Fresno State vs. BYU College Football Picks: Cougars to Cover ATS

Steven Suarez

Friday, November 20, 2015 10:00 PM GMT

Friday, Nov. 20, 2015 10:00 PM GMT

The Cougars are widely expected to win easily this weekend, but will they be able to cover the large spread that can be found at all the top sportsbooks? Let's break it all down inside and share a college football pick.

Odds Overview
It's a one-sided affair in terms of the college football odds board this matchup between BYU and Fresno State. The Cougars are huge 26-point favorites at a lot of sportsbooks, and that number goes as high as 27 here and there if you search hard enough.

The total is currently listed at 56 points, which means a large percentage of the offensive production is likely to come from BYU. We can see why that's the case, considering Fresno State's struggles this season.

 

BYU Cougars
The Cougars opened the season with two wins before losing on the road to UCLA and then Michigan, but they bounced back nicely after those two defeats, winning five games in a row. They fell short last week though, falling 20-16 against Missouri on a neutral field.

BYU was coming on with a full head of steam, but couldn't get much going against a strong Tigers defense. Tanner Mangum completed 23-of-41 passes for 244 yards with one passing touchdown and zero interceptions, and Algernon Brown managed 42 yards and a rushing touchdown on only seven rushes, but overall the Cougars offense was held in check. They also had a bad day preventing Russell Hansbrough and company from having a good day out of the backfield.

Despite last week's setback, BYU has been doing well offensively in general, with Mangum logging a 16:7 TD:INT ratio since having to take over for Taysom Hill, who suffered a season-ending injury early on in the season. Mangum is finding his footing as the starter, and seems to be growing in confidence each week, and he's formed a good bond with Mitch Mathews, who has 519 receiving yards and nine touchdowns this year. Brown has been the most dangerous back in terms of touchdowns, but Adam Hine and Francis Bernard among others have also been getting work.

 

Fresno State Bulldogs
At 3-7 overall, the Bulldogs don't have a chance of making a bowl, so they'll merely be playing for pride over their last couple of regular season games. They come in having lost two of three, with defeats to Air Force and Nevada and a win over Hawaii, which came in the team's latest matchup.

In that 44-14 victory against the hapless Rainbow Warriors, Zack Greenlee had a huge day, throwing for 285 yards and six passing touchdowns. Jamire Jordan, Chad Olsen, Da'Mari Scott, Marteze Walker and Josiah Blandin all found the end zone, and that red-hot passing attack made up for a running game that wasn't able to make much progress throughout the game.

Greenlee has a 13:3 TD:INT ratio on the season, and we've typically seen Marteze Walker (761 rushing yards and four touchdowns) find success running the ball, but we just haven't seen Fresno State be able to piece together top-notch efforts on both sides of the ball (at the same time) very often, and that's why they're sitting with such a bad record.

 

Betting Analysis
We're going to do what we can to avoid the Bulldogs, regardless of how much better they looked in last week's win over Hawaii. Fresno State has just not been getting it done on a week-to-week basis, and the overall body of work is more than lackluster.

In short, we feel much more comfortable backing the Cougars, who have a much more potent offense and the added bonus of being at home. With our college football picks, we'll be on the lookout for a big BYU victory and ATS cover against what's been a tough team to trust in the Bulldogs.

College Football Picks: BYU Cougars -26 at 5Dimes

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