Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl NCAAF Betting Preview
For a couple of decades, BYU and Utah met each year in the “Holy War” rivalry. BYU won 19 of the first 21, but then Utah won nine of 12 until the rivalry was suspended last season. They take on each other once again in the Las Vegas Bowl this Saturday, December 19, at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time. Utah is favored to win by three points, and the over/under total is 54 points. Click here for NCAAF betting lines.
— Las Vegas Bowl (@LasVegasBowl) December 19, 2015
Why should you pick BYU (+3)?
BYU opened the season with a tough schedule, beating Boise State and Nebraska and losing to Michican and UCLA. Then the Cougars went on a five-game tear before falling at Missouri. They finished with two wins, including a rout of Utah State, 51-28 in a game where BYU trailed 21-10 but then ran off 28 straight points. That means that the Cougars have scored at least 50 points two games in a row. The 9-3 Cougars are 8-4 against the spread, and under head coach Bronco Mendenhall, who is set to leave town to coach Virginia next year, they are 6-4 straight up and against the spread in bowl games. If the Cougars are motivated to give Mendenhall a fine sendoff, it could be a big night for BYU.
Why should you pick Utah (-3)?
There was a time this season when Utah was mentioned in national title conversations, as they opened 6-0 and beat Oregon and Michigan. However, losses at USC and Arizona, and then to UCLA at home, knocked them out of CFP contention. They did beat Colorado in the regular season finale, 20-14, outrushing the Buffaloes 216-49 — even missing Devontae Booker, their leading tailback. They have gone 7-1 straight up and 6-2 against the spread in eight bowl games under head coach Kyle Whittingham. Last year, they also appeared in the Las Vegas Bowl and destroyed Colorado State 45-10.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
The Utes opened strong but then fell apart in the second half of the season, while BYU finished the season on an upward trajectory. Utah has the better running game, but their defense can be a bit porous against the past. I would pick Brigham Young here to win and cover, particularly given that this will be Coach Mendenhall’s last stand.