BYU Cougars (8-4 SU, 9-3 ATS) vs Wyoming Cowboys (8-5 SU, 8-5 ATS)
Odds: Wyoming +10, 57.5
BYU vs Wyoming Poinsettia Bowl Prediction by Documented Handicapper: Toby Blair
The BYU Cougars will square off vs the Wyoming Cowboys in the San Diego County Poinsettia Bowl on from Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, CA. BYU recovered from a slow start to the 2016 season to go 7-3 SU in their final 10 regular season games. Wyoming had a decent season but losing the final two games put a damper on their 2016 campaign. The Cowboys lost to San Diego State for the Mountain West Conference Championship.
BYU will be without their starting QB as a hyperextended elbow will keep Taysom Hill out of this game. Tanner Mangum will be taking the snaps for the Cougars in this game which will mark only his 4th appearance on the season. However, last season when he filled in for an injured Hill, Mangum threw 23 touchdowns to 10 interceptions and hit on 59.9 percent of his passes for 3,377 yards.
You can expect the Cougars to rely on RB Jamaal Williams who had a great season, racking up 1165 rushing yards with 11 touchdowns in nine games played. Wyoming’s defense is suspect and it should make things a tad easier for Magnum and Williams.
Wyoming was lead by sophomore QB Josh Allen who threw for 2,996 yards 26 TD’s to 13 INT’s. The Cowboys biggest weapon comes on the ground in the dangerous Brian Hill who rushed for 1767 yards and 21 touchdowns. Hill averages 5.5 yards per carry after carrying the rock 323 times this season.
The BYU defense is very good and they allowed only 108 rushing yards per game which ranked them 9th in the nation. This is an intriguing matchup and if Hill can crack the BYU defense you can expect Wyoming to feed him the rock and wear down this Cougars defense. Wyoming averaged 37 PPG which ranked them 22nd in the nation but besides Boise State and San Diego State, they haven’t faced a defense as stout as BYU.
The key number for Wyoming and RB Brian Hill is 125 rushing yards. Wyoming is (7-1) when Hill rushes for 125 yards or more and when the opposing defense holds Hill in check for less than 125 yards the Cowboys are (1-4).
This line opened up at BYU -7.5 or -8 depending on your book. Current odds have the Cougars as -10 point favorites which shows you the public is backing BYU. I think +10 is too many points for an underated Wyoming team. The Cowboys didn’t finish the season strong but with 16 days off this will really benefit RB Brian Hill. BYU has a much better defense but BYU is just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 non-conference games and Wyoming is 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games overall.
I think the Cowboys feed the rock to Hill and get him going early and often knowing the outcome rests on his shoulders. If Hill can open up the passing lanes then Wyoming can utilize their other offensive weapons such as WR Tanner Gentry who accumulated over 1200 receiving yards this season.