Take the Points in BYU vs. UCF Week 7 NCAAF Pick

Jeff Grant

Monday, October 6, 2014 1:58 PM GMT

A devastating injury ended any hope of the BYU Cougars landing a spot in the college football playoff, but handicappers should still back them as underdogs against the UCF Knights Thursday.

Up-Hill Climb
BYU was certainly an outsider in terms of landing one of four spots in the college football playoff, but that dream came to an end after Heisman Trophy candidate Taysom Hill suffered a season-ending leg injury in a 35-20 setback to Utah State as 21-point home favorites in Week 6.

The Cougars are still capable of moving the football with junior running back Jamaal Williams carrying the load, which is important to consider when looking over the college football betting lines, as his talents will ease the pressure that new signal-caller Christian Steward will experience.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the school has split its eight games as an underdog, but has covered the number in six of those affairs.

 

A Thursday Love Affair
UCF will likely attract a majority of the betting action due to Hill’s injury, but it may also be warranted due to the program’s 5-0 SUATS record in its last five Thursday affairs.

The Knights have also put together a 35-11 SU all-time mark at Bright House Networks Stadium, which will also have college football handicappers eager to lay the points in this non-conference matchup.

It’s important to point out that this squad has captured 20 of 22 games when favored, but has put together a less-than-dominating 11-11 ATS record in that situation.

 

Clean Things Up
The Cougars are averaging just over 10 penalties per game and have a minus-two turnover differential—two very surprising statistics given that head coach Bronco Mendenhall is in his 10th year in Provo.

BYU should enter this game with confidence if the locker room has faith in Stewart’s ability to lead the offense, considering it has already registered two wins over American Athletic Conference opponents in 2014.

 

Holman Is Still a Liability
Knights quarterback Justin Holman has completed just 54.4 percent of his passes for 659 yards and six touchdowns with two interceptions, which is a big reason why the team has lost the statistical battle in three of four games.

Mendenhall is considered one of the brightest defensive minds in the country, which will likely mean that Holman must connect in the passing game downfield, as BYU will likely feature eight men in the box for 60 minutes.

 

Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Cougars as one of their Week 7 College Football picks, as they’ve gone 9-1-1 ATS in their last 11 games following a SU loss.

Free College Football Pick:  BYU Cougars +3 at Pinnacle Sports

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