Hawaii Warriors at BYU Cougars: Week Five College Football Betting

Hawaii Warriors at Brigham Young Cougars
Friday, September 28, 2012, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
LaVell Edwards Stadium – Provo, Utah
Opening Line: BYU -27 1/2
Current Line: BYU -27 1/2
Opening Total: 53 1/2
Current Total: 50 1/2
Opening Money Line: BYU -5690 / Hawaii +3310
Current Money Line: BYU -5690 /Hawaii +3310

BYU is a 27.5 point favorite at home against Hawaii Friday night. This is the 29th meeting between the former WAC Conference rivals.

Former WAC rivals the Hawaii Warriors and BYU Cougars meet for the 29th time Friday night in Provo. BYU leads the series 20-8, including 8-0 all time in Provo. The Cougars have won 8 of the last 9 meetings including a 41-20 win last year in Honolulu. First year Hawaii coach Norm Chow was a BYU assistant for 27 years under legendary coach LaVell Edwards, including as the offensive coordinator from 1982-1999.

The Warriors are 1-2 this season with a 54-2 home win over Lamar, and blowout losses at USC 49-10 and last week at home against Nevada 69-24. It was the Mountain West debut for both Nevada and Hawaii, after years of being in the WAC. Hawaii was down 20-17 in the second, but Nevada outscored the Warriors 49-7 for the rest of the game. The Wolf Pack had 575 yards including 355 rushing yards.

Hawaii is struggling on offense, which seems strange to say, given the Warriors’ historical reputation for explosive offense. The Warriors are averaging 337 total yards per game, including 197.3 passing yards and 139.7 rushing yards. Hawaii is 90th or worst in all three categories nationally. On defense, the Warriors are giving up 392.3 yards per game, including 232.3 passing yards and 160 rushing yards. Hawaii is being outscored 40-29.3 this season. The Warriors are 1-1 ATS and the total is 1-1. There was no line on the Lamar game.

Hawaii quarterback Sean Schroeder, a former Duke transfer, has completed 61 of 102 passes (59.8%) for 592 yards with 6 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He has been sacked 9 times this year. Running back Will Gregory has 32 carries, 202 yards, and a touchdown. Joey Iosefa has 25 carries for 82 yards, along with 7 catches for 41 yards. He is probable with an ankle injury. John Lister has 2 rushing touchdowns this season. Six Warrior receivers have at least 5 catches, Trevor Davis has 9 catches, 170 yards and a touchdown. Jeremiah Ostrowski has 17 catches, 148 yards and a touchdown. Hawaii has 8 players either suspended indefinitely or out for the season because of injury, including 2 receivers, and 3 defensive players.

BYU is 2-2 this season under coach Bronco Mendenhall. The Cougars opened with blowouts at home against Washington St 30-6 and Weber St 45-13, before excrutiating road losses to Utah 24-21 and Boise St 7-6 evened their record. Against Boise St, BYU had 200 total yards, 13 first downs, 8 penalties and 5 turnovers. Despite those ugly numbers, BYU had a chance to win the game late. Down 7-0 with just under 4 minutes left in the fourth quarter, BYU scored to make it 7-6. Mendenhall decided to go for two, but the Cougars failed to convert. The Broncos then ran out the clock. Boise hadn’t done much on offense either with just 261 total yards and 13 first downs. The Broncos didn’t even score an offensive touchdown as their score came on a 35 yard interception return. Many thought the Cougars should have kicked the extra point and taken their chances in overtime with both teams struggling to move the ball.

BYU is another school traditionally known for it’s high octane offense, but the Cougars are struggling on offense as well. The Cougars are averaging 367.5 total yards including 219.2 passing yards and 148.2 rushing yards. BYU has one of the best defenses in the country allowing just 246 total yards including 177.2 passing yards and 68.8 rushing yards. The Cougars are #21 against the pass, and in the top 10 nationally in total defense and against the run. BYU is outscoring opponents 25.5-12.5 this season. The Cougars are 2-2 ATS and the total is 1-2 this season.

Quarterback Riley Nelson has completed 64 of 109 passes (58.7%) this season for 754 yards with 5 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, along with 36 carries for 84 yards. He has been sacked 8 times this season. He struggled in the Boise St game and was replaced by freshman Taysom Hill. Hill was 4 for 10 passing for 42 yards, against Boise St, but he had 12 carries for 72 yards with BYU’s only touchdown of the game. Nelson is listed as probable with a back injury that he has been battling all season. If Nelson can’t go, Hill will get the start. Hill has thrown one touchdown pass, but is the second leading rusher for BYU with with 21 carries for 113 yards with 3 touchdowns. Running back Michael Alisa has 56 carries, 210 yards and a touchdown, along with 6 catches for 23 yards. Receiver Cody Hoffman has 21 catches, 302 yards with 2 touchdowns. Tight end Kaneakua Friel has 15 catches, 195 yards with 4 touchdowns.

Hawaii is 5-0 ATS after a double digit home loss, 7-1 on grass, 6-1 after allowing 40 points, 3-8 in Friday games, 2-7 in non-conference games, and after a straight up loss by 20 points or more, 2-8 overall, 1-5 after failing to cover, and after allowing 450 or more yards. The road team is 4-1-1 ATS in the last 6 games in the BYU-Hawaii series.

BYU is 6-0 ATS against Mountain West teams, 6-1 after a cover, 5-1 at home and on grass, 9-2 overall, 4-1 after a straight up loss and against teams with losing records, 10-3 after allowing 275 yards, 7-3 after allowing 170 passing yards, 9-4 after allowing 20 points or less, 3-8 in September, and 0-4 after gaining 275 total yards or less.

It seems almost inconcievable that BYU and Hawaii could play a football game with a total that opened at 53 1/2 and was bet down to 50 1/2. Both of these schools are struggling on offense. BYU is clearly the better team, but I am not sure they should be a 4 touchdown favorite against anybody with their offense. The Cougars might not score 28 points. I think BYU wins but Hawaii stays inside the 27.5 spread.

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