BYU has come out of the gates and surprised people after a disappointing 4-9 season in 2017. The Cougars, 3-1, have staged upsets against Arizona and No. 6-ranked Wisconsin already this season and they are just one win shy of matching last season’s win total coming into this game.
BYU rolls over McNeese State
BYU is fresh off of taking care of business against McNeese State last week. Freshman Lopini Kaota ran for two touchdowns and Skyler Southam kicked three field goals to propel the Cougars to a 30-3 win. The Cougars needed a little time to get going against the Cowboys, but used a 24-0 second quarter to put away McNeese State. Kaota ran for a team-high 64 yards on 10 carries, while Tanner Magnum completed 15 of his 25 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown in a fairly quiet offensive day for BYU. Instead, it was the defense that carried them to the win, limiting McNeese State to just 207 yards of total offense and forcing four turnovers on the night.
Magnum comes into this game with 612 passing yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions through four games. Even though it was Kaota who got into the end zone last week, Squally Canada leads the team in rushing with 322 yards and five touchdowns so far this season. The Cougars come into this matchup averaging 25 points per game on offense, while allowing 17 per game on the other side of the ball.
Browning brilliant in narrow win over ASU
The Huskies have rebounded from a tough opening week loss to Auburn by winning their next three games. Washington avoided a trap game against Arizona State last week, thanks to a brilliant performance by quarterback Jake Browning, who turned in his finest game of the season in a 27-20 win. Browning played mistake-free football, completing 15 of his 22 passes to eight different receivers for 202 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Huskies to a narrow victory. Washington held Arizona State to just 268 yards of total offense and just 104 yards passing on the night, limiting star wide receiver N’Keal Harry to just five catches for 20 yards. The defense has yet to allow more than 21 points in a game this season, despite facing the likes of Auburn, Utah, and Arizona State through their first four games.
Washington has one of the best pass defenses in the country, but they struggled to stop the run last week and that is going to need to be a point of emphasis against a BYU team that already has seven rushing touchdowns this season. The Huskies are allowing 149 rush yards per game so far this year and only 154 per game through the air through four games.
- Huskies are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 vs. INDEP.
- Huskies are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
- Huskies are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- Cougars are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 road games.
- Cougars are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
This Washington team closely resembles Wisconsin, who the Cougars upset on the road just a couple of weeks ago. BYU is mature football team with a good defense and a solid running game, so they aren’t going to go down without a fight here. Jake Browning is coming off of his finest performance of the season against Arizona State, but he’s been prone to mistakes at times this year. Every BYU game this season has been a dog fight with the exception of last week’s cupcake win against McNeese State, so the spread just feels too high for me here. Take the Cougars to cover the number on the road in this battle between two Top-25 teams.
Prediction: Pick: BYU Cougars +18
Full-Game Total Pick
BYU is allowing just 17.0 points per game coming into this contest, while the Cougars have limited opponents to just 12.8 points per game through their first four contests. Both teams have been tested in the early part of the regular season schedule, so I expect this to be a closely-contested battle. BYU is going to lean heavily on the run and try to control the tempo of this game on the road, so take the under in this game at Husky Stadium in Seattle this weekend.
Full-Game Prop Bet
With two solid defenses going up against one another here, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a team have to settle for three points to start this game. Washington’s bend, but don’t break approach on defense has been very effective this season and neither of these teams has given up more than 23 points in a game all season long, so take the first score of this game not to be a touchdown on Saturday night.
Prediction: First score of this game will be — Any Other
Half-Time Side Pick
BYU has been impressive in the early going this season, nabbing upset road wins over Arizona and Wisconsin in the first three weeks of the year. They’ve done it while allowing no more than 23 points in any game this season and they pretty much had two weeks to prepare for this game after a cupcake win over McNeese State. Washington has been far from dominant this season, so I’m rolling with the Cougars to cover the first half spread in this game on Saturday night.
Prediction: BYU +9.5
Half-Time Total Bet
BYU has had no reservations about pounding the football on the ground this season. They have seven rushing touchdowns already this year and are averaging 156.5 yards rushing per game. Washington, meanwhile, has a solid defense, but they are giving up 148.8 yards per game on the ground, so I have a feeling this is going to end up being a defensive slugfest. Take the under on the first half total in this game on Saturday night.
Prediction: Under 23
Half-Time Prop Prediction
BYU isn’t getting a lot of respect in this game. Pegged for only 14.5 points, this mature Cougars team should have no problem going over their team total here. BYU put up 24 on the road in Wisconsin and 28 on the road in their season-opening win at Arizona. Expect them to go over 14.5 points relatively early into this game on Saturday night.
Prediction: Team Total – BYU Over 14.5