BYU vs. Liberty Odds, Picks: Bet This Saturday Afternoon Team Total

BYU vs. Liberty Odds, Picks: Bet This Saturday Afternoon Team Total article feature image

Via Icon Sportswire/Getty Images. Pictured: Charlie Brewer (Liberty)

  • BYU heads east to take on Liberty in a Week 8 afternoon college football matchup.
  • The Flames are set to see the return of quarterback Charlie Brewer in some capacity after suffering an injury in the season opener.
  • Check out Cody Goggin's full betting guide and pick for BYU vs. Liberty below.

BYU vs. Liberty Odds

Saturday, Oct. 22
3:30 p.m. ET
BYU Odds
-115o / -105u
Liberty Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Liberty and BYU will face off this week in an interesting battle between two FBS independent teams.

Liberty (6-1) has been impressive this season, with its only loss coming by a single point to Wake Forest on the road. The Flames have easily dispatched their other opponents, albeit while playing a relatively weak schedule.

This week though, Liberty may have an injection of life on the offensive side, as quarterback Charlie Brewer will likely play for the first time since Week 1.

This may be what the Flames need in order to pull off an upset at home.

The Cougars started off the year hot, but are now on a two-game skid, as they have fallen to 4-3. The Cougars' offense is getting healthier and is still lethal, but the defense has been their downfall, and it may continue to be this week.

BYU Cougars

Cougars Offense

BYU’s offense has been carrying the team this season. The unit ranks 52nd by SP+ and 51st in Offensive Success Rate, but the passing game has been electric.

The Cougars rank 22nd in Passing Success Rate, thanks in large part to quarterback Jaren Hall. Hall is averaging 0.21 EPA per drop back this season and has 14 passing touchdowns to just two interceptions.

The Cougars have two top-end receivers whom they have been without for much of the year. Puka Nacua and Gunner Romney have both had great careers playing for BYU, but haven’t been healthy at the same time for most of this season.

Romney was questionable last week, but was not able to make his return to the field. Nacua did end up playing and did not disappoint. He had eight receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown in the loss to Arkansas.

The biggest unknown for me in this game is how Liberty’s defense — which has stepped up this season — will perform against an offense at BYU’s level. There is a chance that BYU’s offense is just too good with the return of its wide receivers, and that will make the Liberty defense come back to Earth.

On the other side, this Liberty defense could be potentially really good, and we just haven’t had the chance to see this fully on display yet.

Cougars Defense

BYU’s defense has been brutally bad this season. The Cougars currently rank 115th in Defensive Success Rate and 125th in Success Rate against the run. Overall, the defense is currently ranked 82nd in the nation by SP+.

BYU is coming off of a game in which Arkansas dropped 52 points in Provo. These problems on defense haven’t been isolated, though. Bad offenses like Utah State and Wyoming have had some of their best games of the season against this team.

Liberty’s strength this season has been on the ground, which is BYU’s largest weakness. With a possible boost in the strength of Liberty’s passing game coming, this may be another rough game for a reeling BYU defense.

Liberty Flames

Flames Offense

The Liberty offense has struggled for much of this year. The unit ranks 94th in Success Rate and is 93rd in SP+.

However, this has been without starting quarterback Brewer. Brewer has been out since the Flames’ opener on Sept. 3 with a fracture in his hand.

The general thought — based on comments from Hugh Freeze last week — is that Brewer will return this week.

Brewer has had his struggles in the past, and this may not be a huge upgrade, but he does bring experience to the table and should be an improvement on what Liberty has produced this season on offense.

Facing off against a bad BYU defense, Liberty should have a chance to put some points on the board this weekend.

Flames Defense

The Flames haven’t played many good offenses this season, but their season numbers are impressive nonetheless.

The Flames rank ninth in Defensive Success Rate, 15th in Passing Success Rate Allowed and 14th defending the run. This unit is ranked 60th by SP+ against a low level of competition overall.

This defense has also graded out well when looking at PFF grades. PFF has this as the 29th-highest-graded defense, primarily driven by its 90.3 Run Defense Grade, which is tied for 10th in the country.

BYU’s strong passing offense will certainly be a challenge for Liberty, but it remains to be seen if the Flames can slow down an offense of this level.

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BYU vs. Liberty Matchup Analysis

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

BYU Offense vs. Liberty Defense
Rush Success11312
Line Yards8517
Pass Success2514
Pass Blocking**279
Finishing Drives8932
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Liberty Offense vs. BYU Defense
Rush Success98100
Line Yards93122
Pass Success11991
Pass Blocking**46121
Finishing Drives94123
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling6452
PFF Coverage7751
SP+ Special Teams110117
Seconds per Play25.8 (50)25.3 (36)
Rush Rate48.1% (97)57.6% (37)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

BYU vs. Liberty Betting Pick

For this reason, I lean toward a play on the total for this game, specifically on the Liberty side to avoid the uncertainty of the BYU offense matching up with the Liberty defense.

With Brewer back and against a bad BYU defense, Liberty should go over its team total of 25.5 points.

Liberty games are 4-3 to the over this season despite quarterback issues, and BYU games are 5-2 to the over. BYU’s opponents have gone over their team total in the Cougars' last five games. Additionally, Liberty has gone over its team total in five of its seven games this year.

I also don’t mind taking the over for the game, but taking this Liberty team total is a better bet.

Pick: Liberty Team Total Over 25.5 Points ⋅ Play to 26.5

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