College Football Week 1 Arizona Vs BYU Expert Picks
The BYU Cougars will look to pull off the upset as slight road dogs against an Arizona Wildcats team that will be looking to improve on its completely underwhelming 2-15 season. Can the Cougars reach the double-digit win mark after falling just short last season?
Will the Wildcats get back to being legitimate Pac-12 conference title contenders at the very least in 2016? More importantly, which team is going to get the SU and ATS victory in this ‘under the radar’ regular season opener? Let’s find out now about the latest online college football odds!
Analyzing The College Football Week 1 Wildcats Vs Cougars Expert Picks
When: Saturday, September 3 at 10:30 PM ET
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ
Live Stream: FOX Sports GO
NCAAF Odds: Arizona -1.5
Bet The BYU Cougars at +1.5 Because…
The BYU Cougars are a good bet because they have two elite quarterbacks and an explosive offense! After 11 years in Provo, change is taking place at BYU (9-4 SU, 8-5 ATS) as new head coach Kalani Sitake takes over at his alma mater for longtime head coach Bronco Mendenhall.
The Cougars have seven returning starters from an offense that ranked 40th in scoring nationally (33.6 ppg), including gifted quarterback Tanner Magnum, a player that became an instant star as a freshman by passing for 3,377 yards and 23 touchdowns and leading the Cougars to thrilling come-from-behind victories over Nebraska and Boise State with last-minute TD passes in his first two games.
While Magnum will have to fight off former starter Taysom Hill, that’s a pleasant problem any head coach would love to have. Whoever starts under center will hand off to a gifted running back in Jamaal Williams, a player that rushed for 1,233 yards in 12 games in 2013 in his last full season of action. The bad news is that BYU lost its top two receivers from last season, although backups-turned starters, Nick Kurtz and Mitchell Juergens combined for 76 catches last season. Not only that, but the Cougars have several question marks on the offensive line and could have as many as three new starters.
Defensively, the Cougars return eight starters but must replace two starters on the d-line and two experienced linebackers. Former running back Harvey Langi will take over as the new starting linebacker while another former back, Francis Bernard is schedule to play significant minutes on the outside. Not only that, but the Cougars need their young defensive backs to step up in a hurry this coming season with at least one freshman schedule to start at cornerback.
Bet The Arizona Wildcats at -1.5 Because…
The Wildcats are a good bet because they’re playing at home and have plenty of talent, not to mention some season-opening desperation! Arizona (7-6 SU, 6-7 ATS) was fantastic on offense in 2015, ranking 20th nationally in scoring (37.3 ppg).
The Wildcats return seven starters on offense, but need two players, who starred in 2014 to get back to their former success after struggling mightily last season in quarterback Anu Solomon and running back Nick Wilson. Solomon was sidelined twice with concussions last season and dropped from 3,793 passing yards as a freshman in 2014 to 2,667 yards last season. Wilson rushed for a stellar 1,375 yards as a freshman in 2014, but rushed for just 729 yards as a sophomore last season.
Solomon will need receivers Trey Griffey, Samajie Grant and Nate Phillips to step up in a big was after the Wildcats lost their two starting wideouts from a year ago. Three starters return on the offensive line, including junior tackles Layth Friekh and Gerhard de Beer, a pair that both look like future NFL performers.
The bad news is that Arizona will be starting over on defense after head coach Rich Rodriguez fired his entire defensive staff and hired former Boise State defensive coordinator Marcel Yates to take over a unit that gave up a whopping 35.7 points per game to rank 107th in points allowed. The Wildcats need to find two new starters on the defensive line and two new linebackers, including a replacement for All-American Scooby Wright.
Arizona will count on senior graduate transfer Michael Barton, who made 80 tackles at Cal in 2014, to lead an inexperienced group that could struggle early on. More potential problems could come in the secondary with senior cornerback DaVonte Neal being the only experienced performer.
Expert Pick & Final Score Prediction
Arizona failed to cover the college football betting line in each of its final two games a year ago and I believe they’ll do so again by losing to BYU outright in a high-scoring affair in this Week 1 showdown. The Cougars went 3-2 ATS as an underdog last season while Arizona was just 3-3 ATS at home and an uninspiring 2-4 ATS in its last six games a year ago. I like BYU to get the road win and ATS cover!
My Pick: BYU 35 Arizona 31