Liberty Flames vs. BYU Cougars: 11/9/2019 Free Pick

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Two schools that prefer running the football, Cougars of BYU (-17) are set to host the Liberty Flames at LaVell Edwards Stadium. This crucial conference game is scheduled to get going at 7:30 p.m. ET and spectators can tune in to the action on ESPNU.

Betting Preview: BYU Cougars vs. Liberty Flames

In this Saturday Independents (FBS) game, BYU is projected as the big favorite and the team’s currently giving up 17 points. If they want to play the moneyline, bettors would currently have to wager $1,400 in order to win $100 back on the Cougars (-1400). The Flames are getting +780 moneyline odds. Oddsmakers have determined the over/under (O/U) to be 58.5 points, and if one side can catch a lucky break early, it will likely create a decent live betting opportunity.

The sharp action is siding with the Flames. The opening line was initially set at -18 while the game’s over/under was originally 58.

The Flames are down 0.5 units so far and 4-5 against the spread (ATS). The team has posted an O/U mark of 4-5.

The Cougars have gained 1.6 units for moneyline bettors this season. They’re 4-4 ATS and have an O/U record of 5-3.

The Flames are 6-3 straight up (SU), including 2-0 SU against conference opponents. The Cougars are 4-4 SU overall and are also 0-0 SU in conference play.

These two IndFBS foes did not get a chance to play each other last season.

The Flames are coming off a resounding 63-21 victory over Massachusetts last week. The passing game was sharp as Stephen Calvert completed 20-of-27 passes for 474 yards and four touchdowns. Joshua Mack (85 yards on 15 rush attempts) and Frankie Hickson (99 yards on 14 carries, three TDs) led the running attack while Antonio Gandy-Golden (six receptions, 137 yards, one TD) and Demario Douglas (four catches, 85 yards, one TD) manned the receiving duties in the win.

BYU is coming off of a 42-14 win over Utah State. As a group, the Cougars collectively completed 23-of-33 passes for 418 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Jaren Hall went 12-for-16 for 214 yards while Baylor Romney was 10-of-16 for 191 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Sione Finau (72 yards on 15 rush attempts) and the signal-caller Hall (54 yards on seven carries, two TDs) led the running game as Lopini Katoa (four receptions, 129 yards) and Gunner Romney (four catches, 45 yards, one TD) led the pass-catching corps in the win.

Each of these squads has a remarkably similar (50-50) run-pass ratio on the season. The Flames have produced 144.4 rush yards per game (including 201.5 per game against Independents (FBS) opponents) and have 18 touchdowns on the ground this year. The Cougars are putting up 133.8 rushing yards per game and have 14 total rush TDs.

The Flames offense has logged 300.1 yards per contest through the air overall (330.5 per game against conference opposition) and has 21 passing scores so far. The Cougars have recorded 278.8 pass yards per contest and have 10 total pass TDs.

Liberty has allowed opponents to rush for an average of 196.1 yards and pass for 223 yards per game. The BYU D has given up 213.8 yards per game to opposing passers and 206.0 yards per game to opposing runners. The Cougars are allowing an adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) of just 5.71 to opposing QBs, while the Flames have given up a 6.22 ANY/A.

Offensively, Calvert has put up 2,394 passing yards this year. The signal-caller has completed 157-of-251 attempts with 19 scores through the air and only three interceptions. He’s got a pristine 9.35 adjusted net yards per pass attempt overall, although that number sits at 13.28 over the past two outings.

We’re expecting the Flames to control the pace by feeding their running backs early and often. Along with Antonio Gandy-Golden (1,014 yards, six TDs), Joshua Mack (472 rush yards, three rush TDs, 156 receiving yards) and Frankie Hickson (517 rush yards, six rush TDs, one receiving TD) have really been focal points in the Liberty offensive scheme.

For the home team, Baylor Romney has connected on 16-of-26 passes for 264 yards, two TDs and one INT. Romney’s ANY/A stands at 9.30 for the year and 9.98 over his past two outings.

The Cougars also prefer to leverage their backfield. Talon Shumway (214 receiving yards, one TD) has gotten involved lately, but Lopini Katoa (165 rush yards, one rush TD, 171 receiving yards) and Sione Finau (99 rush yards) have gotten quite a few touches lately.

Liberty Flames vs. BYU Cougars Bedding Prediction

SU Winner: BYU, ATS Winner: BYU, O/U: Over

Betting Notes

  • The Liberty defensive unit has three times as many sacks as BYU this year (27 to nine).
  • The BYU offense has lost six fumbles in 2019 while the Liberty offense has lost eight.
  • The Flames offense has produced 13 pass plays of 40 or more yards, while the Cougars have put up four such plays.
  • The Liberty defense has allowed eight pass plays of 40 yards or more, while BYU has given up three such plays.
  • The Liberty offense has created 12 rushing plays of 20 yards or more, while BYU has created eight such runs.
  • The Flames defense has allowed 13 rushing plays of 20 or more yards, while the Cougars have given up six such runs.
  • Liberty has won seven of its last eight games SU, with an October 26th defeat to Rutgers accounting for the only loss over that span.
  • Liberty has rushed for 5.1 yards per attempt over its last three games and 5.2 over its last two.
  • BYU has averaged 4.2 yards per carry over its last three outings and 4.4 over its last two.