Baylor Bears vs. BYU Cougars Picks, Predictions, Odds

This will be the fourth time that the BYU Cougars and Baylor Bears have squared off. These teams did a home-and-home in 1983 and 1984 with the home team winning both games, but they didn’t meet on the gridiron again until last year. Baylor knocked off BYU 38-24 in Waco to keep homefield advantage immaculate in this series, and the Cougars will try do the same thing on Saturday night in Provo. This is the last game these teams will play as non-conference opponents, as BYU will join the Big 12 next year.

Updated on 04/13/2024
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Dave Aranda completed one of the biggest one-year turnarounds in college football history last season. Baylor went 2-7 in his first season at the helm in 2020, but the Bears roared back to life in 2021 by going 12-2 and winning the Big 12 Championship and the Sugar Bowl. They dominated Abilene Christian last week and will relish the role of underdog this week.

Score Prediction: Baylor 24, BYU 23
Best Bet: Baylor +3 (-110)


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Date: Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022
Matchup: Big 12 vs. Independent
Venue: Lavell Edwards Stadium
Location: Provo, Utah
Time-TV: ESPN, 10:15 p.m. ET


Shapen was efficient in limited action last week, completing 17 of 20 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns. He is a more accurate passer than Bohanon was under center, and that’s why Aranda tabbed him as the starter even though Bohanon was the main QB for Baylor’s title run last season.

The Bears carried the ball 41 times for 259 yards and seven touchdowns last week against FCS Albany. They aren’t going to have the same success against BYU’s defense this week, but they do have a senior-heavy offensive line led by Jacob Gall and Connor Galvin. Gall was a First Team All-Big 12 selection in 2021, and Galvin was an All-American, so they can hold their own against this front.

Tight end Ben Sims could be the difference maker in this game. Sims was Shapen’s favorite target last week with five catches for 37 yards, and he knows how to work his way open underneath. Shapen can take advantage of his speed on the perimeter too in a way that Bohanon couldn’t in 2021.

Baylor has a very good defensive line that should stifle BYU’s ground game. Apu Ika was a First Team All-Big 12 choice last year, and he is joined up front by two experienced players in Cole Maxwell and Jaxon Player. The question is if this back seven can keep Hall from making big throws, as that’s BYU biggest key to victory on Saturday night.



The South Florida Bulls were no match for BYU last week. The Cougars jumped out to a 38-0 lead before putting it in cruise control to win by 29 points. BYU had no problem covering the 11-point spread, and that performance is a big part of why the Cougars are favored this week.

Jaren Hall continues to impress under center, completing 25 of 32 passes for 261 yards with two touchdowns and an interception last week. He wasn’t too effective as a runner, but the Cougars ran the ball 37 times for 312 yards and three touchdowns, as their offensive line mauled the Bulls up front.

Four out of five starters along the offensive line return from last year, and the only newcomer is Kingsley SuamataiaClark Barrington and Blake Freeland are both solid, and they will look to open holes against this Baylor front seven.

BYU is bringing back nearly its entire defense from 2021. The Cougars have 14 of their top 15 tacklers from last year back, including Ben Bywater and Kaleb Hayes. They shut down former Baylor QB Gerry Bohanon last week but stopping Blake Shapen won’t be as easy.


  • Baylor is 5-1 ATS last six games.
  • Baylor is 5-0 SU last five games.
  • Baylor has gone UNDER the point total in five of its last six games.
  • Baylor is 4-2 ATS last six road games.
  • BYU is 3-6 ATS last nine games.
  • BYU is 16-2 SU last 18 home games.
  • BYU has gone OVER the point total in four of its last five home games.