Utah State Aggies vs BYU Cougars Odds, Picks, Predictions (9/29/22)

Utah State enters this game with a quartet of ugly results. They allowed 20 points to UConn. They suffered a 55-0 defeat to Alabama. They lost to Weber and UNLV.

I’m not sure what’s happening with the Blake Anderson era in Logan, but it’s not pretty.

BYU looks pretty good overall. They’re 3-1 with only an ugly loss at Oregon, but they were banged up for that contest. From what I can tell, the Cougars are getting healthy again.

However, 24 points is a pretty large spread to lay no matter who you are playing. Will the dominant Cougars show off in this game? Or can Utah State bounce back and return to last season’s 11-win form?

Let’s break it down. Read on for our Utah State Aggies vs BYU Cougars odds, picks, and predictions.

Utah State Aggies vs BYU Cougars

The line opened at BYU -24 and has held steady. Surprisingly, a large amount of the money is coming in on BYU but the line is holding steady.

The under is taking the heaviest money, however, and the line has moved down a half-point since opening. It may move more if the money continues to pour in, as I’ve already seen a 60 pop across the market.

Utah State Aggies vs BYU Cougars Prediction & Pick

Utah State won the Mountain West last season. They returned 12 total starters from an 11-win team.

How does that translate into this start?

Well, let’s look at their losses. They include:

  • Quarterback Logan Bonner’s top-three receivers are gone
  • The defensive line lost its top two players
  • The linebacking unit lost it stop two players
  • The secondary goes from four returning starters in 2021 to two returning starters this season
  • The defense loses four of its top five tacklers overall

This team was due for regression, too. Four of their 2021 wins came by four points or fewer. That includes some huge upsets over Washington State, Air Force, and Colorado State.

But with four returning offensive line starters (102 career starts), top back Calvin Taylor, and Bonner back, I expected better than 122nd on Offensive Success Rate.

The good news is every team in the Mountain West is awful right now. Utah State needs to bounce back slightly and they’ll be right in the thick of it.

BYU’s defensive metrics are a mystery. They have been horrendous defensively, especially against the rush. That’s surprising considering all 11 starters returned from last year’s defense that held opponents to under 25 points per game.

The worst area of BYU’s defense is in Finishing Drives. They are the worst defense in the nation in preventing points once their opponent crosses BYU’s 40-yard line.

But I think there is some positive regression coming for BYU. They can’t continue to allow 84% of their opponent’s red-zone opportunities to end in touchdowns. And there’s too much talent on this defense to be this bad.

Luckily, the Cougars should get some reprieve with this Utah State offense that is averaging 4.7 yards per play and is among the bottom-10 teams in Finishing Drives.

Meanwhile, Utah State has some hope on the defensive end. The Aggies are top 80 in Success Rate allowed and top 30 in both defensive Havoc and average starting field position allowed.

All-in-all, I’m looking under. 61 is a very high total for this Utah State team that is already 4-0 to the under. The sharp money is on the under and I’ve seen projections that make this total just 58.

Hopefully, Jaren Hall won’t cook us.

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Utah State Aggies vs BYU Cougars Key Matchups

Key Matchup: BYU’s Wide Receivers vs Utah State’s Secondary

BYU can’t run the ball. The Cougars are 76th in Rush Success Rate and 104th in Offensive Line Yards. They’re just not pushing the ball well enough.

Hall is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. He’s 22nd in PFF’s Passing Grades right now. The Cougars are second in PFF’s Pass Blocking grades and the offensive line has been great at avoiding Havoc.

The only question mark is the BYU’s wide receivers. Two were out last week and looking to return for this week, and the hope is they are 100%.

The Aggies are 63rd in PFF’s Coverage grades and 45th in PFF’s Tackling grades, so there’s a chance they can be competitive. This matchup will likely decide the high spread and large total.

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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