BYU as league favorite? We're not buying it.

Jul 29, 2008 7:05 PM

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the sixth in a 10-week series running thru Aug. 26 focusing on season openers, betting strengths and weaknesses among the college football’s premier conferences. So clip and save.

by Mark Mayer | Brigham Young again was picked by the media as the preseason favorite to capture the Mountain West. Coming off a 6-6 season, we’re not quite buying it.

As for the MWC team of choice, Nevada-Las Vegas, prospects don’t look any better than last year’s 2-10. In fact, we highly recommend taking the under in projected regular season victories. The Hilton SuperBook has UNLV at 4½ (under -120, over at even money). We expect to see a new football coach before seeing 5.

Congratulations to any bettor that continued to play San Diego State over the projected points total. The Aztecs were a perfect 11-0 to the over. This year’s opening game opponent is Cal Poly, which is way over in SAT scores.

This week we will introduce one "100 percent trend" per school, courtesy of Mark Lawrence’s popular Black Book, and when you can apply it.

Air Force (9-4 SU, 8-4 ATS): The Falcons were everything you expect from a military institution – a disciplined +10 in takeaways and 66 percent covers. The 100 percenter: The Falcons are 0-7 ATS when favored by less than 17 against Navy. Air Force hosts Navy on Oct. 4.

Utah (9-4, 8-4): The Utes have a tasty nonconference menu (Utah State, Weber St. and Oregon St.) The Utes were 4-0 to the over outside MWC. The 100 percenter: Utah is 7-0 ATS off a bye week. The Utes have two weeks before it Nov. 1 contest at New Mexico.

UNLV (2-10, 3-8): The Rebels were 0-3 ATS outside the loop. The 100 percenter: (besides less than five wins) UNLV is 0-7 in second of back-to-back road games. That would be Sept. 13 at Arizona State after visiting Utah the previous week.

Wyoming (5-7, 3-9): The Cowboys will be a sacrificial lamb at Tennessee, but the schedule isn’t bad. The 100 percenter: Wyoming is 4-0 ATS on the road after scoring at least 35. That may be the case Sept. 20 at BYU with the Pokes off a home game with North Dakota St.

BYU (6-6, 6-5): When the Cougars were favored last year, the over covered all five times. This could be a Pac 10 rehearsal with games against UCLA, Washington and Washington St. The 100 percenter: The host in the New Mexico game is 0-6 ATS. It’s BYU on Oct. 11.

Colorado St (3-9, 4-7): The Rams were 1-6 SU as an underdog. Cal at Berkeley is not good, but hosting Houston and Sacramento State is. The 100 percenter: Again with New Mexico! The dog is 8-0 ATS. The Rams visit Los Lobos on Nov. 15 as a likely dog.

New Mexico (9-4, 7-5): Not a bad year considering the takeway/giveway edge of 0. The Lobos have both Texas A&M and Arizona coming to Albuquerque. The 100 percenter: An 0-4 ATS mark as dogs after scoring at least 35. It may be on Sept. 13 at Nebraska following Nicholls St.

TCU (8-5, 7-6): The Horned Frogs are tough at Fort Worth, going 6-1 ATS a year ago. Again, not a bad record considering a -7 in takeaways. The 100 percenter: TCU is a gaudy 7-0 ATS as home favorites of at least 7 in Mountain West Conference play. That edge could come into play Oct. 25 against Wyoming.

San Diego St (4-8, 4-7): State was 0-3 ATS outside the league. Up this year: Notre Dame, Idaho and San Jose St. The 100 percenter: The Aztecs are 0-4 ATS as dogs of 28 points or less in second of back-to-back games. Could be Nov. 8 at BYU after visiting Wyoming.

Next week: Pac 10.

Mountain West openers
Saturday, Aug 30
Utah State at UNLV
TCU at New Mexico
Cal Poly at San Diego St
Utah at Michigan
Ohio at Wyoming
Northern Iowa at BYU
Southern Utah at Air Force
Sunday, Aug 31
Colo St vs Colorado at Denver