Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:15 AM EST.
10:30 PM EST. Although the Utes won and covered as a 20½-point home favorite against North Dakota last Thursday night, they had their hands full with the Fighting Hawks. Utah struggled to move the ball early and was actually shut out in the first quarter. It was a very competitive 17-9 game at halftime and although the Utes pulled away late, they still needed an unnecessary touchdown with 2½-minutes to go just to cover the number. North Dakota might be one of the better Big Sky teams but that conference is barely a notch above a Division II team. In Week 1, North Dakota was brought in to be a cupcake for Utah but that nearly backfired, as the Fighting Hawks gave Utah more than they bargained for.
With two games already under their belts, you'd be hard pressed to find a more disappointing start to the season than that of the BYU Cougars. As a -37 point favorite in Week 1 against Portland State, an also ran in the Big Sky, BYU only managed to find the end zone twice in a 20-6 win. The pressure was already on by the time the Cougars' offense took the field last Saturday night against LSU and they were shutout in a high profile prime time game. That kind of performance will leave a lasting impression on this market.
They call this game the “Holy War” and it's for good reason. The coaching staffs for both teams have ties to both schools with some staff member having suited up for the rival side as a player. There are no surprises in a game like this. Last season, BYU was a three point pooch in Salt Lake City and lost the game when they missed a two-point conversion after they decided to go for the win instead of kicking the extra point to force overtime. At this time of the year, it's all about over and under-reactions and it looks like these two programs are headed in different directions, yet odds makers opened this game with the Cougars as a small home favorite. The market pounced on the Utes who are now three point chalk. Usually, we'll be the ones sticking with our general plan. Don't panic when teams look bad, don't crown teams after a big win, and in general, don't overreact to single-game results. We'll caution exactly that when it comes to BYU. They are wrongly being billed as the dog here and after competing for 60 minutes against the ferocious LSU defense last week, this one should appear in slow motion for the Cougars.
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#396 BYU +125 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.50)