In Saturday night’s rivalry game between Utah and BYU, we are likely to see an exciting matchup. Both teams have been consistent winners over the last few years, and both play in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area.
For this year’s matchup, Utah comes in ranked 21st while BYU is unranked. While the Cougars are unranked, they received votes in this week’s AP Top 25 poll and finished last season ranked 11th.
Last year’s Holy War game was canceled because of the pandemic, but this year’s battle is expected to be a hotly contested affair, as Utah is favored by only seven points.
Below, I go over how I think the game will play out and provide my Utah-BYU bet picks.
Utah vs BYU Best Bet: BYU (+225) at DraftKings
For in-depth analysis of this CFB bet of the day and others, continue reading.
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Utah vs BYU Prediction
One reason why Utah is favored on the road against BYU is the perception that they’ve played a tougher schedule over the last few years. Utah plays in the Pac-12 which is a Power Five conference, while BYU is an independent program that plays mainly cupcakes.
Last year, however, BYU played a full 12-game slate and had the 67th-toughest strength of schedule out of 127 FBS teams. By comparison, Utah had the 61st-strongest strength of schedule in their shortened five-game season. Despite facing comparable opposition, BYU went 11-1 while Utah was 3-2.
Another reason the Cougars are underdogs is that they are without last year’s quarterback Zach Wilson, who is now with the New York Jets. However, BYU returns most of their offensive line from an offense that averaged 43.5 points per game last year — third-most in the FBS.
BYU faces a stiff challenge against a Utah team that is appropriately ranked in the Top 25 to start the season. The Utes return 19 out of 22 starters this season, which is a sharp contrast to last year’s inexperienced team.
While Utah should give BYU a tough time, I believe that the Cougars are being overlooked in Saturday’s matchup.
Prediction: BYU 31, Utah 24
Utah vs BYU Best Bets
Best Bet: BYU Moneyline (+225) at DraftKings
Wager: 1 Unit
Before the NCAAF season started, sportsbooks offered +190 moneyline odds on BYU to beat Utah and I took them. With only one game played for both teams thus far, the Cougars have moved from a six-point underdog to a seven-point underdog. While this is because BYU had an underwhelming victory against Arizona in Week 1, that should not have changed the spread.
The Cougars have gotten a bad rap for playing an easy schedule, but the Utes have played pushovers as well in the Pac-12, which is arguably the weakest Power Five conference. With a strong offensive line at home as a heavy underdog, BYU could win.
At +225, BYU is worth a moneyline bet and I would bet them up to +175.
- Check out more of our CFB Week 2 Best Bets & Predictions
Best Bet: BYU +7.5 (-121) at BetRivers
Wager: 0.5 Units
The consensus spread on BYU for Saturday is +7. However, for only 11 more cents of juice, you can bet them to cover as 7.5-point underdogs at BetRivers.
Typically, I don’t like buying an extra half point in NCAAF games, but after consulting a few alternate line calculators I determined that 7.5 should be priced at -123 instead of -121.
Vegas has set a low total for Saturday’s game, which makes it hard for Utah to win by more than a touchdown. On the road against a tough Cougars team, I believe the Utes will have a hard time covering in what should be a close game.