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Utah Utes at Brigham Young Cougars Betting Preview

There are few games on the schedule the opening weekend of the college football season with more at stake than the showdown between the No. 14 Utah Utes and the Brigham Young Cougars Thursday night. These are two bitter rivals who closed out the 2018 regular season against one another and are right back at it to open the 2019 season. On the road, the Utes are listed as six-point favorites with an over/under of 48 points.

The Cougars are trying to build off last year’s 7-6 season that ended with a bowl win. Coming off a 4-9 campaign in 2017, it was a big step forward for BYU, and now they’d like to take another step forward and establish themselves as a Top 25 team.

On the bright side, the Cougars will have a great opportunity to do that. The downside is their early-season schedule is as tough as any team in the country. After playing Utah, the Cougars play Tennessee, USC, and Washington, so a loss in their opener could quickly turn into four losses to begin the season.

As for Utah, they have to deal with lofty preseason expectations. The Utes won the Pac-12 South last year and are considered by many to be the favorites to win that division again. Some are even predicting Utah to challenge for a spot in the College Football Playoff. Of course, a loss in their opener would immediately change all of that.

Guess Who’s Back

The biggest reasons for Utah’s high expectations this season are quarterback Tyler Huntley and running back Zack Moss. Both players were absent late in the 2018 season, although that didn’t stop the Utes from wrapping up the Pac-12 South and playing in the conference title game. If those two can stay healthy all season, there could be no stopping Utah.

The Utes were on a four-game winning streak up until the game that Huntley was injured. He threw seven touchdowns to just two interceptions during that span and had the Utah offense playing at a high level. Moss, meanwhile, has rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of the last two seasons. He even got to that mark in just 10 games last year. The Utes are expecting to have a dominant rushing attack, especially with Huntley being a threat with his legs.

Catch You By Surprise

BYU is hoping to catch teams by surprise this season. The Cougars are hoping that sophomore quarterback Zach Wilson can take his game to the next level this year. He sparked an otherwise lackluster BYU offense when he became the starter in the middle of 2018. He could be a breakout candidate this year if he can build off that success.

The Cougars also have the pieces for a great defense. The BYU defense returns eight starters from last year and looks particularly stout on the defensive line. The Cougars were strong on defense last year, but if they could improve further in 2019, they have a chance to stay competitive with every team on their schedule, including Utah.

Keep the Tradition Alive

Despite the bitterness between these two rivals, Utah has turned it into a one-sided affair in recent years, winning eight straight games against BYU. In fairness, most of those games have been close, but a six-point spread is not unreasonable for the Utes. Bet on Utah beating BYU and covering the spread.

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