Eagles Will Fly High In First Responder Bowl Against Boise State

Thursday, December 13, 2018 7:35 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018 7:35 PM UTC

Get the latest college football picks on Boston College vs. Boise State. The game from Dallas is on Wednesday, December 26 at 1:30 pm. ET on ESPN. Bet confidently with tips from SBRpicks.com

First Responder Bowl:Boston College (7-5 SU, 7-5 ATS) vs Boise State (10-3 SU, 7-5-1 ATS)Wednesday, Dec. 26, 1:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)Free NCAAF Pick: Eagles ATS and UnderBest Line Offered: Heritage

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The Eagles can call their season a success with a bowl win. Otherwise, they would end their season by losing four in a row. The Broncos are in an uncomfortable spot as the favored team. All of their non-covers have come when laying chalk.

How They Got Here

BC was 4-1 in ACC play before losing three straight conference games. They lost to Clemson, but inexplicably fell to Florida State and got blown out by Syracuse. Boise State endured a couple early hiccups before winning seven straight games including against ranked Utah State. Their season ended bitterly, in an overtime loss to Fresno State in the Mountain West title game. The Broncos are in a bad spot because bowl teams off an OT loss are 5-13 ATS in the past 10 seasons.

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Why Boise State Can Win/Cover

The Broncos rank top 25 in both scoring offense and scoring defense. Their offense is balanced with quarterback Brett Rypien and running back Alexander Mattison. Rypien is second in the Mountain West in passer rating behind Utah State’s Jordan Love. Mattison has rushed for 1,415 yards and 17 touchdowns. Boise State is 6-1 ATS when passing for 200+ and rushing for 100+ in the same game.

The Eagles' d-line ranks 95th in short yardage. It will struggle to stop Boise State’s rush attack especially on third and short. Mattison carried the ball 77 times in the past two games to help Boise State dominate time of possession. He averaged at least five YPC against Utah State and Fresno State’s top-30 run defense because he and his o-line wore them down.

Defensively, Boise State thrives at stopping the run. It allows 3.6 YPC, which ranks 29th. Its defensive line dominates in short-yardage situations, ranking 27th in power success rate.

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Why Boston College Can Win/Cover

Boston College’s rush attack will be uniquely difficult for Boise State. The Broncos faced five rush attacks in Mountain West that rank outside the top 70 in YPC. The other five were primarily offenses that either lacked a decent quarterback so that Boise State could crowd the line of scrimmage, pursued a very pass-heavy game plan, or both.

A.J. Dillon will be the second-best running back that the Broncos face. The first was Oklahoma State’s Justice Hill, who ran for 123 yards on 15 carries. Dillon has run for over 1,100 yards, averaging 4.9 YPC, despite missing a couple games. Quarterback Anthony Brown has thrown nine picks, six of which came against two teams that rank top-50 in interceptions. Boise State ranks 109th. Conversely, Boston College’s defense ranks fifth in interceptions. BC will win the turnover battle and keep feeding Dillon the ball.

Common Opponents/Series History

Boise State faced one Power 5 school. It got blown out 44-21 at Oklahoma State. Mattison was limited and Rypien could move the offense down the field but hardly yield points out of drives. OK State’s offense was balanced and scored at ease.

The Verdict

Boise State has gone "under“ in five straight games thanks to its proclivity for running and accruing time of possession. Even if Boise dominates possession, it will struggle to produce points in the red zone against BC’s 35th-best red zone defense that has been tested by so many top-50 red zone offenses in the ACC including Wake Forest, NC State, Clemson, Syracuse and, in the Big 10, Purdue. Boise State ranks 70th in red zone offense. BC’s run defense is also solid in general. It ranks 33rd in opposing YPC and is well-tested, unlike Mattison, who was non-existent against possibly the worst example of a Power 5 defense. Expect long, clock-killing drives from Boise State that help the "under,“ but not its chances at winning.

The teams that succeeded lately against BC threw 40+ passes. But that isn’t Boise State’s style. The Broncos have run with 59 percent frequency in the past three games, which would place them 30th. Boise is trying to win games in a way that teams avoid against an Eagles front seven that returned significant experience and quality this season. Clemson, for example, is the best rushing team, averaging 6.7 YPC, but only mustered 4.3 against Boston College and therefore relied on its prolific pass attack to win. Besides being in a bad spot, Boise State lacks the tools to cover against BC. Conversely, Dillon, with some help from Brown, will prove too strong a test for Boise’s defense.

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