SAN JOSE STATE AT BYU 7:15 PM PACIFIC
This is more of a play against BYU than on San Jose State. Cougars’ offense troubles go much deeper than the quarterback position and Riley Nelson could be in his own personal ‘letdown spot’ after leading BYU to that comeback win over Utah State last week. Nelson is a transfer from USU who grew up in Logan, Utah. In fact, his family has deep roots and the area and Riley was viewed as something of a ‘turncoat’ when he transferred to BYU. The big comeback was as much of his ‘extended middle finger’ to the ‘haters’ in his home town as anything else. Now he has to lead the team against a lackluster opponent that won’t provide much motivation. Cougars have covered only 3 of their last 12 against WAC opponents and only 6 of their last 15 at Provo’s Lavell Edwards Stadium. They’ve got a much bigger game on deck against Pac 12 member Oregon State—that game also has recruiting implications since Oregon has a big Mormon population that the Coogs have traditionally targeted. Bottom line—I have no interest in laying 13 points with a team that averages only 18.2 PPG.
Bet San Jose State +13′ over BYU
UNLV AT NEVADA 4:00 PM PACIFIC
The Fremont Cannon will be on the line in this Silver State rivalry game but unfortunately these programs are too far apart to make it much of a contest. Bobby Hauck is a first rate coach and should make some improvement to the long suffering Rebels but it’s likely a year or two away. At this point he’s giving a lot of playing time to underclassmen which may pay dividends down the road but doesn’t help the situation now. Nevada ‘overscheduled’ early in the campaign facing Texas Tech, Oregon and Boise State on the road. The Wolfpack definitely didn’t embarrass themselves in a loss on Boise’s ‘Smurf Turf’ (covered as +27.5 dogs) and almost beat the Red Raiders outright, losing by 1 and covering easily as +16 dogs. Now they can come home and enjoy a monumental drop in class. UNLV struggles have been well documented—their win over Hawaii says more bad things about the Rainbows program than anything good about the Rebels. They are 2-2 ATS but were the beneficiaries of a merciful Wisconsin team in the opening game—the Badgers could have dropped triple digits on UNLV but let up in the second half. A 25 point home loss to 1-AA/FCS Southern Utah may be the most illustrative result of the year in terms of the status of the UNLV football program. This is also not going to be a situation where a vastly superior team goes easy on an overmatched in-state rival—these programs legitimately don’t like each other. Nevada is 21-6 ATS as a home favorite under Chris Ault and they’ve won and covered three straight against UNLV. The last time these teams played in Reno, Nevada won 63-28. It won’t be any better this time around.
Bet Nevada -20 over UNLV
WYOMING AT UTAH STATE 5:00 PM PACIFIC
Utah State’s program is improving but not to the point where they should be laying this price in a ‘sandwich game’ off that tough loss at BYU and with a road game at San Jose State on deck. Wyoming doesn’t have much of a program but if you follow Intermountain West football closely you’re aware that their constantly being ‘overlooked’ by superior opposition. Teams just don’t get ‘up’ for playing Wyoming and while they haven’t been able to cash this in for many straight up wins it has allowed them to cash a lot of tickets for their ‘financial backers’. Since 2009 the Cowboys are 13-7 ATS as an underdog and 9-4 ATS on the road. Utah State is 4-6 ATS as a favorite and 5-7 ATS at home during that timeframe. The Aggie program is headed in the right direction and has some nice talent, but the reality is that they’re 1-3 SU despite being competitive against some solid opponents including BYU and Auburn. Utah State may have superior skill position players, but the Cowboys have a very impressive true freshman QB in Brett Smith and top to bottom there’s not much of a disparity in terms of talent. Cowboys pull the outright upset and the points are a nice margin of error if they fall short.
Bet Wyoming +12′ over Utah State
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