BYU Cougars vs. Houston Cougars
Friday, October 16, 2020 – 9:30 PM EDT at TDECU Stadium
BYU started off this season on an absolute tear, but they struggled in their most recent win against UTSA. Due to no big-shot plays and back-breaking penalties, the Cougars failed to run away against the Roadrunners. Despite the struggles in their win, quarterback Zach Wilson looked great. He continues to be the driving force for this offense, and they needed him to beat UTSA.
This Friday, BYU will be facing the Cougars of Houston. Houston opened its season with a barn-burner against Tulane, but they have only played the one game so far this year. Coach Dana Holgorsen will be looking to bring his team to 2-0 with an upset against BYU.
The NCAAF betting line is around 4 points depending on the sportsbook, so this game is expected to be close. You’d expect nothing less between two undefeated teams. With that in mind, let’s figure out what each team must do to cover this small spread.
Keys for BYU to cover
As always, the BYU offense will run through Zach Wilson. He has been great for them so far this season, but I still believe that he has another gear. He can only do so much with the talent around him, but BYU should really look into opening up the passing game with deep shots down the field. Houston did not give up many chunk-plays against Tulane, but this Cougars team has more in the tank than Tulane did.
It’s also vital that BYU continues to develop its running game over the course of the season. That includes this game. The key to BYU’s offense is balance. Tyler Allgeier ran for over 100 yards and a touchdown last week, and he will need to put out a similar performance this Saturday.
Defensively, BYU can’t expect to fully stop Houston. They just need to slow the Cougars down and give Zach Wilson a chance to win it in the fourth quarter. If BYU gets to that point, Wilson will deliver when it matters most.
BYU also needs to limit their penalties. They had too many stalled drives due to flags, and they don’t need to give Houston extra shots to score.
Keys for Houston to cover
One thing that worries me is lack of experience on this Houston team. With only one game under their belt, they are not adequately conditioned through the trials of a college football season. That might not end up mattering, but it is certainly worth watching as this game unfolds.
Offensively, Houston must cut down on turnovers. A plethora of fumbles and a pick-6 kept the Green Wave in their last game for far too long. If you do those kinds of things against BYU, you cannot expect to win. BYU isn’t necessarily an opportunistic defense, but they will make plays if you give them the chance.
This game will likely end up being a slugfest. Both teams love to drive down the field and put points on the board. However, BYU does it more methodically than Houston does. Because of this, I would expect Houston to try and win the time of possession with a few long drives. It’s great to wear out a defense with a fast-tempo style and big plays down the field, but your own defense needs time to rest on the sideline. If Houston can determine when to flip the switch and when to put their foot off the gas, they will be successful in this game.
This game is a hard one to predict. We know what to expect from BYU, but they aren’t a perfect team by any stretch. Houston’s offense can hang with the best of them, but they are unknown due to their lack of games. This game could go either way and it would not surprise me.
If you are considering betting on Houston, I would suggest looking into the Moneyline instead. They are good enough to win, and I doubt that a few points will end up making a difference.
With that being said, I’m sticking with the devil that I know. When in doubt, put your money on Zach Wilson and the Cougars.