offensive numbers for BYU. The Cougars are 103rd in the country in rushing at 132 ypg and 116th in passing at 163 ypg. Things could even tougher on the offense if starting running back Squally Canada can’t go. He leads the team with 335 rushing yards and has accounted for 5 of the 12 touchdowns the BYU offense has managed to score this season.
That’s not the only major injury the Cougars are dealing with right now, as starting linebacker Zayne Anderson and starting strong safety Dayan Ghanwoloku are both listed as questionable to play. It was going to be a tough matchup for BYU’s defense even with those two healthy, as Utah State has an emerging star at quarterback in Jordan Love, who you might recall torched a very good Michigan State defense for 319 yards earlier this season. This Aggies offense can also attack you on the ground, as they are averaging 5.5 yards/carry and that’s with them only managing 25 yards on 25 attempts in the opener against the Spartans.
The other big thing that will get overlooked is the advantage Utah State has in terms of scheduling. The Aggies will have had essentially two weeks to prepare for this game coming off a bye, while BYU has just 5 days to prepare for this contest and are coming off a very physical game against an elite Washington team. Adding to this is the fact that Aggies head coach Matt Wells has gone an impressive 8-2 off a bye as the head coach at Utah State. BYU on the other hand is a mere 2-7 ATS in their last 9 home games, 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games played on Friday night and 0-5 ATS in their last 5 off a game where they had less than 275 yards of total offense. Give me Utah State +2.5.