The Arizona Wildcats will host the Brigham Young University Cougars at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale on September 3rd. Here are the odds for people who like to do a little NCAA football betting:
BYU +1 (-110) 61½ (-110) EV
Arizona U -1 (-110) 61½ (-110) -120
The Wildcats could be said to have defied the expectations of fans betting on college football. In spite of a bad case of the injury bug (by the way, when is the CDC going to do something about that) that at one time or another affected 23 offensive and defensive starters, head coach Rich Rodriguez managed to lead Arizona to a 7-plus win season and a bowl appearance for the 4th time in his 4th year with the program – the Wildcats finished 7-6 (7-2 in PAC 12 play) and won the New Mexico Bowl 45-37 versus the Lobos. Heading towards the 2016 season, Arizona has had to think outside the box defensive-wise. Lacking the vaunted 6’6”, 300 lbs prototype, new defensive coordinator Marcel Yates has resorted to Parker Zellers, Justin Belknap, and Jack Banda – all three are undersized by most standards, but they comprise the core of the Wildcats’ defense. Zellers, standing 6’1” tall, will almost certainly start against BYU.
And speaking of the Cougars, they also have a new defensive coordinator (Illaisa Tuiaki). And a new offensive coordinator (Ty Detmer). And a new head coach (Kalani Sitake). So at the very least, NCAA football betting can expect BYU to have the element of surprise on its side. Seriously. Coach Rodriguez has even said that “it’s been really difficult — probably the most challenging (game) that I’ve had in a long, long time. They’re new in all three phases. You’re not exactly sure — or have any idea — what they’re going to do. There’s no spring game footage, nothing like that, that we can look at. We are really in the dark.”
Coach Sitake decided to throw a dog a bone and officially named his starting QB for the game: Taysom Hill. Hill suffered a season-ending lisfranc fracture during the 2015 opener and was granted a medical redshirt for the 2015 season, thus becoming eligible to play one final season in 2016. Hill is dangerous offensively, but also dangerously prone to injury – as a matter of fact, he has played only one full season with BYU. Then again, that season (2013) saw him complete 236 passes of 438 attempts (53.9%) for 2938 yards and 19 TDs. Fortunately for Cougars NCAA football betting fans, Sitake also has backup Tanner Mangum at his disposal. Literally the first thing Mangum did immediately after replacing Hill was throwing a 42-yard Hail Mary pass for a winning touchdown against Nebraska. Mangum went 267 of 446 for a 59.9 completion percentage in 2015, for 3377 passing yards and 23 touchdowns.
“They’re both really good players,” Rodriguez said of Hill and Mangum. “Obviously Taysom Hill is a great threat running, but so is Tanner. So we’ll prepare for both of ‘em.”