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October 20, 2016

There is one pick tonight. Please scroll down to view the write-up.

Take BYU +7 spread against Boise State for 3% of the bankroll.

This is an interesting matchup as the 6-0 Boise State Broncos take on the 4-3 BYU Cougars. This game is being played in Boise on the Smurf Turf and the oddsmakers have made the Broncos a touchdown favorite in this matchup. While on the surface these odds may make sense having an undefeated home team square off against a near .500 team playing on the road, we believe there is much more to this matchup than the teams’ overall records dictate.

While Boise State is undefeated, the quality of their opposition must come into question. Their best win on the year has been a 3-point victory, at home, against the Washington State Cougars. In their most recent contest, they had a slow start, but managed to pull out a somewhat unimpressive victory over the lowly Colorado State Rams. This is a team that was projected to win the MWC and was to do so rather easily. Thus far, they have been somewhat underwhelming in our opinions. Meanwhile, the BYU Cougars have played (by far) the toughest schedule in the country, having played a 'murder's row' of top notch competition since the start of the season. They come into this matchup on a three game winning streak, having defeated both Toledo and Mississippi State at home, while notching an impressive win over Michigan State in East Lansing. Boise State will be another tough test for the Cougars, however there is no question that they have been used to this situation. Meanwhile, this will be undoubtedly the toughest test that the Broncos have faced this season and despite being at home, will be fortunate to keep their perfect record intact.

These two teams are similar in many ways, with both sporting explosive ground games with Jeremy McNichols leading the backfield for Boise State and Jamaal Williams and Taysom Hill for the Cougars. Both have quarterbacks who are capable of putting their team on their shoulders as Boise's Brett Rypien leads the MWC in passing yards and TDs, while Taysom Hill has shown, on more than one occasion this season, that he is capable of taking a game over and making plays with both his arm and his legs. The main difference between these two teams however has been their defenses. While BYU has been somewhat vulnerable to the pass, they have been able to slow down some rather potent offenses this season with their run-stopping front seven. What has been most impressive however has been their ability to create turnovers. The Cougars are +6 in turnover margin this season, having created 2 or more turnovers in all but two of their matchups. While they have been known to give up big plays at times, they do have ball-hawking linebackers and secondary players who flock to the ball. Their run stopping unit has also been trained to put their helmets on and try to rip at the football which has helped contribute to their ability to successfully force their opponents to put the ball on the ground.

While BYU has been dominant in the realm of forcing turnovers, that is something that the Boise State Broncos defense has not been able to do. Despite their ability to (somewhat) contain their opponent’s offense, they have not been proficient at being able to create their own opportunities on defense. The Broncos are just -2 in the turnover department this season and have managed to win the turnover battle in just a single game this season. That could certainly be bad news against a BYU team that has thrived on and won the turnover battle in every game this season with the exception of one. The Cougars have also made their opponents pay for their mistakes by being able to turn those costly turnovers into points. If BYU can force Boise State into mistakes and win the turnover battle yet again, they will have a great chance at ending their undefeated streak and coming away with a victory.

Let's not forget that BYU has been known to play in closely contested games this season. The average margin of victory in Cougars' games this season have been by just over 2 points and this matchup has all of the makings of another closely contested battle. While playing on the Smurf Turf is never an easy feat, the Cougars have shown that they are more than capable of beating nearly anyone that face and could certainly walk out of Boise with a victory. That being said, even if BYU falls short of the outright victory, they have proven their ability to keep within striking distance and we believe that will be the case again tonight. If Boise does manage to win this game, we expect it will be by the narrowest of margins in which the points will prove to be valuable. A touchdown cushion is simply too much to spot a team as dangerous as BYU. The value is on the road team in this contest.

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