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Boise State at BYU

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Editor's note: Brian Edwards is off to a 3-0 start in Week 9. He cashed a pair of easy winners Tuesday with UL-Lafayette and the 'under' and was a winner again Thursday night. Check out his pay-if-it-wins-only selection for Boise State-BYU!

This week’s ESPN game on Friday night takes us to Provo where Brigham Young will take on Boise State. As of late Thursday afternoon, most betting shops had BYU (5-2 straight up, 4-3 against the spread) installed as a seven-point favorite with a total of 61 or 61.5.

Gamblers can back Boise State (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS) on the money line for a +240 payout (risk $100 to win $240). For first-half wagers, BYU is favored by four with a total of 31.

Bronco Mendenhall’s team has won four in a row while covering the number at a 3-1 clip. BYU knocked Houston from the unbeaten ranks with last Saturday’s 47-46 non-covering win as a 10-point road ‘chalk.’

Trailing 46-41 with 1:08 remaining, Taysom Hill found Skyler Ridley for an 11-yard scoring strike the proved to be the game winner. Hill completed 29-of-44 passes for 417 yards and four touchdowns, but he was also intercepted three times. The southpaw signal caller ran 34 times for 128 yards.

Jamaal Williams rushed for 83 yards and two TDs on 17 carries, but he left the game at one point with a hip pointer. Nevertheless, Williams is ‘probable’ vs. BSU. Cody Hoffman hauled in seven receptions for 156 yards and one TD in the win over Houston.

For the season, Hill has completed 50.6 percent of his throws for 1,680 yards with a 9/8 touchdown-to-interception ratio. However, we should point that his accuracy has vastly improved in recent weeks. In three of the last four games, Hill has had completion percentages of 73.7, 70.4 and 65.9. He has eight TD passes compared to four interceptions in the last three contests.

Hill has rushed for a team-high 772 yards and seven TDs, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. Williams has rushed for 626 yards and three TDs, averaging 5.0 YPC. Hoffman is the team’s leading receiver with 25 receptions for 467 yards and two TDs.

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Chris Petersen’s team lost senior QB Joe Southwick to a broken ankle on the first play from scrimmage in last Saturday’s 34-17 win over Nevada as a 23.5-point home ‘chalk.’ The 51 combined points dipped ‘under’ the 68.5-point total to end a five-game ‘over’ spree.

Southwick is out for the rest of the regular season. His back-up, junior Grant Hedrick is more of a dual-threat option than Southwick. Hedrick completed 15-of-18 throws for 150 yards against the Wolf Pack, but he made his presence felt with eight carries for 115 rushing yards and two scores.

Hedrick is averaging 12.8 YPC and has four rushing TDs. He has completed 30-of-37 passes for 264 yards with one TD and one interception. His favorite target will be WR Matt Miller, who has hauled in 42 receptions for 454 yards and two TDs. Also, Shane Williams-Rhodes has 45 catches for 396 yards and four TDs. BSU’s ground attack is led by Jay Ajayi, who has 766 rushing yards and 12 TDs. Ajayi averages 5.7 YPC. BYU has one bad loss that came in its season opener. Playing without Hoffman due to a hamstring strain, the Cougars dropped a 19-16 decision at Virginia. Their other loss came at home to arch-rival Utah by a 20-13 count. But BYU has convincing home wins over Texas (40-23) and Ga. Tech (38-20), in addition to solid road triumphs at Utah St. and at Houston.

Boise State lost at Washington in its season opener and then came up short in a 41-40 slugfest at undefeated Fresno St. The Broncos’ best win came at Utah State, but that was after Aggies’ star Chuckie Keeton went down with a season-ending injury in a loss to BYU the prior week.

The ‘over’ is 5-2 overall for BSU, 2-1 in its road assignments. The ‘under’ is 4-3 overall for BYU, 2-2 in its home games.

When these schools met on the smurf turf last season, Boise St. captured a 7-6 win in an ugly defensive struggle. The Cougars scored a TD with 3:37 remaining and Mendenhall opted to go for a two-point conversion that failed. Nevertheless, they took the cash as six-point underdogs.

During Petersen’s eight-year tenure, Boise St. has compiled a 4-2 spread record in six games as a road underdog. Meanwhile, Mendenhall has led BYU to a 25-19 ATS mark in 44 games as a home favorite on his watch.

Kickoff on ESPN is slated for 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Temperatures at kickoff could be in the low 60s but will fall into the 40s once the sun goes down.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--Missouri’s best cover corner E.J. Gaines is ‘questionable’ vs. South Carolina with a quad issue. Gaines missed the win over Florida, but the Gamecocks have a much more effective aerial attack.

--Although South Carolina QB Connor Shaw was able to do enough at Thursday’s practice to earn the back-up status for Saturday’s game at Missouri, Dylan Thompson will nonetheless get the starting nod and have every chance to go the distance. Thompson started in a 27-17 win at Clemson last year, throwing for 310 yards and three TDs without an interception.

--Maryland will be without its three best players Saturday vs. Clemson. QB C.J. Brown is ‘out’ with an ankle injury and therefore, Caleb Rowe will start under center. WRs Stefon Diggs and Deon Long went down with broken legs in a 34-10 loss at Wake Forest.

--Toledo might be without the nation’s third-leading rusher in RB David Fluellen for Saturday’s crucial MAC contest at Bowling Green. Fluellen, who has rushed for 999 yards, is ‘questionable’ with a sore back.

--On Friday, Kent St. QB Collin Reardon (10/4 TD-INT) was upgraded to ‘probable’ for Saturday’s home game vs. Buffalo.

  
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