Virginia vs BYU Odds, Picks: Saturday College Football Betting Preview (Oct. 30)

Virginia vs BYU Odds, Picks: Saturday College Football Betting Preview (Oct. 30) article feature image

Ryan Kelly, Getty. Brennan Armstrong throws a pass against Georgia Tech.

  • The Virginia Cavaliers travel to Provo, Utah, to take on the BYU Cougars.
  • Former BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall leads the Hoos, who boast one of the best passing offenses in the country.
  • Check out Darin Gardner's betting preview below, which includes odds, picks and predictions based on his analysis.

Virginia vs. BYU Odds

Saturday, Oct. 30
10:15 p.m. ET
Virginia Odds
-105o / -115u
BYU Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall returns to his old stomping grounds in Provo riding a four-game winning streak with the Cavaliers.

The former BYU coach dropped his first two games in conference play but has since earned four straight wins en route to a 6-2 record. The defense hasn't done much to help Virginia, but the offense has been more than capable of picking up the slack, eclipsing 30 points in all but one game.

Meanwhile, the home team is coming off a close win over Washington State last week. The victory ended a two-game slide after BYU started the year 5-0 with three wins over Pac-12 teams.

Sitting on a 6-2 record after losing such a significant amount of production from last year's team is an impressive feat for the Cougars.

BYU is a small favorite at home and will be looking to increase its record to 5-1 against Power Five teams this season. Virginia's defense isn't scaring anyone, but does BYU have what it takes to bottle up an explosive Cavaliers offense?

Virginia Cavaliers

Virginia Offense

Raise your hand if you had Virginia's offense marked as one of the best of the country going into the year. After eight weeks, Virginia ranks seventh in the nation in Expected Points Added (EPA) per play, largely due to a dominant passing attack.

Brennan Armstrong is one of the best quarterbacks in college football this season, ranking sixth in the nation in PFF grade and easily leading the country in the big-time throw metric. He's made 26 such throws, with the second-highest player in the country sitting on 22.

Armstrong also has some explosive weapons to throw to in this offense, highlighted by receiver Dontayvion Wicks. His 22.3 yards per catch leads all Power Five receivers, and his 16 deep receptions rank first in the country, per PFF.

There's also quarterback-turned-receiver Keytaon Thompson, who has been a big difference-maker through the air as well as in the backfield. He joins Wicks at the top of the national rankings in receiving yards, with Wicks coming in at sixth and Thompson 39th.

On the ground, Thompson has averaged 7.4 yards per carry, and his 87.9 rushing grade ranks fifth among all non-running backs with at least 10 attempts.

Virginia Defense

The Cavaliers have two losses this season and they allowed 96 combined points in those games. This group has struggled overall, ranking 97th in points allowed per drive.

Virginia's front seven hasn't been effective at all, ranking 104th in Pressure Rate in the pass rush and 93rd in EPA per carry in the run game. In last week's 48-40 win over Georgia Tech, it allowed seven explosive runs and 7.9 yards per carry.

In the secondary, the Cavaliers haven't had much to feel good about either, ranking 104th in Passing Success Rate Allowed. However, one bright spot has been safety Joey Blount in his fifth season of college football.

He's only been targeted 21 times on 225 coverage snaps — allowing 12 catches — and has graded as the 10th-best at his position. He likely would have been drafted if he had declared for the draft last season, but the Cavaliers have benefitted from him deciding to take a fifth year.

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BYU Cougars

BYU Offense

This Cougars offense is solid just about everywhere. The pass protection has been dominant, ranking second in PFF pass-blocking grade, with tackle Blake Freeland and center James Empey each leading the country in that metric at their respective positions.

The receiving corps has also been a big reason for BYU's success in the passing game, with Gunner Romney, Neil Pau'u and Puka Nacua all being heavily featured there. Nacua has been the most explosive option, with Pau'u being the go-to guy on third downs.

At quarterback, BYU has gotten solid play from Jaren Hall in his first year as a starter. His best attribute has been keeping the ball clean, ranking 11th-best in turnover-worthy play rate, per PFF, and he's been a threat on the ground as well. Overall, his 86.9 PFF grade ranks 16th at the position.

BYU Defense

Just like Virginia, BYU's offense has definitely outpaced the defense. It could be in for a long day against Armstrong and this explosive passing attack, considering it ranks 101st in Passing Success Rate allowed.

It's going to be a mismatch in the trenches as well, with Virginia ranking 25th in PFF pass-blocking grade and BYU ranking 107th in pass-rushing grade. To date, BYU doesn't have a player with three sacks or more.

BYU has been better against the run, but it still hasn't been great. It ranks 108th in Stuff Rate and 78th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and has been gashed on the ground in a few games, namely against Baylor and Utah.

Virginia vs. BYU Matchup Analysis

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

Virginia Offense vs. BYU Defense
Rush Success4778
Line Yards2150
Pass Success2101
Pass Blocking**25116
Big Play398
Finishing Drives2380
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

BYU Offense vs. Virginia Defense
Rush Success2767
Line Yards71100
Pass Success38104
Pass Blocking**2122
Big Play27108
Finishing Drives7647
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling2039
Middle 82866
SP+ Special Teams79116
Plays per Minute2882
Rush Rate38.3% (126)54.7% (66)

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

Virginia vs. BYU Betting Pick

There's no question that both offenses have the advantage here.  The gap between BYU's offense and defense isn't quite as big as Virginia's, but the Cavalier offense is the best unit in this contest. It's a very tight matchup, as evidenced by the three-point spread.

In my projections, I give BYU a 2.4-point home-field advantage, which results in a projected margin of 0.2 in favor of the home team.

As for where my money is for this game, I went with the over on the Virginia team total. I show a very small edge on the game total as well, with a projection of 65.4 and could easily see both offenses having big days here.

It's tough to trust either of these defenses to get stops, but one thing I'm very confident in is Virginia's ability to move the ball on a weak BYU pass defense.

Considering how team totals can vary between books, my cutoff point on this over would be 31 at -115.

Pick: Virginia Team Total Over 31

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