On Friday night (9/29/23), Cincinnati faces BYU in a Big 12 conference matchup. In this article, find a full preview of the game and the latest betting odds. In addition, find our Cincinnati Vs. BYU best bet which is Cincinnati +1.5.
Cincinnati Vs. BYU Prediction & Best Bet
The Big 12 added four new teams this year, including Cincinnati and BYU. Cincinnati came over from the AAC while BYU was an independent team until this season. Both teams lost their first conference game last week, but I believe BYU’s issues are more concerning than Cincinnati’s moving forward.
BYU simply can’t run the ball. They’re averaging just 2.2 yards per carry, which ranks 122nd in the country. They’re 131st in rushing EPA and 133rd in success rate. Their top two running backs, Aidan Robbins and Hinckley Ropati, are injured, and BYU hasn’t found any sort of consistency with its ground game.
That doesn’t bode well as they head into a matchup against Cincinnati’s run defense. The Bearcats are allowing just 3.3 yards per attempt this year, which ranks 36th. They rank 48th in rushing EPA and 26th in success rate allowed. Linebackers Dorian Jones and Jack Dingle have double digit run stops per PFF.
As a result of its inefficiency running the ball, BYU has abandoned the run – they rank 120th in rush play rate. Kedon Slovis had a whopping 51 pass attempts last week, and BYU is 5-27 since 1992 when throwing 50+ times in a game. Their lack of standard down success has been disastrous for their overall offensive efficiency.
Cincinnati hasn’t been lighting up the scoreboard, but that’s mostly due to struggles finishing drives. They had 19 red zone possessions (25th) but are scoring a TD on just 47% of red zone trips (119th). Head coach Scott Satterfield spoke about those struggles and I trust him to find ways to improve those results.
BYU is dealing with injury issues heading into this game. Wide receiver Parker Kingston, offensive lineman Weyling Lapuaho, linebacker Ben Bywater, and cornerback Eddie Heckard are all listed as questionable. On a short week, those players’ statuses are very much in doubt.
While BYU has homefield advantage in this game, they don’t have the offense to take advantage as a result of their poor run game. Cincinnati’s offense has been much more effiicient to start this season, and I like the Bearcats to pick up the road upset and their first Big 12 win in program history.
Cincinnati Vs. BYU Prediction & Best Bet: Cincinnati +1.5
Cincinnati Vs. BYU Betting Odds
The odds for this game have moved from an open of 2.5 points on the spread down to 1.5. I wouldn’t be shocked if Cincinnati closes as the favorite in this game. The over/under sits at 50 points at the moment, with consideration being given to the under given BYU’s struggles with its run game and overall injuries.
Cincinnati Vs. BYU Key Matchups
When Cincinnati and BYU play on Friday, there are several matchups that will help determine the winner of the game. Here, I’ll break down some of the key matchups that could help decide the winner of this Big 12 game.
Kedon Slovis Vs. Cincinnati’s Pass Rush
BYU lost three of its five starting offensive linemen from last season, and the protection hasn’t been there for new quarterback Kedon Slovis. The Cougars rank 113th in havoc allowed on offense and Slovis has been pressured on 50 dropbacks, the 10th-most in the Power Five. Injuries on the offensive line don’t help.
With BYU’s nonexistent run game, Slovis has found himself in a lot of third-and-long situations, which isn’t a recipe for success. Last week against Kansas, he completed just 4 of 11 passes for 27 yards with a putrid 2.5 yards per attempt rate. If BYU can’t protect Slovis, he’s going to struggle.
Cincinnati ranks 14th in defensive havoc and 25th in PFF pass rush grades. The Bearcats have had no problems dialing up the pressure, and I expect that to continue this week. If Cincinnati can get home on obvious passing downs, it could be curtains for the BYU offense in this game.
Emory Jones Vs. BYU’s Secondary
Emory Jones has been in college football since 2018, and while he has never found his footing with a long term home, he’s been a good fit for coach Satterfield’s offense. However, limiting turnovers will be important as Jones has four interceptions and no touchdowns over his last two games.
It’s been a transitionary period for the Cincinnati offense as they lost their top eight wide receivers and returned just 20 career FBS starts on the offensive line. Still, the Cincinnati offense ranks top 50 in EPA and success rate overall, and a continued upward trajectory should be expected.
BYU’s defense has been declining in recent years, and former Weber State head coach and longtime Utah assistant Jay Hill was brought in as the defensive coordinator. The Cougars have allowed over 30 points to the two real offenses they’ve played this season, and we still don’t know whether the defense has improved in any meaningful way.
— Cincy on the Prowl (@CincyOnTheProwl) September 11, 2023