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BYU Cougars vs. Houston Cougars Betting Picks and Prediction

14 October 2020

NCAAF Picks Austyn Varney
Date:Saturday, October 16th
Time:9:30 PM ET
Venue:TDECU Stadium
Network:ESPN
Spread:BYU -5.5
O/U:62.5

The 4-0 BYU Cougars will go on the road Friday night to face off with the 1-0 Houston Cougars at 9:30 PM ET in TDECU Stadium. You can watch the game on ESPN or ESPN3. These teams rank 2nd and 3rd in the nation in points per game, so it’s fair to say a shootout is on the docket. The Cougars come in as three-point road favorites and we’re looking at a 63.5 over/under. Let’s dive into how this one will go down and who will cover the spread. 

Why is BYU -5.5 the bet to make?

– Cougars are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games following a ATS win.
– Cougars are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games following a ATS win.

Why is Over 62.5 the bet to make?

– Over is 4-0 in Cougars last 4 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
– Over is 6-1 in Cougars last 7 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game.

When the BYU Cougars Have The Ball

The 14th-ranked Cougars decimated their first three opponents, but the UTSA Roadrunners were able to keep things close a week ago. QB Lowell Narcisse completed 17 of his 20 passes for 262 yards and he didn’t turn the ball over. If BYU wants to beat Houston, they cannot allow such easy pass completions. They also have to be more aggressive as they don’t have the skill in the secondary to sit back and relax.

The Cougars offense revolves around the running game, even though they’re about as balanced as you can get. Tyler Allgeier leads the squad with 391 yards and four touchdowns. He’s spelled by Lopini Kotoa, who isn’t far behind with 215 yards and two scores of his own. The two-headed rushing attack is one of the best in the country and they will hurt you if ignored. 

QB Zach Wilson has been one of the more efficient quarterbacks in the country, completing 81% of his passes en route to 1,241 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s added another 60 yards and six scores on the ground. Wilson is the leader of this offense and he does a terrific job of getting the weapons the ball in space. Let’s dive into some of those weapons on the outside.

Gunnar Romney is a target hog and he’s already caught 20 balls for 453 yards and two touchdowns. Dax Milne is just as good, but a bigger receiver and more of a downfield threat. He’s added 366 yards and a score on 24 catches. Neil Pau’u is the only other receiver with over 10 catches, so you know where Wilson is headed with the ball when he drops back. That’s if he’s not taking off for a TD on his feet. Kotoa has made an impact out of the backfield with eight catches for 78 yards and two touchdowns. 

When The Houston Cougars Have The Ball

The University of Houston team was itching to get on the field last week after their first three games of the season were postponed. It certainly showed as they beat the Tulane Green Wave 49-31 in a game that they turned the ball over five times in. Both the offense and defense helped overcome the turnovers, but Tune and co. have to take better care of the football against BYU. They will score if given the opportunity and Houston won’t be able to catch up. 

HC Dana Holgorsen has always been a pass-first coach, but that hasn’t necessarily been the case for two years now. Houston ran the ball 43 times against Tulane for 157 yards and four touchdowns. Kyle Porter, Kenneth Walker, and Mulbah Car all averaged over four yards per carry and Car found the end zone twice. 

As for QB Clayton Tune, he doesn’t impress me. He holds the ball too long and second guesses on just about every single throw. There is still a ton of upside in his arm, but the decisions have to be better and faster. There just isn’t time to  think about anything when the ball is in your hands. The smart move would be to force the ball to Marquez Stevenson, who is undoubtedly one of the best receivers in the entire country. He went for 115 yards and a touchdown on top of a 97-yard return score. The Cougars will get the ball in his hands a ton if they want to keep things close. Keith Corbin is another talented receiver and Tune has to get him the ball in space.

If Houston wants to keep this game close, just about everything has to go according to plan. They certainly can’t turn the ball over five times again as BYU will take advantage. They just run the ball effectively and get it to Corbin and Stevenson when they do throw. The defense was great in week one, but it’s tough to defend when you’re constantly on a short field. 

Spread Prediction

I like BYU up to a touchdown in this game as I see them as the comfortably better team. While Houston is a far superior team to the one they were a year ago, they still aren’t on the level of this BYU squad. Their offense is extremely balanced and it’s tough to lean one way or the other as a defense as you will get bit. Zach Wilson has been one of the best quarterbacks in the entire country and he’s making a name for himself come draft time.

This BYU team didn’t look great a week ago, which I actually like. They won their first three games with ease and took their foot off the pedal. They now realize they have to keep the foot heavy or any team can come in and ruin their perfect season. Give me the BYU Cougars to win this one comfortably on the road. 

The Pick: BYU -5.5

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

Total Prediction

The over is my favorite wager in this game. Both of these offenses like to play fast and neither defense scares me. We know the BYU Cougars are going to put up four or five touchdowns. It just comes down to whether Houston can match them or not. I think they can at least put up enough for the over to roll. 

The Pick: Over 62.5

Final Score Prediction: BYU 45, Houston 38

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

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