- A favorite on its blue turf in every home game in the 21st century up until now, how will Boise State fare as an underdog against Fresno State on Friday night?
Fresno State (-3) at Boise State
Fri. 11/9, 10:15 p.m. ET
Three things you need to know before betting on Fresno State-Boise State:
1. In a meeting between two of the Mountain West Conference’s best teams, Fresno State carries a four-game ATS winning streak into its meeting with Boise State. Last year, the Bulldogs beat the Broncos 28-17 as 6.5-point road underdogs when the teams met in the regular season. They then met again in the Mountain West championship game, where Boise State won 17-14 as a 9.5-point home favorite. But this year’s game has a bit of a different feel, as the Bulldogs are the ones that are coming in as the favorites. And it’s certainly deserved, as this Fresno State team has been remarkable all season. One thing to keep an eye on when looking at this one is the fact that the Bulldogs are a ridiculous 9-0 against the spread when facing opponents with a winning record since the start of last season. The team is also 18-5 straight up under current head coach Jeff Tedford, who has drastically improved the culture of the program.
2. On the year, Fresno State is allowing only 12.3 points per game—which is tied for the second-best mark in the nation. A big part of the reason this Bulldogs team is so tough to score on is its ball-hawking secondary. Not only has Fresno State allowed only eight passing touchdowns this season, but the team has also racked up 15 interceptions (second in FBS). And while Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien is typically a low-turnover signal-caller, the senior does have two games with multiple picks this season. Considering those performances came against San Diego State and Nevada, a far superior Fresno State defense should be able to force him to make at least one big mistake here. It’s not like the Broncos will be able to run all over the Bulldogs, either. This Fresno State team also has a top-30 FBS rushing defense, and Tedford will have his unit ready to prevent Boise running back Alexander Mattison from making big plays.
3. Fresno State quarterback Marcus McMaryion is the best playmaker that Boise State has faced all season. The senior has thrown for 2,416 yards with 20 touchdowns and only three picks on the year, and he has also added another seven touchdowns on the ground. The Broncos don’t have a bad defense, but stopping McMaryion and this Fresno State offense will be different than what Boise State is used to against most of its Mountain West rivals. McMaryion is a very accurate passer that isn’t going to make a lot of mistakes when throwing, but look for him to use his legs often in this one. And also keep an eye on Fresno State wide receiver KeeSean Johnson, who has hauled in 62 passes for 858 yards and six touchdowns this season. Johnson doesn’t garner much national attention for his play, but he is one of the best receivers in college football. McMaryion will be looking his way as much as he possibly can, and the senior wideout should show out here.
Pick: Fresno State -3
Confidence level: Very High (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)