We have all heard the history has the tendency to repeat itself. As we break down Friday's matchup between BYU and Utah St. let's try to determine if this saying holds any weight for football bettors looking at this games total?
College football odds were released with Friday night's total at 50 1/2 and has moved a minimal amount to
an even 50 points for this game between BYU and Utah State.
It appears there is only a slight lean towards the preference for the ‘under’
play. I have no concrete information lending to a direction for this line at
this time, as only a few sportsbooks have opened totals for this game to this
Last year Utah State dominated BYU in a 31-16 home win while installed as 4 1/2 point dogs. This avenged the loss in 2009 where BYU won 35-17
in Provo but failed to cover the 24 point spread. So Utah State has played BYU
tough the past two seasons.
In last year’s game Utah State had a monster ground
attack, rushing the ball 59 times out of 59 total plays and gained 242 rushing
yards. BYU executed 52 plays and gained only 110 total yards.
In 2008 BYU went to Utah State and won 34-14, but failed to cover
to massive 28 1/2 point spread. The total was posted at 60
points and easily went ‘under’ as BYU failed to post the points the odds makers had expected them to. Once again in 2006 BYU hammered
Utah State in a 38-0 home win that easily covered the 25 point spread. The total
was 48 1/2 and again the game played ‘under’.
They met once more in 2002,
in what was a nail-biter, as BYU took a 35-34 win at Utah State. BYU was favored by 17 1/2
points, but failed to cover and the score went ‘over’ the 65 point posted total.
Utah State has posted a 6-2 ATS record against BYU spanning games
played since 1992. However, for money line lovers BYU is 11-2 against Utah
State in the same time gap. In all games played at BYU, the Cougars are a perfect 7-0 and
2-2 ATS in lined games since 1992. Two of three lined games have gone ‘UNDER’
the posted total.
Some matchups worth a
Utah State loves to run the ball, which is always a favorable
time consuming endeavor. They rank 104th in the overall BCS rankings, gaining
167.3 passing yards per game and rank fifth gaining 316.0 rushing yards per
game. However, the running game is scoring points as they rank 14th in the land, averaging
42 points per game. The defense has been suspect though, as they are allowing 31.3 points per game
ranking 97th nationally.
The BYU Cougars are a pass-happy type of team that ranks 66th nationally
averaging 223.3 passing yards per game. They don’t run the ball particularly
well, only averaging 68 rushing yards per game. The offense has struggled to score
points, ranking 109th averaging just 16.0 points per game. On a positive note, their defense has
played decently and ranks 67th allowing 25.3 points per game.
One must wonder why in the world would BYU be
favored in this game and why would the total be at 50 points based on these
national rankings. The answer can be found in the power rankings of the
opponents they have faced. Based on my calculations, BYU has played against competition nearly twice as strong
as what the Utah State Aggies have faced.
Utah State has only played one quality opponent in Auburn, who defeated them 42-38 in Week 1. In their defense, they had Auburn defeated and it
took miracle touchdown score in the final minutes of the game for Auburn to
secure the win. They then faced Weber State followed by last week's debacle OT loss at home to Colorado State.
By contrast, BYU has played at
Mississippi, winning 14-13, but failing to cover the two point spread. They then battled Texas in Austin losing 17-16 as the 7 1/2 point dogs, followed by an embarrassing home loss to Utah, losing 54-10 as the small favorite. In their most recent contest, BYU defeated UCF 24-17 as 1 1/2 point favorites, a game in which I had correctly picked the 'under'.
The difficulty of BYU 's schedule has had a huge impact on the opening lines. However, the public seems to disagree with the sportsbooks assessment based on the fact that the line is falling. To me, after the major loss that Utah State suffered last week, I am already leaning towards a play on the ‘UNDER’.
BYU is seasoned against some very strong competition and has gained
confidence from those games while the Utah State psyche has been shaken after last week’s OT loss. BYU has the better defense and run a ball control
offense that will keep the Aggies powerful running game off the field.
I expect BYU to control the time-of-possession by as much as ten minutes, and the greater the
differential, the greater the probability they win, cover, and the game falls ‘under’.
My Pick: Take the 'Under'
Tomorrow we will take another look at this game to see if any significant line changes have occured and need to be addressed. So keep checking back, and share your thoughts on this Friday night showdown.