Utah Utes (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Utah State Aggies (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
College Football Week 2
Date/Time: Friday, September 7th, 2012/8:00 p.m. EST
Where: Romney Stadium, Logan, Utah
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Utah -7.5/Utah St. +7.5
Over/Under Total: 54
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The battle for bragging rights and the edge in recruiting in the state of Utah will take place Friday night in Logan, when the Utah Utes travel to Romney Stadium to play the Utah State Aggies in a nationally televised game on ESPN2.
Both teams come into the in-state showdown fresh off of an opening week tune-up against weak competition. Utah ran up 414 yards of total offense in a 41-0 rout of Northern Colorado, while Utah State beat up on Southern Utah by a 34-3 score but with an impressive 581 yards of offense in the one-sided affair.
Now the rivals strap it on for real, no more D-1AA cupcakes, with Utah State looking to avenge a 35-17 loss in their last meeting in a 2009 game in Salt Lake City.
The oddsmakers out in Las Vegas originally set the opening point spread with Utah as strong 7.5-point favorites on the road, but with a bunch of early-week money coming in on Utah the line has gone up to Utah minus -8 and many of the sportsbooks on the Internet and in Vegas.
The handful of offshore sportsbooks taking action on the over/under total already are listing the number at 54, and with only a scant few offering the wager it has yet to take any serious action.
Using last weeks tune-up games as a basis for handicapping the rivalry game is dangerous, especially since both team put up Playstation numbers on offense. Utah State sophomore QB Chuckie Keeton was impressive in his two-plus quarters (22-of-26, 304 yards, 2 TD), while Utahs Jordan Wynn didnt play as well (19-of-27, 200 yards, 2 TD), the Utes were 9-of-15 on third down, a stat theyll have to continue to be successful under the Friday night lights.
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Assessing both defenses is a tough task as well, since the opener is roughly the same as going against the scout team in practice. In the Utah win back in 2009, the Aggies were unable to stop Utah as the Utes racked up 27 first downs and 519 yards of total offense. However the game was a one-score game when the Utes blocked a punt for a safety just before halftime, swinging the momentum to the home sideline the rest of the game.
A look at the betting trends for this game shows a strong play on Utah on Friday. Utah is a perfect 5-0 ATS in their last five visits to Romney Stadium, and the road team in general has enjoyed a 5-0-1 ATS mark in the last six head-to-head matchups.
The over also has proven to be a solid bet in the series of late, going 3-0-1 in the last four meetings dating back to the 2006 season.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I expect both team to have a much harder time moving the football on Friday night, not just because the talent level is higher but also because of the nerves being a little tighter on national TV. Without a good feel for either side of this matchup, Im going bank on both teams struggling. Im taking the under of 54.
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