BYU vs Utah State Odds, Picks, Predictions: How to Bet Thursday Night College Football (October 1)

BYU vs Utah State Odds, Picks, Predictions: How to Bet Thursday Night College Football (October 1) article feature image

Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Jaren Hall & Keanu Hill (BYU)

BYU vs Utah State Odds

Thursday, Sept. 29
8 p.m. ET
BYU Odds
-110o / -110u
Utah State Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

All eyes will be on BYU Thursday night, as one of the best independent teams in the country looks to make quick work of Utah State in a standalone game.

The Cougars are 3-1 on the season, with that one loss coming against a 13th-ranked Oregon team on the road. That loss took away much of the hype after the Cougars took down Baylor in Week 2.

Last week, BYU posted a convincing win over Wyoming, but it didn't come without a cost, as quite a few key players left the game with injury.

Meanwhile, the Aggies are in a bit of a tailspin after losing their third game in a row.

Now, nobody expected Utah State to go into Alabama and keep it close, but this Aggies team won the Mountain West last year — in convincing fashion. This year, they've found themselves losing 35-7 to Weber State of the FCS. They did lose some key players, but they rank 89th in return production.

What has happened to this Aggies squad? Is there any chance at all that they can get back on track? More importantly, can they do it on a short week against one of the most challenging independent programs in the country?

This will be the 91st meeting between the two programs in a series that dates back to 1922. BYU holds a 50-37-3 lead all-time and is currently on a two-game win streak. The teams play for the Old Wagon Wheel Trophy, created in 1948 by the Blue Key Fraternities at each school.

BYU Cougars

BYU comes into this game ranked 19th in the AP Poll after getting back on track against Wyoming last week. The Cougars may not have covered the 21-point spread, but quarterback Jaren Hall did earn the Manning Award Star of the Week, completing 81.3% of his passes for 337 yards and four touchdowns.

There were a lot of personnel changes against Wyoming on both sides of the ball and special teams.

The top five tacklers against Wyoming were all backups before the game, and their starting running back was fifth in rushing before the outing.

Keanu Hill led the team in receiving yards (160) vs. Wyoming despite having just 123 yards total in the first three games.

Backup kicker Justen Smith also came in to attempt the Cougars' only field goal attempt, which he made. Starting kicker Jake Oldroyd had missed his last three field goals, but still handled PATs against the Cowboys.

Unfortunately, a slew of injuries leaves many questions about who we will see for the Cougars this week.

Wide receiver Puka Nacua, offensive lineman Kingsley Suamataia, linebacker Payton Wilgar, defensive tackle Josh Larsen and safety Malik Moore all left the game with injuries.

With so many team changes and injuries, it's hard to gauge who we will see on any given play for the Cougars on Thursday night.

Two things are for sure, though: Hall is currently a top-20 QB in the country, and this coaching staff isn't afraid to make changes on the fly.

The Cougars proved their depth last week, and regardless of who's out there this week, I think they are far and away a better team than Utah State.

Utah State Aggies

Last year's Mountain West champs currently sit at 1-3 on the season and 0-1 in the conference after losing 34-24 to UNLV last week.

What has gone wrong?

Against the Rebels, one of the biggest problems was penalties. The Aggies finished the game with 11 penalties totaling 93 yards. Only five teams in the county are worse than the Aggies in regards to penalty yards per game. They currently rank 126th, averaging 87.7 penalty yards per game.

Utah State has been moving the ball well — averaging 366.3 yards per game — but it has been unable to get it done when it matters most.

The Aggies rank 113th nationally in third-down conversion percentage at just 28.89%. Against UNLV, they converted just 4-of-13 third downs. On fourth downs, they converted just two of five attempts last week and are converting just 40% on the season.

Finally, the Aggies are 116th in the country with a turnover margin of -1.3. Quarterback Logan Bonner has thrown eight interceptions on the season, while the team has three fumbles.

UNLV shut down the Aggies' running game, limiting them to just 96 yards on 32 rushes. That's something that a team who rushes on more than 53.9% of plays can't have two weeks in a row.

The Aggies' passing game can be productive if Bonner can limit turnovers. The offensive line has surrendered just three sacks on the season and gave up none against Alabama or UNLV.

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BYU vs Utah State Matchup Analysis

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

Utah State Offense vs. BYU Defense
Rush Success125101
Line Yards103106
Pass Success12030
Pass Blocking**35130
Finishing Drives123131
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

BYU Offense vs. Utah State Defense
Rush Success7678
Line Yards10421
Pass Success2393
Pass Blocking**2104
Finishing Drives73104
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling4949
PFF Coverage10263
SP+ Special Teams28101
Seconds per Play22.4 (14)26.1 (57)
Rush Rate53.9% (64)45.9% (106)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

BYU vs Utah State Betting Pick

Utah State is not a good team, but I think it can be. A lot of its most significant issues are mistakes that I believe can be fixed — penalties, turnovers, third-down conversions.

I'm just not sure the Aggies can fix it all this week, though.

However, despite our Action Network projections making BYU a 26-point favorite, I'm in no rush to back the Cougars. BYU will be moving a lot of players around trying to figure out what works best before it takes on Notre Dame in Las Vegas next week for the Shamrock Series.

These teams have struggled with Finishing Drives, ranking 73rd and 123rd, respectively. Meanwhile, both teams also average less than 74 plays per game.

If we can avoid Utah State turnovers deep in its own territory, I think this matchup stays under the total of 61.5.

Pick: Under 60 or Better

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