BYU AT OREGON STATE—OCTOBER 15, 2011 1:00 PM PACIFIC
No reason to change my strategy of going against BYU here. The Cougars may be the least convincing 4-2 SU team in the country and even their pointspread record (2-4 ATS) is largely ‘done with mirrors’. BYU keeps doing enough to win games but not enough to cover pointspreads. This is a good situation for those of us who want to continue fading BYU—there hasn’t been a truly embarrassing result that would alert the public to the struggles of the Cougar program or cause linesmakers to ‘reevaluate’ the team.
Simply put, BYU had no business opening a road favorite against most opponents at this stage of the game and certainly not a Pac 12 foe like Oregon State. There may be some public perception that the starting quarterback switch with Riley Nelson taking over for Jake Heaps has ‘cured what ails’ BYU. That’s far from reality—Nelson may have been more productive in terms of gaining yardage and putting points on the board, but he’s also shown the same proclivity toward turning the ball over as his predecessor (two interceptions against San Jose State). SJSU doesn’t have much in the way of a defense, but the Cougars only passed for 219 yards against the Spartans. They did run the ball effectively, but that was more due to the disparity in athleticism between the teams as much as anything else. It’s unlikely that they’ll have the same effectiveness on the ground against Oregon State’s Pac 12 athletes.
Oregon State also has issues on the defensive side of the ball, but there’s a good chance that facing BYU’s 101st ranked scoring offense will help negate some of those liabilities. BYU has been a very mediocre pointspread team in most situations including a 7-9 ATS record against non-conference opponents. Obviously as an ‘Independent’ that’s all they’ll be facing this year but for our purposes handicapping this game you can still consider them a Mountain West Conference team which will make this a ‘step up in class’ facing a Pac 10 side.
Oregon State has been at their best in the month of October where they’ve covered 9 of their last 10 spots. The Beavers have the athletes and it looks like their getting their act together tactically. In any case, they’re good enough to beat a BYU team that isn’t as good as their 4-2 SU record would suggest. Beavers don’t need to get a margin at this price, just win the game.
Bet Oregon State -1 over BYU
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