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BYU Cougars vs. Wyoming Cowboys Odds - Prediction

BYU Cougars (8-4 SU, 9-3 ATS) vs. Wyoming Cowboys (8-5 SU, 8-5 ATS)
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
Date/Time: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 9PM EST
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
TV: ESPN
by Scott, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: BYU -8.5/WYO +8.5
Over/Under Total: 56

The BYU Cougars meet the Wyoming Cowboys at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego in the Poinsettia Bowl on December 21. Both teams notched 8-win seasons. Foy BYU, they had an awfully tough schedule with some ups and downs this year. They closed with four straight wins to enter this game with some needed momentum. Wyoming was able to dust off the sour taste of a really bad run in recent seasons to win their division and get to the MWC title game, which they lost to San Diego State on December 3 in their last game.

For the Cowboys, this was a big turnaround season for a team that had found itself struggling in recent years. You don’t want to get too critical with a team like that considering where they came from and how coach Craig Bohl got them on the right track—no easy task. Be that as it may, the season closed a bit unevenly for the Cowboys. In their last four games, they lost a 69-66 battle-royale to a 3-win UNLV team, beat San Diego State by a point, got clobbered, 56-35, by New Mexico, before losing to San Diego State in the title game.

Wyoming saw a big boost on the offensive side of the ball this season, bolstered by a good line and the standout play of QB Josh Allen and RB Brian Hill. Allen threw for nearly 3000 yards this season, tossing 26 touchdown passes, while running in 7 scores. Wyoming was really able to run the ball this season, with Hill racking up a 1767 yards with 21 touchdowns. Aerially, the main target for Allen was Tanner Gentry, one of the best in the conference with 1213 yards. He was joined by Jacob Hollister and Jake Mualhardt. All told, the Cowboys averaged 37.1 points per game. Beyond the stats is the character of a team able to rise from the ashes, as that should also be taken into account. And while the Las Vegas Bowl might be a less-exciting bowl for BYU, this is a big deal for a Wyoming team that has been on the outside looking in lately.

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The Wyoming defense was not a top group this season and as we pointed out earlier with them allowing so many points late in the season, they are not improving. In fact, they’re getting worse. At the end of the day, they’re the nation’s 112th ranked defense, one of the worst of any team that managed this many wins on the season. Wyoming allowed an average of nearly 35 points a game this season. To their credit, they did get 25 turnovers and score several touchdowns, while applying a good pass-rush. For their lack of robustness, at least they can make plays. Kevin Prosser gets after the QB, while Marcus Epps, Antonio Hull, and Logan Wilson were key in getting interceptions and making key plays for this unit.

Kalani Sitake has a successful season, his first as BYU head coach. The home-spun feel with a bunch of former players serving as assistants seemed to help, as this team has a lot of brotherhood. As has usually been the case in recent seasons, their early-season was filled with close games that could have gone either way. In their four losses, they were defeated by a total of 8 combined points. But they closed the season in strong fashion, with four straight wins where opponents scored a combined 29 points.

The Brigham Young offense was led by QB Taysom Hill, who can throw and run the ball very well. His aerial numbers might not have inspired, with his 12/12 TD-to-INT ratio. But he did throw for 2323 yards, while running for 600 yards and 8 touchdowns. The passing-attack underachieved to some extent, especially with Ty Detmer in his first season as O.C. With Hill out after a leg injury, it now falls into the hands of Tanner Mangum, who thrived in spots this season, while starting almost all of last season. More should have been yielded from their pass-catching crew of Nick Kurtz, Colby Pearson, Mitchell Juergens, and others and Mangum was able to do that last season, though he’s not nearly the runner that Hill is. But the Cougars can run the ball, led by Jamaal Williams and his 1165 yards on the ground. In games against good teams, their offense never really took over the game, relying on an efficient running offense and leaning on a good defense. Maybe Mangum can extract more out of the receiving corps.

BYU allowed less than 20 points a game on average in the 2016 season. They really shined on run-defense and overcame some personnel issues to become a strong unit. And unlike Wyoming, they were playing better at season’s end. On the season, they secured a massive 29 turnovers, scored several touchdowns, and applied a decent pass-rush for most of the season. Getting after the quarterback was Sae Tautu, while Kai Nacua was key with 5 picks, along with Fred Warner and Francis Bernard making a ton of plays in the middle.

BYU ended the season stronger and played the better teams, while no team was able to dominate them all season long. Conversely, Wyoming had a great year, but one that ended on a weaker note. In other words, BYU didn’t do things like give up 69 points to UNLV or lose by three TDs to teams like Colorado State. But Wyoming should be expected to put forth a strong effort and BYU isn’t built for dominating teams of this caliber. I’m taking the points.

Scott's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Wyoming Cowboys plus 8.5 points.

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NCAA Football Week 4 Betting Previews

Here are some additional game previews from this week's college football card.

Free Picks

Editor's Picks - Each weekend our very own in-house All-American Editor makes his NCAA point spread predictions in an attempt to force fumbles, sack and intercept your bookie!

Expert College Football Picks - Free premium college foots plays against the spread from expert handicappers from around the web from week 1 through the National Championship.

Underdog of the Week Pick - We sort through it all and find out which University is getting "too many points" this week. If there was a Heisman Trophy for picking underdogs, we'd be a frontrunner. Expect a 57%+ winning percentage with these picks as we've got a keen ear for loud barking dogs.

Line Movement - NCAA football lines open early in the week and often times move up or down based on wagering activity, injuries to key players and weather. We decipher whether it's square or wiseguy action and predict the point spread winner based on value.

College Football Consensus Picks - We assess the public perception each week and let them pick the winners for us as we fade their selections which provides us with many trips into our bookies endzone.

Computer Picks - We enter them into the computer and the machine makes it's picks. This is a great guide especially when betting totals! These are available after the first few weeks of the season.

Trends - Despite what you have been told or read on tout sites, the trend ain't your friend. We however turn the tables and fade the almighty trend for what should be some great profits over time.

2017/2018 College Football Predictions - Bob gives his picks to win each major conference. At the end, he gives his prediction on who thinks will win the 2018 National Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8th.

2017 Heisman Trophy Predictions - USC QB Sam Darnold is a heavy pre-season favorite to win college football's most coveted award, but Jay isn't buying it. In fact, he's passing up the top (3) favored players in favor of a QB who he's confident will be NCAA football's best player in 2017.

2017-2018 College Football Championship Predictions - NCAA football experts have the Alabama Crimson Tide running away with the National Championship this season and who can blame them? Roll Tide is LOADED! It never happens that easy though. The USC Trojans (+825), Florida St. Seminoles (+850) and Ohio St. Buckckeyes (+875) all have a legit shot. Oddsmakers have Oklahoma (+1300) on the bubble and everybody looking from the outside in at 20/1 or higher. Jay gives his pick to win it all along with how his top 15 rankings for season's end. Get your bets in early before your favorite team's line drops!

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Heisman Trophy Betting Odds - USC QB Sam Darnold starts the season off as a heavy favorite at +350 odds. Sooners QB Baker Mayfield is second on the list at +700 but can he keep his nose clean? Louisville QB Lamar Jackson should dominate this season but will Louisville be taken seriously? Oregon Ducks RB Royce Freeman is worth a pop at 60/1 if he gets the carries. Bama WR Calvin Ridley brings experience and big-time playmaking ability and will be featured on National TV a bunch, giving him a legit darkhorse shot. But will they throw the ball enough with a QB who likes to run? Missing from this year's list of odds is a defensive player.

Odds to Win the 2017 College Football Championship - The Alabama Crimson Tide are heavy favorites to win the National Championship this year at 5/2 followed by Ohio St. at 13/5, USC at 7/1 and FSU at 17/2. Things drop off a bit with the Oklahoma Sooners coming in at 12/1, Auburn Tigers at 14/1 and Michigan Wolverines at 16/1. Check out your favorite school's odds here!

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