In the midst of multiple games being played on the afternoon slate, Fresno and Boise will deservingly be on a screen for my viewing pleasure as this is one of the more intriguing conference championship matchups. It’s a stylistic clash for the MWC championship, one that will turn into a chess match to see who comes out on top.
Fresno State Vs. Boise State Odds
As for who comes out on top, oddsmakers tend to think it will be the Boise State Broncos as they opened as a -5 favorite. Bettors on the other hand lean towards Fresno as they have attacked the spread and dropped it to as low as -3.5. Both units are near equal in terms of their offensive identities clashing against each other’s defensive advantages. Projections have this around Boise State -4.5.
As for the total, this is where I am perplexed. I pegged this as a low scoring affair and that is exactly how oddsmakers opened this with the total starting at 50.5. Bettors heavily lean towards the other way, shooting this number to as high as 55 in some shops as of writing. This surprises me as each other’s defenses have key advantages to slow down each other’s offense and stall out scoring opportunities.
Fresno State Vs. Boise State Prediction & Pick
The Pick: Under 56 live early or pregame
With the number shockingly climbing higher by the day, I will patiently wait to see if it hits the key number of 56. Whether it’s via pregame, or an early live spot for a smaller investment. While both units possess a capable offense of lighting up the board, it’s the statistical key defensive advantages that drive me towards the under.
Boise State ranks top-20 in four of the five categories in the Five Factors on defense, excelling in Def Success Rate, Pts Per Opp, Havoc, and Avg Field Position. It should be noted that while they are as elite as it gets in limiting opposing offenses’ sustained drives, they are prone to Explosiveness through the air.
While Fresno State does not possess nearly the same level of elite defense as Boise State, they do benefit from the Broncos having an anemic offense. This was a unit that was laughably getting pushed off the field early in the season to the likes of New Mexico before a quarterback change mid-season transformed the offense for a slight improvement.
With Hank Bachmeier out and Taylen Green in, the offensive production became more sustainable but still lackluster. They possess little to no Explosiveness and are prone to Havoc, a metric that Fresno is elite at. With backfield pressure and a secondary with a nose for the ball, Green will be hard pressed to find success against the Fresno defense that shut him down in their first game against each other earlier this year.
Fresno State held Green to 127 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception in their matchup earlier this season. Although he didn’t have to do much as Boise’s run game ran wild with George Holani and Ashton Jeanty combining for 266 yards and two touchdowns. With a potential run heavy script on deck and tape on their last matchup, this all bodes well for the under.
Fresno State Vs. Boise State Key Matchups
Can Fresno’s rush defense limit the Boise run game this time around?
Boise ground game vs Fresno rush defense
Boise’s rush success came as a little surprise as Fresno does not limit the ground game effectively. While Fresno ranks 51st in Def Rush Success Rate, they also rank 104th in Def Rush Explosiveness.
In a championship matchup, defenses tend to play tighter. This hopefully means this limits Boise’s explosive run game as it proved effective earlier this year. Fresno can afford to stack the box as Green does not bring an explosive arm under center.
Letting them run for little gain only bleeds more time off the clock and gives our under ticket a better chance at cashing at the window.
Keep an eye on the total as we near kickoff as this number is currently rising. Looking to grab the key number of 56 or higher pregame, I will also place a small wager at that threshold should it hit live early in the matchup as a fresh offense finds success moving down field early on.
Banking on a run heavy game script from Boise and a defense capable of limiting rocket arm Jake Haener, we should see a much more friendly score towards the under in comparison to their last game out.