Troy Trojans vs. BYU Cougars Spread Pick
Troy Trojans (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. BYU Cougars (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
When: Saturday, September 26, 10:15 p.m.
Where: LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, Utah
Point Spread: TROY +14/BYU -14 (MyBookie - Deposit $100 and receive a FREE $100 bet!)
Total: O/U 61
Two teams that blasted their opponents in their opening game now get a chance to prove just how good they really are in an intriguing late-night matchup. Troy faced what might be the worst team that’s actually playing games in the nation in Middle Tennessee and slammed the Blue Raiders, barely getting challenged in a game where they scored 40 unanswered points. Meanwhile, BYU dominated Navy from the opening whistle on a trip to Annapolis, making the Midshipmen look completely unprepared throughout the contest.
But just because both teams put up such dominating victories against weak opposition doesn’t mean that they’re really as good as they looked in that opener. Football is full of teams who seemed too good the previous week and then fail to replicate that performance moving forward. Which team is really for real here?
How the Public is Betting the Troy/BYU Game
The number is moving toward the visitors here, as the line has dropped from 15.5 for the Cougars to the current 14. The total has remained unchanged.
Troy reports no injuries.
Tight end Matt Bushman is out for the season with a torn Achilles, while running back Jackson McChesney is out for the year after undergoing foot surgery. Running back Stone Finau is questionable with a knee injury, while quarterback Jaren Hall is questionable with an undefined injury.
When Troy Has the Ball
Troy wants to run as many plays as possible, in part because the Trojans know that if their offense is on the field, that means their defense isn’t. The Trojans ran an unbelievable 93 plays against Middle Tennessee, including 55 running plays. That’s both good and bad for Troy because Middle Tennessee appears about as bad as it gets this year, and the Trojans were able to control the game by keeping their plays coming. However, Troy also didn’t gain a lot of yardage on the ground against the Blue Raiders, which could be a real worry against a BYU defense that absolutely shut down Navy’s vaunted ground game.
But on the other hand, the Trojans are a pass-first offense led by quarterback Gunnar Watson, who has a stable of receivers to throw to, as 11 different Troy receivers caught at least one pass against Middle Tennessee. Khalil McClain and Bret Clark appear to be Watson’s top targets, as both caught six passes, with two of McClain’s going for a touchdown. This is the real wild card, as the BYU secondary has been untested this year after facing Navy’s triple-option. If Troy can hit a few early passes, the Trojans can stay in this game.
When BYU Has the Ball
The Cougars did whatever they wanted on the ground against Navy. That might be a sign of things to come against Troy, which hasn’t been known for defense at any time in the past year and a half. But the main question for BYU is what kind of team it wants to be. Do the Cougars want to be a team that throws the ball, something they didn’t do a ton of against Navy? If so, they’re going to need more out of Zach Wilson, who was accurate but didn’t really take a lot of chances because Navy’s defense was so discombobulated. Wilson only threw for 232 yards against the Midshipmen, which was partly because Wilson didn’t really need to throw all that often. Troy will move the ball, and Wilson will have to throw if BYU chooses that path.
Or does BYU choose to throw itself behind Tyler Allgeier and Lopini Katoa, who gashed Navy for 202 rushing yards and scored a pair of touchdowns each? If that’s the way that BYU chooses to go, this could actually be a lower-scoring game than people think, because the Cougars can keep the clock moving and keep Troy from getting its own offense on the field. Given that the Trojans likely can’t stop BYU from doing what it wants, the path that the Cougars choose will dictate how this game unfolds. There’s also the maddening worry that BYU has both been off for two weeks now and has a history of losing games to Group of 5 schools. The Cougars are usually a team that plays to their competition level — for better or for worse.
When the Cougars hammered Navy, it marked the first time in five games that BYU had actually managed to cover the spread. The Cougars were a rather horrid cover team a year ago, going just 4-8 ATS last season, including a 2-7 stretch that saw BYU get beat by the likes of South Florida and Toledo. Plus, Troy has been a relatively solid cover choice when it goes on the road. The Trojans have covered in 13 of their last 18 road games and have been strong in September, going 6-2 ATS in the season’s first month.
As far as the total goes, something has to give in one direction or the other. Troy has tended to put up a lot of points in almost all of its games, and that’s held in September, as Troy has hit the over in four of its past five September contests. BYU, on the other hand, has hit the under in seven of its last ten contests in September, as many of the Cougars’ early games have tended to be against rivals and have been against tough competition.
This should be an ideal day for football in Utah, with temperatures hitting 78 degrees and very little chance of rain.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
The main bet I want here is the over. I think that BYU chooses to attack through the air and try to work on its passing game in this situation, and that means that there’s going to be a lot of plays for both teams. I’m not entirely sold that BYU can stop Troy’s passing attack, and the Cougars have a really irritating tendency to fail to show up against lesser opponents.
I don’t want to give two touchdowns in this situation, not with BYU facing the kind of team that it tends not to show up against. I’m going to take Troy and the points here. Bet this week’s college football picks FREE by taking advantage of a sweet 100% real cash bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at BetNow Sportsbook!
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