The Texas Longhorns have climbed back to No. 7 in the AP Top 25 poll but face uncertainty at quarterback following an injury to star sophomore Quinn Ewers.
Can they overcome his absence? Oddsmakers seem to think so, pricing the Longhorns as 17.5-point favorites (-110) Saturday against Big 12 foe BYU. The Longhorns are also -950 on the moneyline, while the Cougars are +17.5 (-110) on the NCAA football line and +620 to pull off the upset. The projected total, meanwhile, is 50 (-110 Over, -110 Under).
To get you ready for kickoff, we break down the NCAAF matchup and dive into the BYU vs Texas betting odds.
Location: DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium; Austin, Texas
The BYU Cougars are 3-4 against the spread this NCAAF season and 6-12 over their last 18 games. The total has gone Over in five of BYU’s last six games, including five straight on the road. The Texas Longhorns are also 3-4 ATS this year. The total has gone Under in four of the Longhorns’ last five games. That’s important to remember when assessing the BYU vs Texas betting odds.
Uncertainty at QB Clouds Texas
The Texas Longhorns are expected to be without Quinn Ewers, who sprained his right throwing shoulder in Saturday’s 31-24 victory over Houston. Ewers was 23 of 29 passing for 211 yards and two touchdowns before being replaced by freshman Maalik Murphy late in the third quarter.
Ewers’ injury, which is likely to sideline him for multiple weeks, essentially wipes out his Heisman Trophy hopes. After climbing to +600 last month, third behind USC’s Caleb Williams and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., Ewers is now off the board across multiple sportsbooks.
Head coach Steve Sarkisian has yet to name a starting quarterback for Saturday, with some speculating that he could turn to prized freshman Arch Manning. Although Manning will get some first-team reps in practice this week, Sarkisian seemed to be leaning in favor of Murphy as of Monday. Be sure to monitor that when analyzing the BYU vs Texas betting odds.
Despite a strong performance from Ewers, the Longhorns struggled to shake Houston. CJ Baxter’s 16-yard touchdown run with 5:37 remaining broke a 24-24 tie and helped move the Longhorns to 6-1 on the season. A comfortable 23.5-point favorite, Texas failed to cover the spread for the second consecutive game.
The Longhorns climbed one spot to No. 7 in the AP poll, keeping them in the mix for the College Football Playoff. But after losing to rival Oklahoma, they’ll undoubtedly need to win the Big 12 Conference to even have a shot at qualifying. The Longhorns’ Big 12 odds are now +130, nearly identical to their preseason price of +110.
Texas has been among college football’s most productive offenses, averaging 468.4 yards and 34.4 points per game. The Longhorns have scored at least 30 points in all seven games per NCAAF scores. But Ewers’ injury obviously complicates matters. In three appearances this season, Murphy has thrown for 47 yards on eight attempts, the majority of which came in a blowout of Rice.
BYU Fighting to Distinguish Itself in Big 12
The BYU Cougars took care of business in Week 8, beating Texas Tech 27-14 to improve to 2-2 in Big 12 play and 5-2 overall on the season. A 3-point underdog, BYU jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to a defensive touchdown and wound up covering the spread for the second time in three games.
Former USC and Pittsburgh transfer Kedon Slovis threw for 127 yards and two touchdowns, his fifth time in six games with multiple scores. Although the Cougars rank 122nd in total offense (301.9 yards per game), they’ve made up for it by averaging 27.6 points. The Cougars have scored at least 27 points in five of their last six games, with the exception of a 44-11 loss to TCU on Oct. 14.
The Cougars need just one more victory to surpass their projected total of 5.5 and reach a bowl. They’ve appeared in five straight NCAAF bowl games under Kalani Sitake, including a 24-23 victory over SMU in last year’s New Mexico Bowl.
The Cougars aren’t going to win the Big 12 — their odds sit at +20000 — but they weren’t necessarily expected to on the heels of an 8-5 finish. The transition from independent play was always going to be challenging, and it’s been just that.
Handicapping the Game
This is a large spread, especially for a conference game. On top of that, Texas is without its No. 1 quarterback. While Murphy seemingly has the leg up to start in place of Ewers, he’s very much an unknown. Murphy attempted only two passes against Houston, though he did guide the Longhorns on what proved to be the game-winning drive.
Until Texas’ plans become clearer, it may be best to hedge against the Longhorns in this spot. Look for BYU to keep this within a couple scores. Consider taking the Cougars up to +17.