Connecticut Huskies (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS) vs. Brigham Young Cougars (2-2 SU, 3-1 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date/Time: Friday, October 2nd, 2015, 10:15 pm EST
Where: LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, Utah
TV: ESPN2, DirecTV 209
by Badger, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: CONN +18.5/BYU -18.5
Over/Under Total: 44
The BYU Cougars will try and stop their two-game slide out of the AP rankings and back above .500 for the year when they welcome the Connecticut Huskies into LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on a late-game 10:15 pm EST start Friday Night lights edition of college football on ESPN2.
BYU went into their game last weekend on the road at the Big House in Michigan as the 22nd-ranked team in the country, but after an embarrassing, 31-0, drubbing at the hands of the Wolverines the Cougars find themselves outside the top-25 looking in as they host UConn this week with hopes for redemption. With only 105 yards of total offense in the Michigan loss, theres no doubt the Cougars have hit rock bottom with no where to go but up.
Connecticut finds themselves sitting at .500 for the season too, and ironically they will enter the game in the midst of a two-game losing streak as well. However, the Huskies back-to-back losses to Missouri and Navy (last week 28-18) in relatively close games were proceeded by victories over Villanova and Army in close games, only really tells us that the Huskies appear to play to their competition each week. This week well see if they can give the Cougars a test after traveling across two time zones for a game that will start after 10 oclock pm back in Connecticut.
Judging from the opening point spread of BYU minus -17.5 points, oddsmakers dont expect much of a contest on Friday night. Most of the money taken by Las Vegas for this one has been on the Cougars too (60%-to40% at most books), so it has moved the spread up to minus -18.5 at most sportsbooks on the Internet. The opening over/under total of 44 has not moved at all in early betting, but it will likely be found at 44.5 or 43.5 at a few sportsbooks before kickoff o Friday as the books move off the push in order to stimulate interest on betting on the total at the window.
As mentioned, with only 105 yards of offense last week the Cougars have a lot of improvement to make this week. Although it doesnt take a professional handicapper to figure out the talent level of the Huskies defense is light years behind the level the Wolverines brought last weekend. The UConn defense gave up 303 rushing yards against the option attack of Navy last week but thats an apples to oranges comparison to BYUs scheme. The Huskies defense did a great job of containing Missouris scheme in their previous road game this season, but a lack of offensive run game of their own limited their ability to spring the upset.
The aforementioned UConn running game should take a little comfort in knowing that the BYU run defense has been gutted in large chunks in past weeks by Michigan and UCLA. QB Bryant Shirreffs has been safe with the ball in the passing game (1 INT), but without a whole lot of big play potential either (2 TD, 8.2 ypatt.).
These two schools last played each other in the 2014 season opener in August, a game BYU rolled to a, 35-10, victory on the road at Rentschler Field in Storrs. BYU covered the closing number of -15.5 in last years game, and the closing total of 54 never was really under threat of going over at all.
Its no surprise that Connecticut is 8-20-1 ATS in their last 29 road games, including a 3-9 ATS mark in non-conference games lately. BYU went 0-4 ATS in October last season, and is just 1-4 ATS versus teams from the AAC, so the betting trends dont really offer a whole lot of guidance in Fridays contest.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think BYUs grind of an early season schedule finally caught up with them last week in the Big House. That said, Im not so sure they have the type of high-powered offense needed to blow out a decent UConn team that has shown an ability to play up against a good team on the road in the past. Im on the other side of the steam in this one. The Huskies should be able to keep it closer that three scores at the end, so Im taking Connecticut plus +18.5 points.
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