After an eventful week one of college football, week two offers some notable games to keep your eye on when placing your bets this Saturday. One in particular is the ranked matchup of the No. 9 Baylor Bears heading to Utah to face the No. 21 BYU Cougars. This will be a big first test for both teams after picking up big wins against lesser talents in week one. Making a statement in week two could be a precursor to a competitive or disappointing 2022 campaign. These two will also be playing a rematch from a game last season where the Bears were victorious 38-24 at home. Now with this game being played in Provo, the stakes could be a little different. Let’s dive into this game’s picks and predictions.
Baylor vs. BYU Betting Odds
Despite being ranked higher in the AP, the Baylor Bears are actually coming into this game as underdogs as you look at the lines set by bookmakers. BYU are currently moneyline favorites at -167 at a spread line of -3.5 points. The over/under is currently set at 53.5 as well. BYU is a hard team to play at home which is a big reason they come into this game as favorites, as well as coming into this game with some fire under their seats after losing to Baylor last year.
Baylor has a new look at quarterback and running back this year, but new QB Blake Shapen proved strong in their week one matchup against an inferior Albany team where he threw 214 yds and 2 TDs before getting pulled in a 69-10 win. The running game that was so strong last year proved strong again last Saturday as six different Bears scored rushing touchdowns going for seven total rushing touchdowns. These guys will need to play strong going into BYU to keep up with a talented Cougar offense led by QB Jaren Hall.
Baylor vs. BYU Picks & Predictions
My pick: Baylor ML (+250)
BYU is the favorites, but I am going with the higher-ranked Bears to come in and get a big win in a close matchup. I think the Bears will be able to score against BYU who doesn’t always play against the highest competition, and a team they were able to beat by double digits last year. BYU’s defense let up 388 yards and 25 points per game last season. I have faith in their offense but the defense is where I am not confident in their ability to win at home against a top-ten team. They let up 20 points week one to an average USF team. Their secondary is tougher with CBs Kaleb Hayes and D’Angelo Massell. If Blake Shapen is able to get connected with his receiver early, I don’t know if they’ll be able to stop the running or throwing game as BYU has struggled with the pass rush as well.
The over is also a potential play here, depending on if you think BYU is able to get scoring going against a tough Baylor defense. I do think this will be a close game and that the BYU offense will be able to get points going so the over could be a good grab as well.
Baylor Vs. BYU Key Matchups
Jaren Hall vs. Baylor Defense
One particular matchup I am very interested in seeing that’ll be a big indicator on the victor is how BYU QB Jaren Hall matches up against Baylor’s defense. Jaren Hall threw for 2,583 yards and 20 touchdowns last season. He only threw for five picks last season but the Baylor defense has become known for taking away turnovers since Dave Aranda became head coach. They have had 44 turnovers in his first two years and those numbers should be expected to continue to rise. They didn’t get any interception takeaways against Albany but they did get a fumble recovery so starting off on the right track. Baylor defense also ranked 10th last year in scoring defense and was one of the strongest in the country. The addition of transfer DT Jaxon Player Sr. from Tulsa racked up 138 tackles and eight sacks in his time there. Expect heavy things from the Baylor defensive front.
Jaren Hall threw for 261 yards and 2 TDS against USF, but did also throw an interception. He will need to be playing his A-game against his home crowd and did get some good pass protection this year with Oregon transfer Kingsley Suamataia who was a 5-star prospect. The addition of transfer RB Christopher Brooks will give him another strong weapon out of the backfield as well and give the Cougars a chance to put up points.