Bet BYU to Cover vs. Virginia College Football Picks

Darin Zank

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 5:05 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 16, 2014 5:05 PM UTC

Virginia, coming off an upset at home over Louisville, now heads West to take on 3-0 BYU Saturday afternoon in Provo (3:30 pm ET, ESPN). Here's our breakdown of this match-up, with a free NCAAF pick thrown in at the end.

The Betting Odds
As of Tuesday morning most college football odds were chalking BYU at -14 over Virginia. Those who think the Wahoos might win this game outright can get upwards of +475 on the college football betting money line.

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The Match-Up
BYU is off to a 3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS start to this season. The Cougars opened with a 35-10 victory at Connecticut, covering as a 15-point favorite on the road. They then rocked Texas 41-7, winning outright as a one-point dog. And last week the Cougs defeated Houston 33-25, although they couldn't cover the spread at -17.

BYU had that spread covered last week, with leads of 23-0 and 33-15, but couldn't hold on.

The Cougars have out-gained their first three opponents this season by an average of 177 yards per game, and have out-rushed foes by 206 YPG.

BYU returned 14 starters this season from a team that went 8-5 last year. Eight starters came back on offense, including QB Taysom Hill and the entire offensive line. And six starters returned on defense.

On the other side of this match-up Virginia is 2-1 SU and 3-0 ATS this season. The Cavs opened with a 28-20 loss at home to UCLA, but covered as an 18-point home dog. They then dispatched of Coach London's former outfit, FCS Richmond, 45-13, covering as a 14-point favorite. And last week Virginia beat Louisville outright 23-21 as four-point home dogs, taking the lead on a field goal with four minutes to go, then holding on from there.

The Cavs held the offensive-minded Cardinals to just 282 total yards, just 79 yards on the ground. Virginia out-gained and out-rushed both Louisville and UCLA. In fact, the Cavaliers held the Bruins to one offensive touchdown; unfortunately, they gave up three scores to the UCLA defense.

Virginia returned 16 starters this season from a team that went 2-10 last year. Seven starters were back on offense, including last year's leading rusher Kevin Parks, and nine starters came back on defense, including the entire back seven.


When Last They Met
Virginia picked up one of its two victories last season over BYU, a 19-16 decision in Week 1. The Cougars out-gained the Cavs 362-223 and out-rushed them 187-109, but suffered a blocked punt that led directly to a Virginia touchdown, and fumbled a ball through the end zone for a Wahoos safety.

Virginia won that contest straight-up as a three-point home dog, and the game stayed 'under' its total of 49.


Cavs-Cougars Betting Trends
Virginia has covered four games in a row as an underdog.

The Cavs are 8-8-1 as a double-digit dog under Coach London.

BYU is 5-2 in its last seven games as a double-digit favorite.

The Cougars have played seven 'unders' in their last nine games.


College Football Pick
We like Virginia's chances of making some noise in the ACC this season, as they're already done with the victory over Louisville. But the letdown factor looms large in this spot for the Cavs. The students stormed the field after last week's win, and now the Wahoos have to get on a plane and fly two time zones away to play a pretty good opponent. And coming up with another big effort just after pulling an upset is difficult to do. So we'll give the points and go with BYU at 5Dimes for our free college football pick on this contest. 

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