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The No. 13 BYU Cougars want to make a statement on Saturday when they face the UAB Blazers in the 2021 Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. The Cougars (10-2) were left out of a New Year's Six bowl even though they have a chance at their second consecutive 11-win season. That despite losing starting quarterback Zach Wilson, now with the NFL's Jets after being selected second overall in the draft. They beat two teams that won conference championships (Utah and Utah State) and lost to Big 12 champ Baylor and rival Boise State. UAB (8-4) has one of the nation's best defenses but had an-up-and-down season that saw it win twice as an underdog but lose as a 13.5-point favorite. 

Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET. The Cougars are 6.5-point favorites in Caesars Sportsbook's latest BYU vs. UAB odds, while the over-under for total points scored is 54.5. Before making any UAB vs. BYU picks or Independence Bowl predictions, you need to see what the SportsLine Projection Model has to say.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times. Over the past five-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of almost $3,700 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread. It also enters the 2021-22 college football bowl season on a 43-29 run on all top-rated college football side picks. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has zeroed in on UAB vs. BYU and just locked in its coveted Independence Bowl picks and CFB predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see the model's picks. Here are the CFB odds and betting trends for BYU vs. UAB:  

  • UAB vs. BYU spread: Cougars -6.5 
  • UAB vs. BYU over-under: 54.5 points 
  • UAB vs. BYU money line: Blazers +210, Cougars -260 
  • UAB: It is 5-5 ATS in its last 10 against ranked opponents 
  • BYU: It is 4-6 ATS in its last 10 games at a neutral site

Why BYU can cover

BYU is 9-3-1 against the spread this season, and the combination of quarterback Jaren Hall and running back Tyler Allgeier has given the offense great balance. Hall has at least 275 passing yards in six of his seven starts since returning from injury in October. He has 20 TD passes and five interceptions. Allgeier is tied for most rushing TDs in the nation (20) and averages 5.7 yards per carry. The sophomore has 1,414 rushing yards and has caught 26 passes. Puka Nacua is the main healthy receiving option, and he is 17th in the nation in averaging 19 yards per catch.

The Cougars averaged 48.5 points over the final four games. The defense allows 24.3 points per game (49th in FBS) and has held seven opponents to 20 or fewer. It has 14 interceptions, with Jakob Robinson and Malik Moore each posting three. Linebackers Ben Bywater (93 tackles, one sack) and Max Tooley (one sack, one interception) are the leaders. BYU is 5-5 ATS in its past 10 bowl games, and it will be motivated after coach Kalani Sitake showed his loyalty after being wooed by Oregon. BYU crushed UCF 49-23 in the Boca Raton Bowl last year.

Why UAB can cover

UAB is 4-0 ATS when facing a team with a winning record this season. Its hopes rest on its defense, and it is a good one. The Blazers are 11th in the nation against the run (105 yards per game) and rank 16th in total yards (324). They have 19 takeaways, scoring on two of them, and have produced 31 sacks. Linebacker Alex Wright has six of those takedowns, and safety Grayson Cash has three interceptions, returning one 100 yards for a score. Linebacker Noah Wilder makes plays all over the field, posting 86 tackles, an interception and a half-sack.   

Offensively, the Blazers average 384.5 yards (78th in FBS) and 29.4 points (59th). They hope DeWayne McBride (1,188 yards, 12 TDs) is ready in time after he injured his ankle against UTEP. Jermaine Brown scored three times in that win, and the junior has 584 yards and seven TDs. QB Dylan Hopkins threw for two scores in the finale and has 2,085 yards, 15 TDs and six interceptions in 10 starts. He has home-run threats in receiver Trea Shropshire (nation-best 27.3 yards per catch) and tight end Gerrit Prince (20.5). The Blazers are 3-1 ATS as the underdog.

How to make UAB vs. BYU Independence Bowl picks

The model is projecting under on the point total, saying the teams will combine for 52 points. The model also has generated a point-spread pick that is hitting in over 60 percent of simulations. You can only get the model's BYU vs. UAB pick at SportsLine

So who wins Saturday's Independence Bowl 2021 matchup? And which side of the spread is hitting over 60 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side of the BYU vs. UAB spread to back Saturday, all from the advanced model on a 43-29 run on its top-rated college football picks, and find out.