Pick Boise State +140 ML in College Football Odds vs. Arizona

Darin Zank

Sunday, December 21, 2014 1:46 PM UTC

Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014 1:46 PM UTC

Boise State already owns two recent Fiesta Bowl upsets, most notably that shocker against Oklahoma eight years ago as an eight-point underdog. The Broncos look to take out another upset victim when they take on Pac-12 South champion Arizona in the 44th edition of the  Fiesta Bowl New Year's Eve day in Glendale.

Fiesta Bowl Betting Odds
Most books we consulted opened their Fiesta Bowl NCAAF betting odds with Arizona favored by four points, the total pegged at 69. In the early betting many shops then dropped the spread to -3, and the total to 68.

Moneyline bettors could get the Wildcats at -150 at 5Dimes, while Boise State could be gotten at +141 at Pinnacle.

The Fiesta Bowl Match-Up
Boise State began this season with that 35-13 loss to Ole Miss down in Atlanta, but that game was a lot closer than that final score might indicate, considering the Broncos only trailed the Rebs 7-6 through three quarters. Boise State then won three games in a row, but got upset at Air Force 28-14. Since then, though, the Broncos have won eight straight, putting up some big offensive numbers, capping the run off with a 28-14 victory over Fresno State in the Mountain West championship game.

So Boise State is playing in a bowl for the 13th season in a row.

The Broncos led the Bulldogs in that MWC title contest 28-0 early in the third quarter, and had the spread covered as 23-point favorites, but took their foot off the gas and allowed Fresno State to score twice for the back-door cover.

Arizona opened this season 5-0, including that wonderful upset of Oregon up in Eugene – the only loss the playoff-bound Ducks have suffered this season. The Wildcats then lost two of three, to USC and UCLA, before winning four more in a row, including that thrilling 42-35 victory over rival Arizona State in the Territorial Cup that clinched the team's first Pac-12 South Division title.

Arizona then came up way short in an attempt at another upset of Oregon in the conference championship game, losing 51-13, whiffing on the spread at +14.

Nonetheless, the Wildcats are playing in a bowl for the third straight season under Coach Rich-Rod.

Key Numbers
Boise State ranks 13th in the country in total offense at 497 yards per game, 30th in rushing at 219 YPG, 40th in total defense and 35th against the run, holding foes to 142 YPG. The Broncos did this while playing what Sagarin at USAToday.com Sports ranks as the 72nd-toughest schedule in the country.

Arizona ranks 28th in total offense at 462 YPG, 46th in rushing at 184 YPG, but 102nd in total defense, allowing 449 YPG, and 73rd vs. the run, giving up 170 YPG, while playing Sagarin's 30th-toughest schedule.

Broncos-Wildcats Betting Trends
Boise State has trended toward the OVERS this season by a 9-4 margin, as Broncos games have averaged 66 points.

Arizona has trended toward the UNDERS by a 9-4 margin, even though Wildcats games have averaged 62 points. Obviously, they've been tagged with some large OVER/UNDERS this season.

Fiesta Bowl Free Pick
This is a tough one, because while Boise State has the better numbers, Arizona played the tougher schedule. Our guess is that these two teams are very even, and the only reason the Wildcats are favored is the site of this bowl. Frankly, that kind of “home-field advantage” means nothing to us when handicapping this game. The Broncos have outgained 11 of their last 12 opponents, while Arizona has been outgained in five of its last seven games. So we like Boise State for our NCAAF picks, and we don't need the points; we'll play the Broncos on the Fiesta Bowl moneyline.

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