College Football Betting -- Cougar Alert: BYU Carries National Ranking Into Houston

  • In Charles Jay
  • Fri, Oct 16th, 2020 7:04:02 am
  • By Charles Jay - Exclusive to OSGA

On Friday night, 14th-ranked BYU will try to extend its unbeaten record to 5-0 against Houston, which is only playing its second game.

Here is a game between two schools who have had to drastically alter their schedules because of COVID. The BYU Cougars blew out three rescheduled foes and then slumped a bit in winning last week. They occupy the #14 spot in the The Houston Cougars has virus concerns to the extent that they wiped out all of the early season, keeping them out of action until last week.

This game, originally slated to be played at BYU, now shifts to Houston's home field (TDECU Stadium). BetAnySports customers have a chance for better value through reduced juice, and then can watch on ESPN place wagers while the game is in progress through Sports Betting Prime.

BetAnySports Line: BYU -3.5 (+100), Houston +3.5 (-120)
Total: 62 points

To say BYU is doing well is an understatement, although their chances in getting into any kind of playoff have fizzled because of the SEC and Big 10 deciding to engage in a conference schedule. But they are outgaining opponents by an average of 306 yards per game. Here, it might be a matter of them trying to protect quarterback Zach Wilson, who is capable but no Trevor Lawrence by any means, from the Houston pass rush, which registered six sacks against Tulane.

In Wilson's defense, he has thrown for 1241 yards and has been picked off only once, completing an ungodly 81%. It seems as if Wilson, who was a big recruit by the BYU program, but didn't appear to reach his potential, may be getting a little closer to it now.

BYU was supposed to have a different sort of schedule; they played a Navy team right out of the box that was admittedly unprepared, having not had any contact drills. And then with Troy, Louisiana Tech and UTSA they were not paired with foes who were going to help them make a case for "final four" consideration.

There was a struggle last time out, however, as their defensive line couldn't be bullied on the ground, but was scared through the air by UTSA, which for the uninitiated stands for University of Texas-San Antonio. Giving up 287 passing yards and winning by seven as a 35-point favorite is obviously not something that inspires confidence in many.

The H-Cougs haven't had much action, so they have some kinks to work out - like five turnovers against the Green Wave - but you do not want to go to sleep on Dana Holgorsen's now-balanced offense, which ran 76 plays last time - much closer to the 2018 pace than the 65-plays-per-game that they got off last season. BYU's big task is to slow down Marquez Stevenson, who not only had 118 yards receiving but also a 97-yard kickoff return, helping Houston come back from a 24-7 deficit.

We understand that with BYU we may have an opportunity to "buy low" with some having doubts after that last effort. We also get that they have been playing at least semi-consistently. At the same time, you have to acknowledge that there is something impressive about coming into your first game with a lot of time off, like Houston did, and outscoring an opponent 42-7 to finish, while overcoming five turnovers.

Regarding the additions to his team after last season;s 4-8 debacle, Holgorsen said "This thing is going to get really good really quick." Maybe that's the case.

Sure, we're nervous about laying points like this on the road. But the difference here may be the offensive line of BYU, which figured to be one of the best in the nation, no matter who they were going to play. It's created a nice balance on offense, as they are running the ball 60% of the time.

And defensively they've been solid, ranking #1 in the nation in the metric of "Opportunity Rate" in the run game (according to the folks at Football Outsiders).

I don't know that Tulane (Houston's victim last week) is any better than some BYU has beaten (Troy, Louisiana Tech, UTSA). We'll go with a little better balance, a little better defense, and more game time together. So it's BYU.

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