Utah vs. Baylor kicks off at 12:00pm EST on Saturday (9/9) in Waco, TX as a home game for the Bears. Utah is currently a -7 favorite with -270 odds on the moneyline (bet $270 to win $100). The total, meanwhile, is set at 47.5. Read on for more Utah vs. Baylor best bets and predictions as Utah looks to potentially secure another win without their starting quarterback.
Utah Vs. Baylor Prediction & Best Bet
In true Kyle Wittingham fashion, he held his cards close to his vest and waited until the final minute before announcing Cam Rising out of the game. Not only was star quarterback Rising out, but their potential number one target tight end Brant Kuithe was a late scratch as well. Even without the lethal duo, Utah had no issue with securing the win against a struggling Florida Gator squad.
As for the Baylor Bears, it was about as bad as it gets as they lost outright to Texas State as a -27.5 favorite. The theme of the game was defense optional as the Bobcats went on to score 42 points and capitalized on two Baylor turnovers.
Worse yet for Baylor, they are now without their starting quarterback Blake Shapen who suffered an MCL injury against Texas State. His injury is expected to keep him sidelined for three weeks. Backup quarterback Sawyer Robertson is expected to fill in during his absence, finishing week one throwing for 113 yards and one interception. Not exactly inspiring to turn this program around after falling flat on their face week one.
Even with question marks surrounding Utah’s health heading into week two, they still have massive advantages against the hobbled Baylor Bears. Especially on the defensive end, ranking 29th in Def Success Rate and 26th in Def Havoc.
With Sawyer looking uncomfortable in the pocket, he must now deal with a Utah front seven that excels at generating pressure in the backfield. With the pocket collapsing, this forces Sawyer into getting the ball out early and creating potential turnover worthy plays for the Utes Havoc minded defense to capitalize on.
When on offense, Utah should have no issue with moving the ball down the field as Baylor mightily struggled at limiting opposing downfield production. Bryson Barnes proved to be a capable backup with Rising out, featuring a rocket arm that can stretch the Baylor secondary.
Utah Vs. Baylor Odds
Even when facing the reality of not having the duo of Cam Rising and Brant Kuithe, oddsmakers still believe this is their game to lose as they opened the Utes as a -6 favorite. Bettors are in the same belief, taking Utah up to -7 as of writing. As previously mentioned, the defensive advantage will be massive and will give Utah’s backups plenty of opportunities to progress down the field. Especially if they can generate any sort of Havoc and give their offense a generous starting field position.
As for the total, points were expected to be scored at a lightning quick pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 55.5. I say “were” as bettors have hammered the under since the open, taking the total down to as low as 47.5 in some shops. The drastic movement towards the under gives me conviction that Utah’s backups are expected to start, relying heavier on the run and draining the clock throughout the contest.
Utah Vs. Baylor Key Matchups
Can Bryson Barnes continue to air out the ball? How does Baylor’s ground game find success against Utah’s defense?
Bryson Barnes vs Baylor Secondary
With capable running backs in the backfield, Utah did not have to rely on Barne’s passing ability in their week one matchup against Florida. In his minimal 18 attempts, he did flash an ability to air it out accurately and may get the reins to throw more should Cam Rising sit this one out.
That SEC defense means more. Bryson Barnes 🔥 pic.twitter.com/CFrEGGjVK6
— FanNation AllUtes (@FN_AllUtes) September 1, 2023
Should he get the green light, he will be in a good position to succeed as the Bears rank 101st in Def Pass Success Rate and 84th in Def Pass PPA.
Utes Front Seven vs Dominic Richardson
While not many things went right in Baylor’s week one loss to Texas State, they did at least find success on the ground. With Shapen out with an injury, the Bears will be forced to rely on it again until Robertson can prove he is a capable passer.
This spells doom for the Baylor offense as the Utes ranked 35th in Def Rush Success Rate. They were exposed by the big play, ranking 117th in Def Rush Explosiveness, but getting the ability to cheat and stack the box will help mitigate the big run.