Boise State Broncos vs. BYU Cougars Prediction ATS
Boise State Broncos (6-0 SU, 4-1-1 ATS) vs. BYU Cougars (2-4 SU, 2-4 ATS)
College Football Week 8
Date and Time: Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 10:15PM EDT
Where: LeVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, Utah
Point Spread: BSU -6.5/BYU +6.5 (MyBookie)
Over/Under Total: 51.5
The Boise State Broncos come to Provo on Saturday for a matchup against the BYU Cougars. Boise State is looking to make a statement this season, and so far, they look the part with a 6-0 mark. Last week, they beat a 4-1 Hawaii team, 59-37. After 4 out of five games at home, including an off week, they now take to the road against Brigham Young. Granted, things haven’t worked out so well with the Cougars at 2-4 this season. But they’ve had it pretty rough too and maybe aren’t as bad as their record looks. On Saturday, they lost to South Florida, 27-23, and look for better at home against a team they did well against last season on the road, losing to Boise only 21-16.
Next Man Up for the Broncos
Against Hawaii, true freshman Hank Bachmeier suffered what head coach Bryan Harsin described as a hip pointer. His exact status for Saturday isn’t entirely clear. Still, after a very heated quarterback competition in the offseason where we didn’t know who would start until very late, there are other qualified players to fill in, namely Chase Cord. Last week with Bachmeier sidelined, Cord threw for 175 yards and three TDs. Having game-ready guys to step in helps take a sad song and make it better. Having a beefy and capable line upfront also helps, as does a growing running game. Robert Mahone and George Holani might not be as electric as past Boise backs, but they’re consistent. With receivers John Hightower, CT Thomas, and Khalil Shakir, the Broncos have the top aerial package in the conference. Even if Bachmeier can’t go come Saturday, I wouldn’t expect much falloff with Cord behind center.
BYU as Bad as Record Looks?
On the surface, the prospects of a 2-4 BYU squad taking on what looks to be an outstanding Boise team is daunting for potential Cougars backers. After starting the season with an understandable loss to Utah, they showed a lot of pluck with an overtime road win over Tennessee, before beating USC in overtime the following week. A 45-19 loss to Washington was predictable, but in losing two road games consecutively the last two weeks to Toledo and South Florida, we saw a flat squad. Granted, they lost their previous two games by only a combined 11 points, but some drawn-out wars earlier in the season, along with some weird road-trips, appeared to take a little zest out of this squad. Maybe they can get refreshed at home.
BYU has enough issues under optimal conditions. But they’re not the only ones dealing with injuries at the QB position, and their predicament is even worse. Starter Zach Wilson won’t be back until early December at the earliest. Second-stringer Jaren Hall didn’t last long, going down against South Florida, forcing them to put in redshirt freshman Baylor Romney. Now while we have seen Cord run the Boise offense without skipping a beat, it’s a bit doubtful that going from Wilson down to this rung won’t start really coming at a cost to an offense that can ill-afford to suffer setbacks.
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Hurdles to a BYU Cover
Quarterback issues aside, there are other problems for the Cougars. They actually have some talent on offense, with Emmanuel Esukpa at running back. But injuries have also manifested here, with key backs Beau Hoge and Ty’Son Williams already being lost for the season. In other words, they’re pretty deep in the barrel already in a lot of key areas. Another Romney is among one of many useful ball-catchers, with Gunner along with Aleva Hifo, Matt Bushman, and Micah Simon. The issues are who is going to get them the ball. With Wilson out, this cast has languished. And whoever is in there, whether it be Romney or Hall, will have to deal with a balanced Boise defense that can do a little bit of everything. Granted, they gave up 37 last week to the Rainbow Warriors, but Hawaii is a pretty good team, and they won and covered, only giving up points after building up a considerable lead. Teams more on par with BYU’s offense have really suffered against this Broncos “D.”
Why Boise Will Cover
The Broncos opened with a big comeback win at Florida State, and since that day on August 31, they’ve been at home other than an easy trip to Vegas where they cruised to a win. They’re a little banged up, but haven’t been through the wringer like BYU, who has been jettisoned all over the country—an unpleasant byproduct of being an Independent. Again, the Boise run game lacks the star back they had with guys like Jay Ajayi and Alexander Mattison, but Holani and Mahone are suitable. BYU has been getting completely run over by opposing backs. Already battered from the season so far, where is this “D” going to be late in the game when Boise is clipping off ten yards a run at will?
That’s before you even get to the explosive Boise aerial game, easily the gem of that side of the ball. Bachmeier or Cord still have all those aerial weapons to exploit, regardless of who is in there. Both can get it done. To their credit, the Cougars’ secondary has allowed minimal yardage. That could just be a result of them being so exploitable against the run, as teams don’t even need to take to the air against this bunch. Sure, they were able to hold down the Toledo, South Florida, and Tennessee aerial attacks, but against Washington and USC, we saw a more-exploitable group, and we might see one again on Saturday.
Take the Road Favorite
It’s disheartening for the BYU program to be so snake-bitten from an injury standpoint. One could sense they were shaping up to be one of those good and scrappy Cougars teams before the roof caved in personnel-wise. It’s been a punishing road to this spot. While they have all the heart you could ask for, they are at a significant deficit from an Xs and Os perspective across nearly all areas in this matchup. I don’t see Boise letting up, as they cruise to the win and cover on the road this week.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Boise State Broncos minus 6.5 points.
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