Take Nevada Plus the Points vs. BYU for College Football Picks

Darin Zank

Thursday, October 16, 2014 3:52 PM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014 3:52 PM UTC

Brigham Young started out this season with four wins, but is 0-4 ATS over its last four games, and 0-2 both SU and ATS since losing QB Taysom Hill. The Cougars forge on without their best offensive player when they host Nevada for Homecoming in Provo Saturday night.


The Betting Odds
Most college football odds opened BYU at right around -11.5 over Nevada, then dropped that spread to around -10.5, then bumped it back to -11.5, with some outlets going to -12. Also, the total on this game started at around 52, but got steamed to 56.

Those out there who think the Wolf Pack might win this game outright could get +344 on the college football betting moneyline at Pinnacle.

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Wolf Pack-Cougars: The Situation
With 17 starters back from a team that dropped to 4-8 last year Nevada hoped to at least return to a bowl this year, and maybe even make a run at the Mountain West championship game. At 3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS so far the Pack needs three wins in its last six games to become bowl-eligible.

Nevada opened this season with a 28-19 victory over Southern Utah, then beat Washington State outright 24-13 as a three-point home dog. The Pack then lost at Arizona 35-28 but covered as 20-point road dogs, then won at San Jose State 21-10, covering as six-point road favorites. But Nevada then lost at home to Boise State 51-46 and, last week, lost at home to Colorado State 31-24.

The Pack fell behind the Rams 31-3 in the third quarter, then scored the last three touchdowns of the game, pulling within one score with six minutes left. Nevada ultimately outgained CSU 457-445, but couldn't stop Rams QB Garrett Grayson, who hit on 26 of 36 throws for 326 yards and three scores.

Nevada has been outgained in four of its six games this season.

BYU, with 14 starters back from a team that went 8-5 last year, figured at the very least to return to a bowl this year, and with help from a little kinder schedule, maybe even make a run at 10-11 wins, which might put it in the contention for a spot in this year's four-team championship playoff. And the season started well, with four straight victories. But things have taken a drastic change for the Cougars over the last couple of weeks.

BYU opened with a 35-10 victory at Connecticut, then won at Texas 41-7. The Cougars then came home and held off Houston 33-25, although they couldn't cover the spread as 17-point favorites, then defeated Virginia 41-33 but couldn't cover at -14.

Brigham Young's season then took a turn when Hill, who had already accounted for 15 touchdowns this year, suffered a broken leg in the second quarter of what turned into a 35-20 Cougars loss to Utah State. And last Thursday, with backup QB Christian Stewart making his first career start, BYU lost at Central Florida in overtime 31-24.

The Cougars trailed the Knights 10-0 early, then scored the next 24 points to take a two-touchdown lead. But BYU bogged down from there, and eventually lost in OT.

The Cougs outrushed UCF 189-63, but got outgained 389-342. In fact, BYU has been outgained its last three games.

Stewart completed 22 of 37 passes, with three TDs, and ran for 52 yards, but those 22 completions only produced 153 yards.


Wolf Pack-Cougars Recent History
These teams have only met nine times overall, four times since 2001. But they did just play last November, when BYU, down 7-0 at the half, came back to win 28-23 in Reno, although Nevada covered as a 15-point home dog.

The Cougars outgained the Pack that day 492-363 and outrushed 'em 394-104. Hill alone ran for 154 yards.

That game played UNDER its total of 66.


Wolf Pack-Cougars Betting Trends
BYU is 4-2 on the totals this season, in part because it gave up 33 points to Virginia and 35 points to Utah State.

Nevada is 1-5 on the totals this year, in part because it's been tagged with some high totals, three of 65 or more.

The Cougars are 0-3 ATS at home this season, and 0-4 ATS in their last four games as double-digit favorites.

The Pack are 5-0 ATS in their last five games as double-digit dogs.


Injury Update
Hill is out for BYU, and that's a huge loss. In his place Stewart did some things well last week against Central Florida, and some things not so well. Perhaps a few extra days of practice will help. Also, Cougars RB Jamaal Williams (1,200 yards last year, 400 this year) suffered an ankle injury last week, and his status is uncertain. BYU is also a little banged up on defense. At the moment the Cougs are not a very healthy team.


Wolf Pack-Cougars Free Pick
BYU gave a very good effort without Hill in the loss to Central Florida, but his absence still looms large. The Cougars own the edge on defense, but Nevada, with dual-threat QB Cody Fajardo, should have enough to keep this one close, if not pull the upset. So we'll go with the Wolf Pack, getting 12 points at Pinnacle, for our free college football pick.

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