Western Mich vs


at Boise
Fri, Dec 21
1:00 PM Pacific
Rotation: 219
Odds: BYU -12.5, Total: 52.5

Game Analysis

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Best Bet – *Under (52.5) – BYU  25  Western Michigan  19

Strong Opinion – Western Michigan (+12.5)

The weather will be calm in Boise today but that’s about the only thing favoring scoring. Both of these teams run their offense at a slow pace and Western Michigan’s offense is not nearly as good as it was the first two-thirds of the season with Jon Wassink at quarterback. Wassink averaged 7.8 yards per pass play against teams that would combine to allow just 6.2 yppp to an average quarterback. Backup Kaleb Eleby was not nearly as good in his 4 games at quarterback, as the freshman averaged 6.8 yppp while facing mostly bad defensive teams that would combine to allow 7.1 yppp to an average quarterback. The Broncos averaged only 26.8 points and 5.5 yppl in those final 4 games despite facing teams that would combine to allow 31 points and 6.2 yppl to an average attack.

BYU’s defense is very good against both the run and the pass and overall the Cougars have been 0.8 yards per play better than average (4.9 yppl allowed to teams that would combine to average 5.7 yppl against an average defense). The absence of leading pass-rusher Corbin Kaufusi (8.5 sacks) is a negative but his youngest brother Devin stepped in and recorded a sack in the one game that Corbin Kaufusi missed and the Cougars actually had more sacks in that game (against New Mexico State) than in any game this season, so perhaps Corbin’s absence will not be an issue – although I adjusted 0.7 points for the injury. Regardless, BYU’s defense is much better than a Western Michigan offense with Eleby at quarterback.

BYU turned to freshman quarterback Zach Wilson at mid-season and the offense really didn’t change much. Wilson’s compensated yards per pass play numbers are 0.2 yppp worse than original starter Tanner Mangum but he projects to throw fewer interceptions (he threw just 3 on 164 passes). Wilson has been 0.6 yards per pass play worse than average and the BYU rushing attack is mediocre, so the Cougars are 0.3 yppl worse than average offensively and averaged a modest 25.4 points per game.

Western Michigan’s defense is 0.6 yppl worse than average (6.2 yppl allowed to teams that would combine to average 5.6 yppl against an average team) but the Broncos weren’t much worse than average in compensated yards allowed. WMU has a tendency to give up big plays, which leads to fewer total plays run by their opponent. That is part of the reason why Western Michigan has an average play differential of +10.4 plays. BYU is projected to average 6.1 yards per play but the Cougars are projected to run only 59 plays (excluding spikes and kneel downs, which I take out of my stats) for a total of 362 yards. Western Michigan is projected to gain 327 yards at 4.7 yppl and the overall projection of 689 total yards does not justify the total being this high, even with the good weather, which I adjusted for. It also doesn’t hurt that BYU’s top two running backs are both listed as questionable today – although I just assumed both would play.

I’ll take the Under in a 1-Star Best Bet at 51 points or higher. The math model favors BYU by only 11 points and Western Michigan applies to my best Bowl situation – a 46-7-1 ATS subset of a 92-45-4 ATS contrary situation that is a perfect 8-0 the last 5 years. That’s good enough for me to consider Western Michigan a Strong Opinion at +11 or more.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Western Mich
  • BYU


  • Run Plays 41.9 35.2
  • Run Yards 204.4 173.8
  • YPRP 5.1 5.3


  • Pass Comp 18.1 16.6
  • Pass Att 29.6 27.0
  • Comp % 61.2% 61.3%
  • Pass Yards 240.0 227.1
  • Sacks 1.6 2.2
  • Sack Yards 9.0 13.6
  • Sack % 5.3% 7.5%
  • Pass Plays 31.2 29.2
  • Net Pass Yards 231.0 213.5
  • YPPP 7.4 7.3


  • Total Plays 73.1 64.4
  • Total Yards 444.4 400.9
  • YPPL 6.1 6.2


  • Int 0.7 0.7
  • Int % 2.5% 2.7%
  • Fumbles 0.9 0.7
  • Turnovers 1.6 1.5
  • Points 33.2 33.3
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