BYU Cougars vs. Baylor Bears Picks and Game Preview -- 10/16/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 3:30 p.m. ET, October 16, 2021
Venue: McLane Stadium, Waco, TX
Where to watch: ESPN

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Baylor -6
BetMGM: Baylor -6
Caesars: Baylor -6

Season record
No. 19 BYU: 5-1
Baylor: 5-1 (3-1 Big 12)

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BYU - Baylor preview and analysis


Recent form
BYU: lost 26-17 vs. Boise State on Oct. 9
Baylor: won 45-20 on Oct. 9

And just like that, the college football playoff hopes for the BYU Cougars are up in smoke.

An unreal loss to the Boise State Broncos at home last week has ended BYU's hopes of keeping the hopes of the Independent folks alive, dropping the Cougars to 19th in the country.

But after that tough loss to Boise State, the road doesn't get easier. BYU hits the road Saturday to take on a Baylor Bears team that is trying to find its way back to the top-25.

Things looked promising for BYU early on, going up 10-0 in the first quarter. The Cougars even had outgained the Broncos by 101 yards. The culprit? Four turnovers from BYU and a pedestrian showing from quarterback Jaren Hall allowed Boise State to stay in the game. The Broncos had 14 points off those turnovers in BYU’s first loss this season.

It didn't help that BYU turned away from the run game and only gave running back Tyler Allgeier 19 carries, but he had 73 yards and a touchdown. BYU has to remember that this isn't the Zach Wilson era anymore. They have to trust their running game more. Allgeier is more than capable of making that happen.

BYU's defense has carried them to this stellar start, and will need to do it again after Baylor's offense put up 525 yards in a 25-point home win over the West Virginia Mountaineers. Gerry Bohanon, who has yet to throw an interception this season, had a huge day through the air, throwing 336 yards and four touchdowns with Tyquan Thornton hauling in 187 yards and two touchdowns.

West Virginia had been a pesky opponent this season, so it was encouraging to see Baylor show signs of life on that side of the ball while also holding WVU's offense to 25 points and 362 total yards.

But BYU's pass defense is one of the top units in the country allowing 238 per game through the air. Over the last three games, BYU has been holding teams to 338 total yards per game with BYU coach Kalani Sitake putting an emphasis on that unit. But Baylor's defense has also defied the norm that is a Big 12 defense. Baylor has held opponents to 320 total yards and only 175 through the air. 

The bulk of the defensive issues have come off the ground (145.7 rushing YPG allowed), which is why we should expect BYU to use Allgeier more this week in this matchup.

Prediction


BYU has done a great job keeping Hall off the turf. The Cougars offensive line has allowed a total of six sacks this season, and if it turns into a ground game, you wonder how Baylor will transition. BYU also hasn't been on the road as much this season, and Baylor has never been an easy place to play. Bears will get it done and cover. Baylor by 13

Betting trends


BYU is 8-1 against the spread since 1992 against Big 12 opponents.

The under is 44-25 in BYU games since 1992 after two straight unders.

Baylor is 68-18 straight up since 1992 as a home favorite.

Statistical leaders


BYU:
Passing: Jaren Hall -- 863 yards, 8 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Tyler Allgeier -- 642 yards, 8 TD
Receiving: Gunner Romney -- 371 yards, 3 TD

Baylor:
Passing: Gerry Bohanon -- 1,332 yards, 11 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: Abram Smith -- 597 yards, 7 TD
Receiving: Tyquan Thornton -- 463 yards, 5 TD

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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