Utah vs. BYU: College Football Predictions, Preview & Betting Tips
College Football kicks off next weekend and we have Utah vs. BYU College Football Predictions.
The opening weekend of the college football season will feature one of the nation’s most bitter rivalries as the BYU Cougars host the Utah Utes.
BYU will host the game on Thursday, August 29, at 10:15 EST. Bookmakers list Utah as a 4.5-point favorite on the road.
The rivalry between Utah and BYU is often referred to as the Holy War because both schools were founded by the LDS Church and have long been connected to the Mormon faith. The two schools frequently face one another in several sports and meet nearly every year on the gridiron.
Their football rivalry dates back to 1922 and has been dominated by the Utes for large stretches. Utah currently has an 8-game winning streak over BYU, including a 35-27 win last season.
The Cougars haven’t beaten their in-state rivals since 2009, so they’ll be hungry to finally get the best of the Utes.
It’s also worth noting that this will be the first time these two teams are meeting in a season opener in a century.
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Utah Utes Form
The Utes are usually one of the most consistent programs in the country, largely because head coach Kyle Whittingham is entering his 15th season in charge.
The Utes had a couple of rough seasons after moving to the Pac-12 in 2011, but the won the Pac-12 South Division last season, so it’s safe to say they’ve settled in.
Despite losing the Pac-12 Championship Game and the Holiday Bowl, Utah finished 9-5 in 2018 and has played in a bowl game in five straight seasons. They have big expectations heading into the 2019 season.
The Utes have quarterback Tyler Huntley coming after the senior missed the tail end of the 2018 season because of a broken collarbone. Huntley is a dangerous dual-threat quarterback who had the Utah offense humming in October last season before his injury.
Utah also returns running back Zack Moss, who has two 1,000-year seasons under his belt despite also missing the last month of the 2018 season. Between Huntley and Moss, the Utah rushing attack will be difficult to contain this year.
The Utah defense also has a chance to be one of the best in the Pac-12 this season. The defensive line has NFL-caliber talent at nearly every position and Penn State grad transfer Manny Bowen should help solidify the linebacker position despite losing a couple of key players from last year.
Utah’s secondary should also be solid, although depth could be an issue after the Utes lost both of last season’s safeties and had to shuffle a few players around this year.
BYU Cougars Form
BYU is about to begin an important football season, as head coach Kalani Sitake is entering his fourth season in Provo. The Cougars suffered through a dreadful 4-9 campaign in 2017 but bounced back last by going 7-6, including a win in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
However, the pressure is on Sitake to improve upon last year’s 7-6 record with his contract set to expire after the 2020 season. BYU’s problem is that they have a difficult schedule, particularly early in the season.
After playing Utah, the Cougars are set to face Tennessee, USC, and Washington in consecutive weeks. If they lose to Utah, it’s not hard to envision the Cougars starting the season 0-4.
Offensively, the Cougars will be led by sophomore quarterback Zach Wilson. The BYU offense got jump-started last year when Wilson was made the starter in October, so the Cougars are hoping he can lead them to new heights this season.
— BYU Cougars (@BYUCougars) August 15, 2019
Wilson completed nearly 66% of his passes with 12 touchdowns and only three interceptions in half a season as the starter. It was impressive efficiency for such a young quarterback, and with a full training camp as a start, Wilson could be poised for a big season in 2019.
He should also have plenty of support around him with grad transfer running back Ty’Son Williams in the backfield and wide receiver Gunner Romney possessing elite talent.
Defensively, BYU was one of the best teams in the country last season. If everyone is healthy, the Cougars will have as many as eight starters returning from that unit, putting them in good shape to replicate last year’s success on the side of the ball.
If there’s a weakness, it could be in the secondary, although the BYU defensive line should help to make up for some of the deficiencies on the back end.
Utah Utes vs. BYU Cougars Betting Trends
- BYU is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- BYU is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 August games.
- Utah is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 August games.
- Utah is 11-5 ATS in their last 16 road games.
- Road team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
- Utah is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings in Brigham Young.
Utah vs. BYU: College Football Predictions
This is a difficult game to call, especially as a College Football season-opener for both teams. The Utes are legitimate contenders in the Pac-12, but BYU also has the potential to be a top-25 team this season.
The Cougars should also get a little bit of an edge from playing at home. In the end, Utah should extend their winning streak over BYU. The Utes won last season’s meeting without Huntley and Moss, and getting those two players back will make a difference.
However, the BYU defense is no pushover and the offense has potential as well. The sport bookmakers are overlooking BYU a little bit with a 4.5-point spread.
Look for Utah to win the game, but only by a field goal, meaning the Cougars will lose the game but beat the spread.
Utah vs. BYU: College Football Predictions: BYU Cougars +4.5 (-101) @ BetOnline