Why UMass Is An Appealing 40-Point Underdog Against BYU

The Minutemen welcome BYU to Amherst on Senior Day

Wikimedia Commons

BYU (6-4) at UMass (1-10)

UMASS +40, O/U 69, Saturday, 12:00pm EST


  • It’s hard to imagine a Division I NCAA football team being much worse than UMass, but they did beat winless Akron earlier this season. 

  • Just about 24 hours to kickoff, UMass is listed as 40-point home underdogs against BYU in Week 13, and the over/under is listed at 69. Both of those numbers are an indictment of just how terrible the Minutemen defense is. 

  • 11 UMass seniors will be honored on Senior Day.

  • UMass ranks 130th out of 130 FBS schools in point differential at -33.8. The second-worst team (Bowling Green) is 6.6 points better than them. 

  • UMass is 1-10 ATS this season while BYU is 5-5 ATS. The over has gone 8-3 in UMass’ games while it’s gone 5-5 in BYU’s contests. 

  • Nonetheless, BetQL’s NCAA Football Model labels UMass +40 as the best bet in this matchup. Let’s explore why they're actually an appealing option.


BYU already knows what bowl game they’re playing in (the SoFi Hawaii Bowl). Although they’re on a four-game winning streak and are fully expected to win this game, they’re essentially playing it for no reason other than another “w” in the win column. It’s also worth mentioning that BYU beat Liberty and Idaho State in their last two games, but failed to cover a 17-point spread and 33.5-point spread, respectively. They’ve covered just two spreads in their last seven games, so this is no slam dunk, even against UMass.

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With a trip to Honolulu already booked, there have been rumblings (by multiple published sources) that this game will be treated as a “senior showcase” for NFL scouts and as a way to honor the team's most experienced players. Therefore, regardless of whether or not they’re at the top of the depth chart, the Cougars could elect to trot out seniors in their second-to-last regular-season game against an easy opponent (in order to inflate their stats, game film and overall memories of playing in a BYU uniform). That approach might not matter against a team like UMass, but it could also give the Minutemen a slight edge, since they’ll be taking the field on a special day. With a 40-point spread, any little edge could be the difference between a cover and a loss.


With a first-year head coach, very young and inexperienced roster, and general inconsistency on both ends of the ball, especially on defense, the Minutemen own the FBS’ worst point differential (-33.8 per game). However, it’ll be Senior Day at McGuirk Alumni Stadium on Saturday, as the program says goodbye to its upperclassmen while transitioning its focus to next year. You have to think that the team will want to honor the 11 seniors who have led the locker room through the transitions that the program has undergone in recent years. 

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But it’s worth hammering home just how awful UMass is. Their only victory of the season was over winless Akron and since then, they’ve lost 44-0, 69-21, 56-35, 63-21, 63-7 and 45-6. For context, Northwestern (2-8) just put up 45 points against them despite the fact that the Wildcats' starting QB completed just seven passes and threw two interceptions and no touchdowns. However, it’s hard not to at least consider a 40-point home dog. If UMass is able to score once or twice in front of their home fans, it’ll make it very difficult for BYU to cover.

Plus, look what UMass has set up for their raucous fan base before and during Senior Day:

  • Temporary tattoo station

  • Sam the Minuteman coloring station

  • 2019 Season Ticket Holder Gift pickup

  • UMass Football blanket giveaway

If a Sam the Minuteman coloring station doesn’t fire them up, nothing will, am I right?


BetQL’s NCAA Football algorithm labels UMass +40 as the best bet, as well as over the 69 point total

Our NCAA Football Model went 183-98-43 across all Week 12 bets (65.1% win, +8.84 average return).Get in the action right now and check out all of our Week 13 best bets!