Sam Houston vs BYU Odds, Prediction: Fade Cougars in Big 12 Debut

Sam Houston vs BYU Odds, Prediction: Fade Cougars in Big 12 Debut article feature image

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Yates of Sam Houston.

Sam Houston vs BYU Odds

Saturday, September 2
10:15 p.m. ET
Sam Houston Odds
-110o / -110u
BYU Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

We head out to Provo, Utah, where we have a fascinating clash between the Sam Houston Bearkats and BYU Cougars.

This marks the first season the Bearkats will be participating at the FBS level, and they've created a lot of intrigue due to their defensive success at the FCS level.

Kalani Sitake's BYU team has a lot of questions after the key departures of quarterback Jaren Hall and leading receiver Puka Nacua.

Let's break down both of these teams and see if we can uncover a strong Sam Houston vs. BYU betting angle.

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Sam Houston Bearkats

How many active coaches throughout both the FBS and FCS have won a national championship at two different programs? Nick Saban is the obvious answer, but if you also said Kats' head coach K.C Keeler, you'd be correct.

All eyes are going to be on the Bearkats, mostly due to the intrigue of how they'll perform at the FBS level. With a lot of questions surrounding the offense, let's start by breaking down the backbone of this squad — the defense.

First and foremost, it's encouraging to see that this group ranks 21st in returning defensive production. That will be something to monitor as the weeks pass, but in this matchup, I think they should have success.

With Kedon Slovis taking the snaps for the Cougars, I'm confident in saying there will be opportunities for the Kats' defense to create Havoc and turnover-worthy plays.

The Kats' offense is a work in progress, although I think their style can have some success against BYU. The Cougars have a lot of returning production on both sides of the ball, but their defense finished 117th in Rushing Success Rate last season.

The Kats love to pound the rock and should be able to sustain drives as long as they protect the football.

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BYU Cougars

As someone who has notoriously faded Slovis throughout his career, I don't have much confidence that he'll be able to fill Hall's shoes. Slovis finished last season with 10 touchdown passes and nine interceptions for Pittsburgh and will need to do much better than that to get BYU to a bowl game.

However, BYU ranks 24th in returning offensive production despite the losses of Hall and Nacua. The receiver room is loaded with talent, notably Kody Epps, who averaged 11 yards per catch.

I think they'll be able to build an identity through the ground game, but this may not be the matchup to establish that. The Cougars landed two quality backs through the portal in Colorado's Deion Smith and UNLV's Aidan Robbins.

The defensive line needs to establish some sort of pass rush, as BYU finished an abysmal 124th in Havoc last season. Luckily, the Kats don't rely on their air attack, so that shouldn't play much of a factor in this matchup.

However, the rush defense wasn't much better. BYU did add a few pieces via the portal, and I think the returning pieces should gel a bit better with a fully healthy group.

Sam Houston vs BYU

Betting Pick & Prediction

I was astonished to see this large of a spread when this game opened earlier this summer. I realize this is Sam Houston's first FBS game, but this is not a typical FCS school.

I really like the Kats in this spot, and they should have some success against a porous BYU defense.

Sitake will get this defensive group in order, but it's going to take some time. I wouldn't be completely shocked if Slovis turned the ball over five times and Sam Houston won this game outright.

However, it's likely the Cougars will secure the win. So, give me the Kats here to keep things close.

Pick: Sam Houston +20 (Play to +18.5)

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