College Football Odds & Betting Pick: BYU vs. Coastal Carolina Preview (Saturday, Dec. 5)

College Football Odds & Betting Pick: BYU vs. Coastal Carolina Preview (Saturday, Dec. 5) article feature image
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Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Reese White.

  • BYU is a double-digit favorite over Coastal Carolina in an impromptu game on Saturday afternoon.
  • The Chanticleers were supposed to play No. 25 Liberty on Saturday, which saw a spike in COVID-19 cases and had to cancel. On Thursday, BYU and Coastal finalized a game for just two days later.
  • Collin Wilson is backing BYU for a big win on the road, and he explains why.

BYU vs. Coastal Carolina Odds

BYU Odds -10.5 [BET NOW]
Coastal Carolina Odds +10.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -335/+255 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 61.5 [BET NOW]
Time Saturday, 5:30 p.m. ET
TV TBD
Odds as of Thursday afternoon and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today.

For years, college football programs have been scheduling games more than a decade in advance. For instance, BYU is set to play Stanford in September 2035. But in this season, any game can happen at any time.

Not happy with their current placement in the College Football Playoff rankings, the BYU Cougars have been looking for opponents to help leave an impression on the committee. So, when Coastal Carolina’s original opponent for this weekend, Liberty, had to cancel their game due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, the Cougars started talking with the Chanticleers to schedule a game for this Saturday.

The AAC should certainly take note of this development. Cincinnati and Tulsa are scheduled to play a meaningless conference game before a rematch in the AAC Championship. If BYU is willing to travel across the country to South Carolina, certainly the Cougars would entertain the idea of playing Cincy at Nippert Stadium.

BYU Cougars

BYU will take its 9-0 record to the East Coast. The Cougars’ schedule certainly looks strange, and non-believers would say too easy, but this unprecedented season has taken the old axiom of “You can only beat the team in front of you” to a whole new level.

The two closest games BYU played came in mid-October with a seven-point win over UTSA and a 17-point triumph over Houston. The skeptics would say those scores were too close, but both of those teams field Power Five talent.

BYU limited UTSA running back Sincere McCormick to just 42 rushing yards and held Houston wide receiver Marquez Stevenson to just a single catch on three targets.

The Cougars have allowed only one team (Houston) to score 21 points, and they’ve held six teams to 14 points or less. The offenses they’ve faced may not pass the sniff test, but there’s a lot to like about this unit. BYU is the 26th-best tackling team and ranks inside the top 15 in Finishing Drives, per Pro Football Focus.

It’s also worth noting that quarterback Zach Wilson has a very outside chance at winning the Heisman. The junior quarterback sits at +5000 to take home the award, but the advanced stats make a solid case for Wilson to be invited to New York for the ceremony. Wilson has 15 touchdowns against zero interceptions and boasts the top adjusted completion percentage in deep passing at 76.2%.

For comparison, Florida’s Kyle Trask and Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler rank right behind Wilson in adjusted completion percentage, but neither of them is above 66%.


Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

Bravo to Coastal Carolina.

The Chanticleers could have stayed idle in Week 14 before heading to Troy in a warm-up for the Sun Belt Championship game on Dec. 19, but instead, they went searching for a challenge against the undefeated Cougars.

The Chants’ path to success begins with quarterback Grayson McCall. The true freshman leads an offense that ranks ninth in Passing Success Rate and 11th in pass explosiveness. Coastal is also the third-best offense in terms of third-down conversion rate and the 10th-best unit at Finishing Drives. The Chanticleers have scored 35 touchdowns in their 41 trips to the red zone this season.

Coastal’s defense has done its job, but it has not been as efficient as the offense. The Chanticleers rank 86th in Line Yards and 61st in Defensive Rushing Success Rate, so a good ground game can exploit Coastal Carolina.

In a three-point victory over Louisiana, the Chants allowed an average of 7.9 yards per carry on 30 attempts. More importantly, Louisiana has a Success Rate of 57% on running plays and 58% in standard downs. Appalachian State also gave Coastal Carolina a scare, as the Mountaineers posted a 63% Success Rate in standard downs and 58% in running attempts.

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As mentioned above, Coastal Carolina can be exposed against a strong ground attack that limits the Chanticleers’ possessions.

The Cougars boast one of the best rushing attacks in the nation, ranking 20th in Line yards and ninth in Offensive Rushing Success Rate. Tyler Allgeier averages 4.85 yards after contact, which should stand out against a defense that ranks 82nd in tackling.

BYU’s statistical profile also suggests that it can get big stops against McCall on third down. The Cougars rank inside the top 25 in third-down conversion rate, though they are middle of the pack with an average distance of 7.1 yards.  BYU should also provide a challenge if the Chants get inside the red zone, as the Cougars have allowed just nine red-zone touchdowns in nine games.

I think the stylistic and statistical matchup really favors BYU in this contest. Coastal runs the ball on 64% of its plays, and that plays right into the strengths of the Cougar defense. The opposite is true when BYU has the ball, as the Cougars’ ground game sets up well against Coastal’s leaky rush defense. Throw in a massive difference in special teams play, and the Cougars are the side to play in this College Football Playoff knockout game.

Pick: BYU -10 or better.

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