Love them or hate them, the Boise State Broncos and their blue turf have been in some notable wagering games in the last few years, and it’s time to look at their prospects entering into the 2015 NCAAFB season.
O/U Win Total: 10 (-120)
To win the Mountain West: -300
To reach a New Year’s Bowl game: -120
Opener: September 4th vs. University of Washington -10.5
Head coach, Bryan Harsin, led the Broncos to a 12-2 record in his first year coaching the program in 2014. That record included the Broncos first outright Mountain West title, and a thrilling 38-30 win over the Arizona Wildcats in the Fiesta Bowl. That’s a pretty good follow up to Chris Petersen’s excellent 92-12 record from 2006 – 2013. They didn’t lose at home last year and have won 12 straight there, which is not surprising, as the Broncos have a 98-4 home record since 1999.
Sophomore Ryan Finley is the front-runner to take over the quarterback position in a squad that returns 16 starters, 8 on each side of the ball. The offensive line especially stands out as being experienced and should block well for the running back that wins the battle out of fall camp. This offensive line should also give the more inexperienced QB the half-second they always need to find an open receiver under pressure. The defense is known to be underrated, with defensive back Darian Thomas and defensive end Kamalei Correa being true NFL talents.
New Difference Makers
Sophomore Jeremy McNichols and Stanford transfer Kelsey Young take over running back duties this year. McNichols ran for an average of 9 yards per carry as a backup in the 2014 season. The experience offensive line should give him some good looks as the season wears on.
Since joining the Mountain West in 2011, the Broncos are 12-20 against the spread. This indicates they have been overvalued against the slightly higher level of competition in the Mountain West, versus their prior conference, the WAC. They did go 8-6 against the spread last year, so maybe bettors didn’t think new coach Harsin would have as much success as he did. The College Football odds open so far at Golden Nugget in Las Vegas have moved against the Broncos, suggesting that bettors are fading the team in their opener.
Sept. 4 Boise State minus-10.5 vs. Washington
Sept. 12 Boise State minus-2 at BYU
Sept. 25 Boise State minus-9 at Virginia
Oct. 10 Boise State minus-10.5 at Colorado State
Oct. 16 Boise State minus-5 at Utah State
Oct. 31 Boise State minus-28.5 at UNLV
I’m very interested in backing the Broncos with the line of BSU -2 at BYU. Even though the game is at BYU this year, Boise State was up 41-16 at half last year in this matchup. I don’t think that BYU has made the improvements, and Boise State steps back, to warrant this tight of a line – even thought the game is in Utah. Utah State is another team getting supreme home court handicapping at -5, even though they lost by 30 last year to the Broncos. Same trend applies, Boise State is a better team overall than last year so I find it hard to believe that Utah State can improve to a 4 touchdown clip to warrant this spread.
The O/U total of 10 is an interesting one, as the Broncos have the real chance to sweep their division games this year. That leaves the non-conference games of Washington and Virginia to decide the fate of this wager. In this case, we have a distinct motivation advantage with Boise State. If they are to get invited to a BCS game these power conference matchups are a must win. My free College Football pick is to go over the posted total, as I predict a 11-1 regular seasonrecord for the Broncos.