Betting Odds: Cactus Bowl Vegas Spread & Free Picks

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The Boise State Broncos square off against the Baylor Bears on Tuesday, December 27th in the 2016 Motel 6 Cactus Bowl. Kickoff inside Chase Field in Phoenix is set for 10:15 EST Tuesday night with ESPN providing the television coverage.

Cactus Bowl Point Spread & Odds Preview: Boise St vs Baylor

Boise State (10-2) had visions of being the Group of 5 team playing in the Cotton Bowl coming into the season. So it’s hard to think of a 10-2 season as a disappointment, but it really was for the Broncos as they allowed Wyoming to overtake them in their division and didn’t even make the MWC title game.

Baylor (6-6) got off to a 6-0 start this season against suspect competition. But then the Bears lost their starting quarterback in Seth Russell, and they concluded the season with six straight losses. From the sexual assault scandal to their performance on the field, it was certainly a season the Bears would like to forget.

Taking a look at the college football lines, I find Boise State as a 7.5-point favorite over Baylor with a total set of 67 points. Get my pick on this game and the rest of the bowls by clicking here for my bowl predictions.

Cactus Bowl Free Pick & Betting Line Predictions: Baylor +7.5

The betting public wants nothing to do with the Bears right now. They have lost six straight games coming into the postseason. Jim Grobe is coaching his last game here as he is a lame duck. It will be Matt Rhule coming in from Temple to try and turn the program around next year. I think this awful public perception of this team is providing us some line value with this 7.5-point spread.

Player for player, Baylor is the more talented team in this matchup. And while they lost their final six games, the schedule was extremely tough, and they weren’t overwhelmed aside from the loss to TCU. They also lost to the likes of West Virginia, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Oklahoma and Texas during that six-game skid with four of the losses coming on the road.

But Baylor actually outgained two of those six opponents, and they were outgained by only 32 yards by Texas Tech, by 46 yards by Kansas State and by 49 yards by Oklahoma. That game against Oklahoma was much closer than the 24-45 final score, and it showed they could play with a top team. The 14-17 loss to WVU as 17-point road dogs in the finale also showed that the Bears have not quit.

Star wide receiver KD Cannon, who has 73 receptions for 989 yards and 11 touchdowns this year, has actually guaranteed a victory in this game. I like that mindset, and it shows that they care. Freshman QB Zach Smith was put into a tough spot but has held up well with 1,151 yards and 10 touchdowns against six interceptions down the stretch against that tough schedule.

The Broncos have been susceptible to the run this season, giving up 180 yards per game and 4.4 per carry. Boise State is 3-12 ATS versus good rushing teams who average 4.75 or more yards per carry over the last three seasons. Baylor averages 250 rushing yards per game and 5.1 per carry.

“I’m very excited for our players to have an opportunity to play in the Cactus Bowl against a great football team in Boise State,” Grobe told reporters. “I think our guys are looking forward to coaching these kids and getting them ready for a bowl game. So I feel good about playing in a bowl game. This is going to be it for me, so I’d like to win it for sure.”

Boise State’s 10-2 record is certainly inflated due to playing such a soft schedule. They lost to both Wyoming and Air Force. Their best win was a 31-28 victory over Washington State as 13-point favorites. They had so many shaky efforts in victory, including a 5-point win over Colorado State as 28-point favorites and a 1-point win over BYU as 7-point favorites. The Broncos went just 3-9 ATS in their 12 games this year, time and time again being overvalued.

The Broncos have been susceptible to the run this season, giving up 180 yards per game and 4.4 per carry. Boise State is 3-12 ATS versus good rushing teams who average 4.75 or more yards per carry over the last three seasons. Baylor averages 250 rushing yards per game and 5.1 per carry.

The Bears rank 5th nationally in total offense at 523.3 yards per game as well. They have a three-headed attack at running back, led by Terence Williams (945 yards, 11 TD, 5.9/carry) and Shock Linwood (751, 2 TD, 5.4/carry).

The general public thought Baylor didn’t want to be in the bowl last year against North Carolina. But that was far from the case as the Bears racked up 756 total yards in a 49-38 win as 3-point dogs against the Tar Heels. They rushed for 645 yards in that game alone, and they should have plenty of success on the ground against Boise State in this one as well.

Check out more free NCAA football picks from myself and the rest of our handicappers here at Betfirm. Also take a look at my home page to earn access to my premium plays on the college gridiron this bowl season.

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