College Football Holy War Betting Picks: BYU Cougars at Utah Utes

BYU Cougars at Utah Utes
Saturday, September 10, 2016, 7:30 pm Eastern, TV: Fox
Rice Eccles Stadium – Salt Lake City, Utah
Opening Line: Utah -3 1/2
Current Line: Utah -3 (-115)
Opening Total: 50 1/2 (under -123)
Current Total: 44 1/2
Opening Money Line: Utah -165 / BYU +145
Current Money Line: Utah -160 / BYU +140

BYU is a 3 point underdog against rival Utah on the road.
BYU is a 3 point underdog against rival Utah on the road.

After a three year regular season hiatus, one of college football’s greatest rivalries is renewed Saturday as the Brigham Young Cougars travel to the Utah Utes in the Holy War. Although they haven’t played in the regular season season since 2013, Utah beat their rivals last year 35-28 in the Las Vegas Bowl last season. The Utes led 35-0 in that game and held on for the win. Utah leads the series 55-31-4 including 35-16-3 in Salt Lake City. Fifteen of the last twenty games in this series have been decided by seven points or less.

Both teams are 1-0 this season. BYU beat Arizona 18-16 in Glendale, AZ last Saturday night. The Cougars were 1 point favorites  and the total was 63.5. It was the head coaching debut for Kalani Sitake who was an assistant at Utah under coach Kyle Whittingham for 10 seasons and was even the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach for the Utes. Utah shut out Southern Utah 24-0 last Thursday. The Utes were 28 point favorites and the total was 63.5.

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BYU took a 9-0 lead into halftime but they did miss an extra point. Arizona kicked a field goal in the third quarter to make it 9-3. The Cougars would take a 15-3 lead early in the fourth but missed a two point conversion. Arizona scored 13 straight points but missed a two point conversion of their own with 1:26 left. BYU drove down the field and kicked the game winning 33 yard field goal with four seconds left to win 18-16. It was a very low scoring game that was expected to be a shootout.

BYU had 415 total yards including 213 rushing and 202 passing. Arizona had 328 total yards including 213 passing and 115 rushing yards. The Cougars had 24 first downs to 17 for the Wildcats. BYU was 7/15 on third down conversions and 1/1 on fourth downs. Arizona was 5/13 on third down conversions. BYU had 8 penalties for 65 yards and Arizona had 4 for 20 yards. The Wildcats had the only two turnovers of the game. The Cougars held possession for 37:37 to 22:23 for the Wildcats.

BYU quarterback Taysom Hill was 21/29 passing for 202 yards and a touchdown, and had 11 carries for 37 yards. Running back Jamaal Williams had 29 carries for 162 yards. Moroni Laulu-Pututau, Jonah Trinnaman, and Colby Pearson each had at least 4 catches but none had over 49 receiving yards. Pearson caught a touchdown pass.

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Utah jumped out to a 17-0 lead at halftime against Southern Utah and added a touchdown in the fourth quarter to make the final 24-0. The Utes had 436 total yards including 298 passing and 138 rushing yards. Utah held SUU to 158 total yards including 116 rushing yards and 42 passing yards. The Utes had 19 first downs to 7 for the Thunderbirds. Utah was 8/17 on third downs and 1/1 on downs. Southern Utah was 2/12 on third downs. Utah had 6 penalties for 40 yards and SUU had 3 for 20 yards. The Utes ahd one turnover to two for the Thunderbirds. Utah held possession for 38:50 to 21:10 for Southern Utah.

Quarterback Troy Williams was 20/35 passing for 272 yards and 2 touchdowns, and also rushed for 15 yards. Running back Troy McCormick had 12 carries for 55 yards and a touchdown, and also made three catches for 55 yards. Receiver Tim Patrick had 5 catches for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns.

BYU is 4-1 ATS in September, 7-2-1 after scoring less 20 points, 3-7 after rushing for more than 200 yards, 2-5 after allowing less than 20 points, 1-4 in road games and against teams with winning home records. The over is 5-1 in this series in Salt Lake City recently. The underdog is 5-1 ATS in this series recently.

Utah is 4-0 ATS against independent teams, 4-1 after a win by 20 points or more, 12-5 against teams with winning records, 40-19-2 in non-conference games, 1-4 at home and overall, 2-8 after allowing less than 170 passing yards, and 0-4 against teams with winning road records. The Utes have covered the four games against the Cougars overall and five of the last six at home.

We really don’t know a lot about Utah as they played a vastly inferior opponent. Both teams were very good on defense last week. This could be a low scoring game as evidenced by the total dropping six points from the opening line. I think BYU pulls off the mild upset on the road.

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