Daily Bet: BYU (-11 1/2) vs. Washington State

Just learned a new skill: How to type with tears pouring out of my eyes—tears of joy, that is, as the college football season is finally upon us! There are a handful of games on the board tonight—including UNLV hosting Minnesota at Sam Boyd Stadium (an 8 p.m. kickoff)—but the one I’m keying on is up in Provo, where BYU entertains Washington State.

This point spread has dropped a full two points since I recommended taking BYU in last week’s “Going for Broke” column in Vegas Seven. I’m not really that surprised the books have taken a lot of Washington State money (and no, notjust because I expected a mad rush to the counter to wager against my “best bet”). Many pundits expect Wazzu, which started to turn the corner last year, to make a big leap in 2012 thanks to the arrival of new coach Mike Leach (formerly of Texas Tech), and they see value in catching double digits tonight. I, too, believe Washington State could be a sleeper team this year—may even finish second to Oregon in the Pac-12 North. But I also believe it’s going to take a few games for Leach to get his high-flying, precision offense cranked up.

To that point, Washington State isn’t facing a Swiss-cheese defense tonight. BYU returns several key contributors to a stop unit that last year held nine of 13 opponents to 21 points or less. More importantly, the reverse matchup—BYU’s offense vs. Washington State’s defense—heavily favors the home team tonight. Washington State allowed at least 27 points in each of its final 10 games in 2011 (including more than 40 points four times). Conversely, BYU averaged 41.2 points over its final six regular-season games last year (going 5-1). Note also that BYU is on a 16-5 ATS run since mid-2010.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆

Wednesday’s Result: A’s (-135) at Indians (Win)

Record: 39-33

Today’s picks from the Aug. 23 “Going for Broke” column: BYU -13 1/2 (now -11 1/2) vs. Washington State; UNLV +9 1/2 (now +8 1/2) vs. Minnesota; Vanderbilt +7 (now +6 1/2) vs. South Carolina