Baylor vs. BYU Prediction, Pick Against the Spread, and Latest Odds
Spread: Baylor - 6.5
Game Time: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
Where to Watch: ESPN
#19 BYU Record: 5-1, 3-3-0 ATS
Baylor Record: 5-1, 4-2-0 ATS
Baylor vs. BYU Prediction
The BYU Cougars have already faced a trio of power five conference teams this season when they took on Arizona, Utah, and Arizona State out of the PAC-12, and they won all three of those games and went 2-1 ATS. They will look to make it three in a row in that regard against power-five competition as they head to Big 12 country to take on the Baylor Bears on Saturday in Waco, Texas.
BYU enters on the heels of a frustrating 26-17 loss to Boise State in which the Cougars moved the football down the field much of the game against the Broncos defense but were victimized by costly mistakes and turnovers--two of which occurred deep inside BYU’s own side of the field and Boise State was able to capitalize. BYU outgained Boise State by 101 yards, and the Cougars were +2.2 yards per play better than the Broncos, but a -4 turnover margin did them in.
Quarterback Jaren Hall returned from a one-game injury absence and was solid throwing for 302 passing yards, but far too often, he and the BYU offense failed to finish drives with points.
Baylor has enjoyed a resurgent season under second-year head coach Dave Aranda, and they’ve done it mostly with defense. The Bears have surrendered just 20.5 points per game this season, and they’ve improved their defensive numbers across the board. The one area of concern so far for Baylor has been their offense which has been hit or miss at times. Still, the Bears offense had their best performance of the season hands down in their last game against West Virginia, routing the Mountaineers 45-20 thanks to QB Gerry Bohanon and his 336 passing yards with 4 Touchdowns in the victory to go along with 171 rushing yards at over 5 yards per carry against a defense that was pretty solid going into that game.
This is an odd scheduling spot for Baylor. The Bears are thinking of contending for a conference title. Yet, now they are being asked to step outside of their conference schedule for this week only against BYU with important Big 12 games on deck with Texas, TCU, and Oklahoma in their next three games. How important is this game to them? I know it’s very important for BYU, who relish these opportunities to step up in class and face teams that are in power five conferences. The Cougars likely also wouldn’t mind using this game as a job interview of sorts for potential recruitment of the BYU Football program to the Big 12 conference at some point in the future. A great performance by BYU in this game could enhance the interest of the Big 12 to include BYU in their realignment and expansion plans.
In terms of the matchups on the field, Baylor is still a run-first offense even though Bohanon is coming off his best passing game of the season, and BYU’s stout run defense is allowing just 128 yards per game on the ground and only 3.5 yards per carry and that could be trouble for Baylor’s offense here.
Baylor’s defense has been great, but they have not faced many dual-threat, mobile quarterbacks yet this season. They’ll get one here in BYU Quarterback Jaren Hall. It’s worth noting that BYU is 4-0 ATS in their last four tries as underdogs and 5-0 ATS in their previous five games against the Big 12. I think BYU keeps this game close throughout and challenges to win outright, and we get the benefit of a very misleading final score for BYU in their loss to Boise State last week which provides us with added line value to back the Cougars.