BYU Cougars vs. Washington State Cougars Picks and Game Preview - 10/23/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Martin Stadium, Pullman, WA
Where to watch: FS1

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: BYU -4.5
BetMGM: BYU -4
Caesars: BYU -4.5

Season record
BYU: 5-2
Washington State: 4-3 (3-2 Pac-12)

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BYU - Washington State preview and analysis


Last week
BYU: lost 38-24 at Baylor on Oct. 16
Washington State: won 34-31 vs. Stanford on Oct. 16

If this were any other week, the Washington State Cougars would be the pick here for the mild upset over the BYU Cougars.

But not even the red-hot Wazzu squad seems primed to overcome what could be a looming distraction with the firing of WSU head coach Nick Rolovich for refusing to comply with the state’s COVID-19 mandate.

As a result, the Cougars -- winners of three in a row after a 1-3 start -- have to welcome a tough BYU team to Pullman this weekend without their head coach.

Which is a shame, because Washington State has found a groove heading into Saturday with home wins over the Stanford Cardinal and Oregon State Beavers, while getting a road win over the California Golden Bears.

Sure, not the biggest wins (with the exception of Stanford) but considering where everything headed after their opening loss to the Utah State Aggies, the first half could be somewhat put in the rearview mirror. Washington State withstood a late two-score rally from Stanford thanks to a two-yard touchdown run for running back Max Borghi with 1:30 left.

Side note: That win over Oregon looks more weird by the minute.

Quarterback Jayden de Laura threw for 289 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, while Borghi ran for 89 yards on 17 carries to go along with two touchdowns.

This matchup with BYU will come down to which offense can make the most plays. The defense is not the issue with BYU, as evidence of its 5-0 start. But the Cougars have dropped two straight, including a bizarre home loss to the Boise State Broncos; not like the road loss to the Baylor Bears which was highly expected.

BYU quarterback Jaren Hall actually had one of his best games of the season from an efficiency point, throwing for 342 yards on 22 of 31 and a touchdown. Even receiver Puka Nacua had 168 yards and a touchdown on just five receptions. Problem was no help came after that. Star running back Tyler Allgeier carried only 15 times for 33 yards and a touchdown, and even top receiver Neil Pau was held to five receptions for 38 yards.

Prediction


BYU has hit a snag as of late, but we can’t help but think the distraction will not serve as fuel for Washington State. There’s a lot to like from what they’ve done the past three games, but the good run comes to an end. BYU by 10

Betting trends


BYU is 6-16 since 1992 when allowing 275 rushing yards or more in the previous game.

The under is 20-6 since 1992 when BYU allows 17 points or more in the first half in consecutive games.

Washington State is 5-1 ATS in its last six October games.

Statistical leaders


BYU:
Passing: Jaren Hall -- 1,205 yards, 9 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Tyler Allgeier -- 675 yards, 9 TD
Receiving: Gunner Romney -- 452 yards, 3 TD
Defense: Ben Bywater -- 58 tackles

Washington State:
Passing: Jayden de Laura -- 1,476 yards, 15 TD, 5 INT
Rushing: Max Borghi -- 421 yards, 5 TD
Receiving: Calvin Jackson Jr. -- 476 yards, 4 TD
Defense: Ron Stone Jr. -- 4 sacks

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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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