College Football Odds, Predictions, Picks for BYU vs. Washington State: Betting Value on Saturday’s Over/Under

College Football Odds, Predictions, Picks for BYU vs. Washington State: Betting Value on Saturday’s Over/Under article feature image
Credit:

Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Neil Pau’u (left) and Jaren Hall (right).

  • The BYU Cougars take on the Washington State Cougars on Saturday afternoon.
  • The Washington State sideline will look a bit different, as head coach Nick Rolovich and a number of assistance have been fired.
  • Check out Darin Gardner's full betting breakdown with odds and betting picks below.

BYU vs. Washington State Odds

Saturday, Oct. 23
3:30 p.m. ET
FS1
BYU Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-4.5
-105
56.5
-105o / -115u
-190
Washington State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+4.5
-115
56.5
-105o / -115u
+160
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Washington State has been at the forefront of the college football world during this week, as it parted ways with coach Nick Rolovich and four assistants for refusing to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

Because of that, defensive coordinator Jake Dickert will be serving as interim head coach for the foreseeable future and will get his first game on Saturday against BYU.

This circus came at a terrible time for the Cougars, as WSU had just happened to rattle off three straight wins in Pac-12 play. The season got off to an awful start, with a home loss to Utah State and a blowout loss to USC, but Washington State seemed to have taken a step forward.

On the other side, BYU comes in with two straight losses after a hot start to the year. The Cougars had started the year 5-0 with three victories over Pac-12 teams, but dropped two straight to Boise State and Baylor over the past two weeks.

This line opened as a pick’em, but now, the visitors are favored by 4.5 following the Rolovich news.

Will BYU be able to get back into the win column against a team facing so many distractions?


BYU Cougars

BYU Offense

BYU’s offense should be the strongest unit in this matchup. The highlight of the group has been its pass protection, which ranks first in the nation in PFF grade.

Left tackle Blake Freeland has been the most efficient pass blocker in the nation, with an incredibly high 96.2 PFF pass-blocking grade. Meanwhile, guard Connor Pay and guard James Empey’s pass-blocking grades each rank in the top six nationally, as well.

Having such a dominant offensive line has made quarterback Jaren Hall’s job much easier while taking over for now-NFL starter Zach Wilson. The Cougars rank 19th in expected points added (EPA) per pass and Hall has thrown just three turnover-worthy plays on 169 dropbacks, per PFF.

At receiver, the Cougars have a very talented trio with Gunner Romney, Puka Nacua and Neil Pau’u.

Pau’u has been the most heavily targeted pass catcher and has generated 21 first downs in six games, while Nacua has been the deep threat, with 21.1 yards per reception and an average depth of target of 18.1 yards, per PFF.

The BYU ground game had a rough go of it last week against Baylor, but still ranks 33rd in Sucess Rate overall. This Cougars’ offense has been very efficient in total this season and has a good matchup with this Washington State unit.


BYU Defense

While BYU has been able to rely on its offense, the defense hasn’t been as consistent. There really isn’t a significant strength or major red flag on this side of the ball, as the Cougars have largely been mediocre across the board.

In coverage, BYU ranks 57th in yards per attempt allowed and 78th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed.

The Cougars haven’t been able to find a go-to guy in the pass rush, with the team’s sack leader sitting at just 2.5 on the year.

BYU kicked off the year with four sacks against Arizona, but has generated just six sacks since then, including zero over the past two games.

While this unit hasn’t been an Achilles heel, it’s definitely not a strength, either.

If the BYU offense ever gets stagnant, it’s tough to rely on the defense to bail it out.

The must-have app for college football bettors

The best NCAAF betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Washington State Cougars

Washington State Offense

Overall, the Cougars’ offense hasn’t been impressive, despite the three-game win streak.

One area where it should have a clear edge is pass protection, where it ranks 11th in PFF pass-blocking grade and will be facing a BYU front that hasn’t been able to consistently get home.

At quarterback, Jayden de Laura has been an upgrade over Jarrett Guarantano, who started the year for the Cougars after transferring from Tennessee.

De Laura is tied for 49th in yards per attempt and has played well in back-to-back games against Oregon State and Stanford.

Overall, the Cougars rank just 78th in EPA per pass, but the arrow had been pointing up before this week’s news.

The ground game wasn’t featured very heavily in Rolovich’s run-and-shoot offense, with the Cougars entering this game ranked 120th in rushing rate. Considering its poor performance in run blocking grade and Rushing Success Rate, it’s not hard to see why.

Rolovich is an offensive guy, but he was not the play-caller on gameday for the Cougars. It started with offensive coordinator Brian Smith calling plays, but those duties were taken from him before the Cal game three weeks ago, which just happened to be when Washington State started to see its offense improve.

So who took over? Craig Stutzmann, who happens to be one of the four assistant coaches that were sent packing this week.

Stutzmann was the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach and it seemed like he had a very positive impact on this offense.

Without the head guy and Stutzmann, the brains behind this offense are now gone.


Washington State Defense

The summary of the BYU defense is that it doesn’t have any particular strengths and the same can be said for the home team’s defense.

It does rank relatively high in terms of Havoc, which has been aided by an ability to consistently get hands on the football in the passing game. The Cougars have four players on defense with three or more pass breakups and seven with at least two.

In edge defender Ron Stone Jr., the Cougars have a guy who makes plays all over the field. He leads the team in sacks and tackles for loss, is tied for the lead in pass breakups and is also tied for third in total tackles.

Where he’s excelled the most on a per-play basis is run defense, where his 89.7 grade leads all edge defenders in college football.

Overall, Washington State’s defense hasn’t been particularly effective. Just like BYU, it’s not killing this team by any means, but fans probably want a little bit more out of this unit.


BYU vs. Washington State Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how BYU and Washington State match up statistically:

BYU Offense vs. Washington State Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 33 113
Line Yards 90 94
Pass Success 32 94
Pass Blocking** 1 93
Big Play 34 96
Havoc 107 33
Finishing Drives 74 80
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Washington State Offense vs. BYU Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 86 78
Line Yards 86 54
Pass Success 63 90
Pass Blocking** 11 100
Big Play 12 58
Havoc 101 65
Finishing Drives 70 74
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 22 99
Coverage 23 79
Middle 8 70 67
SP+ Special Teams 102 43
Plays per Minute 85 94
Rush Rate 52.4% (80) 45.1% (120)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


BYU vs. Washington State Betting Pick

Rolovich’s departure should make an impact on how Washington State will perform in this contest and don’t underestimate the loss of the offensive play-caller as well, who seemed to have been a clear upgrade in his small sample of games.

It’s tempting to go with BYU here based on Washington State’s coaching turmoil, but the betting market has already factored that in, which was reflected in the line movement after the news was announced.

For me, it’s tough to justify BYU at this price and I have zero interest in backing Washington State right now.

Where I’m seeing an edge here is the total. I project this at 52.2, which is a decent edge on the current listing of 56.

Washington State plays incredibly slow, ranking 127th in seconds per play, with BYU ranking 82nd. The Cougars’ offense could really be impacted by this development and it’s not like it was firing on all cylinders beforehand.

The under on the Washington State team total may be worth a look as well, but I’ll go with the full-game under in this matchup in Pullman.

Pick: Under 56.5

How would you rate this article?