MWC Betting Preview: Boise State at Utah State Odds and Free Pick

BetFirm reserves the right to publish predictions on every single FBS game at some junctures, like Week Zero (invented strictly to advertise Coke Zero during a hot time of year) or bowl season. However I am glad that sets of college pigskin odds are occasionally left un-handicapped within Boyd’s online empire at any given time. It’s honest. Posting “mandatory” picks on every football, baseball, and basketball contest all the time would cast free online predictions as fraudulent because it’s crazy to get equally-excited about every market. An unpredictable 4 quarters of garbage-time between 2 3-and-7 NCAA teams is bad juju for betting, and not very fun to watch.

Successful gamblers never bet every game in all scenarios. What we cull-out are the match-ups that look iffy or potentially boring. Faced with a choice between 2 Mountain West games that will finish well past midnight on the east coast, I’d be expected to choose the latest kickoff possible, a losing bettor’s “bail-out” opportunity when Hawaii hosts San Diego State in Halawa. Feel free to “leis” a few dollars on the line in that game’s markets – but beware that Hawaii’s defense is flaky and SDSU’s gambles on offense and defense tend to set the Aztecs’ odds out of whack with reality.

For my money the better gamble is Utah State vs Boise State. Here we have a widening point spread on a scrum in which the visitor has triumphed in conference play, but the host has a legacy of tense outcomes at home against excellent opponents. Still the action is driving the Boise Blue – potentially into double-digit-favorite territory.

Who: Boise State Broncos at Utah State Aggies

When: Saturday, November 23rd, 10:30 PM EST

Where: Merlin Olsen Field, Logan, UT

Lines: BSU (-9.5) at USU (+9,5) / O/U Total: (52.5)

Boise State Broncos at Utah State Aggies Betting Preview

Merlin Olsen’s stint as the lead role on Little House on the Prairie was unfortunate in some ways, not because a show about a town can’t portray a changing community but because the brand wasn’t as wildly-heralded by that time. Olsen was visiting the show post shark-jump, in other words. Likewise, a Utah State program that plays on the great lineman’s field “jumped the shark” mid-way through the 2019 season, when the Aggies were bothered by CSU and embarrassed by the LSU Tigers before falling apart completely against Air Force and BYU.

It’s hard for a Group-of-5 school to repair a tarnished reputation. Utah State’s offense looked just fine beating Fresno State 37-35 to snap the slump in autumn. QB Jordan Love hit over 75% of his throws for nearly 400 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Gerald Bright had shiny green pastures on numerous carries. The next week, Love’s offense let down against Wyoming but PK Dominik Eberle rose to the occasion, scoring a majority of the team’s 26 points in a close-shave defeat of the Cowboys.

Anyone can get taken-apart by a service academy on a bad day, and winning 2 in a row to earn bowl qualification is a legitimizing factor for Utah State. Still many handicappers would point out Wyoming isn’t having a good time without the QB who was expected to play down the stretch. Wyoming and Utah State have like-W/L records this season and are arguably on the 2nd tier of mid-majors once again…a category of opponent Boise State has been punishing.

It’s not so much a matter of whether BSU is vulnerable or not. The otherwise-perfect Broncos also fell to BYU this season, though not by 4 touchdowns like Utah State did. By and large Boise State has been winning by double-digits vs teams which don’t have everything clicking 100% – the only exception was a dramatic OT result over Wyoming. A common-opponents-based analysis certainly does not auger well for Boise as a sure-thing this Saturday night, but there’s no doubt the Broncos have been explosive at other times.

Utah State also has a fine kicker, but here’s the kicker. Both starting QBs could be forced to sit out the game with injury:

It’s likely that Jaylon Henderson will start at quarterback again for Boise State Saturday night, although we don’t know for sure.  But we have had a chance to get to know Henderson.  If Utah State star QB Jordan Love is unable to start against the Broncos, inquiring minds want to know: Who is Henry Colombi?  He’s a 6-2, 205-pound sophomore from Hollywood, FL, who came in when Love exited the Wyoming game last week and went 3-of-6 for 35 yards.  Colombi played more last year due to USU blowouts, going 33-of 40 for 239 yards and rushing for 108 yards and a touchdown.  This season he’s thrown for 143 yards and two TDs.  Colombi hasn’t run much, but he appears to be capable of it.

The icy-cold weather in Logan and a wounded Boise offense will each be larger factors than whatever the QB situation in Wyoming happens to be right now.

MWC Saturday Night Prediction and O/U Wager

Boise State has a plan for beating tough opponents on the road with the backup QB when it’s freezing cold on the gridiron, and it doesn’t involve scoring 70 points. Utah State’s offense has been like a circuit running through its QB – who knows how the Aggies will fare on offense if there’s no Love to be found on a forbidding night?

The O/U total is ticking down a little, but not enough. Wager the Under (52.5) and enjoy what should be a grudging battle.

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