Utah vs. BYU Odds & Picks: How to Bet This College Basketball Rivalry
Photo by Chris Gardner/ Getty Images. Pictured: Craig Smith (Utah)
Utah vs. BYU Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Although this rivalry is famous for their play on the football field, the basketball matchup has been highly competitive of late.
BYU leads the all-time series 13-8, including wins in the last two matchups.
Both teams come into Saturday’s contest trending in the right direction.
BYU is coming of its first marquee win of the season, taking down Creighton, 83-80, last Saturday.
Meanwhile, Utah has been red-hot in the month of December. The Utes took down No. 9 Arizona on December 1 to start a five-game winning streak.
After going 11-20 last season, Utah has drastically improved in Craig Smith’s second year at the helm.
Utah has been able to improve by returning 55.3% of its minutes from a year ago. Smith has been able to combine this experience with length and size (14th nationally in average height) to put together one of the most effective defensive units in the country.
This size has allowed Utah to protect the rim at an elite level, ranking 14th in Block% and fifth in 2P%.
Much of this interior defensive success has been led by Branden Carlson, who ranks 22nd nationally in Block% (10.1%).
Branden Carlson has been extremely impressive this season. At 7'0 he can do everything you are looking for in a modern big.
He is protecting the rim at a super high level & entered last night shooting the 3 ball at a 47.1% clip. pic.twitter.com/N96piNwEZV
— On The Clock (@OnThe_ClockBB) December 14, 2022
Carlson’s presence will be crucial against a BYU team that has been limited by injuries to its frontcourt.
Additionally, Carlson will see a lot of action at the rim, as BYU ranks 327th in 3-point shooting, making just 28.6% of its outside shots.
Utah will not give BYU a lot of opportunities to improve these shooting numbers, as the Utes rank sixth in the country in 3P% defense, allowing just 39.2% per game.
Look for Utah to make BYU earn every basket on the offensive end.
BYU’s season has been a rollercoaster through 12 games.
The Cougars have marquee wins against Dayton and Creighton, but have also lost to South Dakota and Utah Valley, who are both outside the top 120.
This up-and-down season has largely been a result of injuries.
The most important of these injuries has been to center Fousseyni Traore.
In our pregame chat, BYU HC Mark Pope says that Fousseyni Traore (lower body) will miss tonight’s game v. Western Oregon.
Atiki Ally Atiki
It's BYU's fifth different starting group; fourth in last four games.
— Greg Wrubell (@gregwrubell) December 16, 2022
Traore’s status will be important to monitor on Saturday. Without Traore, BYU will have a tough time stopping Carlson on both ends of the floor.
Additionally, BYU has been able to supplement its offense through an offense rebounding percentage that ranks 32nd nationally.
Most of these second attempts are created by Traore, who ranks 48th among all D-I players in offensive rebounding percentage (14.2%).
Another disadvantage the Cougars will have on Saturday night is with the turnover battle. BYU turns the ball over at an astonishing 22.4% rate, which is one of the highest in the nation.
As good as Utah has played defensively this season, BYU will have to drastically improve its turnover percentage in order to find any type of consistent success.
Utah vs. BYU Betting Pick
In a game that Utah lost at home last season, its large contingent of returning starters will be looking for revenge on Saturday night.
Even if Traore is able to give it a go on Saturday, Utah will still have a major defensive advantage against a BYU offense that has not shown any consistent efficiency on offense.
Look for Utah to force BYU to settle for outside shots, an area where the Cougars have struggled all season.
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