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Utah vs. BYU College Football Pick and Betting Analysis

9/17/11

BYU opened as a -6.5 home favorite over Utah but the money came in on the Utes bringing the number down to -4.5. Apparently bettors are more impressed with Utah and their losing effort at USC than BYU and their losing effort at Texas. Or, more likely, bettors are simply familiar with this once conference rivalry that was traditionally the last game of the year for both programs. Also known as the "Holy War".

That's no longer the case as BYU became an independent and Utah is now a member of the PAC-12, but long standing rivalries don't die easily. This game is still a huge one for both programs and we happen to agree with the line move here.

3 of the last 5 games between these two were decided by 3 points or less and 10 of the last 12 were decided by 7 or less. It doesn't get much closer than that. Not much has changed. The talent gap here is slim.

The BYU offense figured to be a force this year with 10 returning starters but that hasn't materialized. They scored just 14 and 16 in their first two games albeit against stiff competition, Ole Miss and Texas. Meanwhile, Utah not exactly lighting it up either, scoring 27 against Montana State and 14 against USC.

It's been the defense of both squads that's stepped up. Remember, The score of the Utah/USC game was 17-14 before that blocked field goal fiasco. So, in a game that looks to be shaping up as one where the defenses will have plenty to say, we're inclined to take any points available.

We preach regularly about not taking bad numbers. It's not advisable to play a game at +4.5 when you could have had +6.5. It won't make a difference in many cases, but it will make a difference often enough to have an impact on your bottom line. The sharps who played +6.5 will all cash their tickets when the favorite wins by 6 while you'll be ripping your losing ticket of +4.5 to shreds. Only playing when you can get the best number is a habit any sportsbettor that wants to be successful long term should have.

That being said, we'll lean towards Utah here as we think this one is close and could go either way. You just won't see us playing the game officially, unless we can get +6.5.

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