Arizona vs BYU College Football Week 1 Free Pick & Odds

Posted by Jordan Walterss on September 1, 2016 in

Could Saturday be the final opener for BYU as an independent school? The Cougars are a leading candidate to join the Big 12 if that conference expands, and that could happen as soon as next year. BYU opens Saturday against Pac-12 foe Arizona with the shortest spread on the board in online college football betting for Saturday. It’s technically a neutral-site game.

How To Bet Arizona vs. BYU NCAA Football Odds & TV Info

When: Saturday, Sept. 3, 10:30 PM ET
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium Glendale, Ariz.
TV: Fox Sports 1
StreamPac-12 Live
RadioArizona / BYU
Opening NCAAF Lines: Arizona -1 (60.5)

Why Bet on Arizona?

After winning the New Mexico Bowl last year, which was the program’s fourth consecutive bowl trip for the first time in school history, Coach Rich Rodriguez was not satisfied with a 7-6 finish. He evaluated every aspect of the program from the top on down. His conclusion was changes needed to be made. RichRod made the difficult decision to part ways with longtime friend and defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel as well as a few others coaches who helped the Wildcats win 33 games in the first four seasons of the Rodriguez era – the most in a four-year span ever at Arizona. Arizona’s first-year defensive coordinator, Marcel Yates, has been acquainted to the BYU personnel the last two seasons when he was the coordinator for Boise State.

Who will start at quarterback for the Wildcats? Rodriguez might use two guys the entire game. While both Anu Solomon and Brandon Dawkins have been splitting first-team reps evenly throughout fall camp, it would be a surprise to see someone besides Solomon getting the start.

“I know we have two good ones, probably both ready to play,” quarterbacks coach Rod Smith said after the team’s final practice of fall camp.

Solomon finished the 2015 season with 6,460 career passing yards, which is fourth-most in school history, and 48 passing touchdowns, which is third-most all-time. He started 11 games in 2015, missing two due to injury and a few quarters of a couple of others. Missed time did not prevent him from improving his completion percentage (62.1 percent) and efficiency (146.98) numbers from a breakout freshman season. Solomon set a school record for most attempts to begin a season without an interception (210) and saw another program record of 233 overall attempts without a pick come to an end at Washington. Solomon is very mobile. At 6-foot- 3, Dawkins stands tall in the pocket, is athletic and has an impressive arm. Despite early nerves against ASU last year, Dawkins completed 16-of- 30 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns, but tossed two late interceptions that proved to be the difference. Arizona is 82-25- 5 all-time in the first game of the season, winning eight consecutive and 14 of the last 16

Why Bet on BYU?

This will be the head coaching debut of BYU’s Kelani Sitake. He replaces Bronco Mendenhall, who took the Virginia job. Sitake was Oregon State’s assistant head coach and defensive coordinator last season. Mendenhall coached 11 years at BYU, finishing with a record of 99-43. Sitake is one of 19 new FBS head coaches coaching in their first game. Sitake is just BYU’s fourth head coach since 1972.

Sitake’s first decision was to name sixth-year senior and 26-year- old Taysom Hill as his starting QB. This marks the fourth consecutive year that Hill has entered the season as the starter. He’s suffered a season-ending injury three times in his BYU career. On top of missing all of last season following his injury in the opener, Hill’s 2014 campaign was cut short after four games. Hill’s best season — a healthy one — came in 2013 when he completed 60% of his passes and finished with 2,938 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also ran for 1,344 yards and 10 scores. As Hill’s replacement last season, Tanner Mangum completed 60% of his passes for 3,377 yards and 23 touchdowns.

The Cougars are facing an opponent from the Pac-12 in a season opener for the fifth time since 2006. BYU faced Arizona in 2006 and 2007, Washington in 2010 and Washington State in 2012. BYU is 3-1 in season openers against the Pac-12 in that time span.

BYU and Arizona last faced off in the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl with the Wildcats picking up a 31-21 victory. The two teams have matched up 22 times. BYU is 9-12- 1 against Arizona, with an 0-1 record at a neutral site. The teams opened the season against each other in 2006 and 2007, splitting the opening games.

My Free Pick

Wildcats are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games in September.|
Wildcats are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games.
Cougars are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games on grass.
Cougars are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 vs. Pac-12.

Arguably the toughest game to call in Week 1 — hence the shortest line. Go with BYU in online NCAA football betting and the over.