Colorado State at Boise State (-23.5)
Fri. 10/19, 9:00 p.m. ET
Three things you need to know before betting on Colorado State-Boise State:
1. Since the start of the 2011 season, Boise State is 7-0 straight up and 5-2 against the spread when facing Colorado State. When the teams met at Canvas Stadium last season, the Broncos won 59-52 as a 6.5-point road favorite. Things have changed quite a bit this year, though. Boise State is an excellent team once again, as the Broncos are 4-2 on the season. But Colorado State has started the year at 3-4, and a good case can be made that this is the worst team head coach Mike Bobo has fielded since taking over as Rams head coach. The team is 0-7 against the spread when coming off back-to-back conference games since the start of last season, and 0-6 against the spread in the second half of the season in that span. The spread is clearly rather large here, but the disparity in talent is even larger.
2. Boise State’s defense has been great this season, as the team has allowed 20 or fewer points in four of its six games. The Broncos’ poorest showing came against Oklahoma State, which perennially has one of the most explosive offenses in the nation. One area where Boise State will have a clear edge in this game is with its passing defense. On the year, the Broncos have allowed only 200.5 yards per game through the air, and they have given up a total of only six passing touchdowns. Rams quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels has performed admirably this year, throwing for 1,934 yards with 16 touchdowns and six picks. But nine of those touchdown passes came in games against Hawaii and San Jose State. Outside of that, he hasn’t lit anybody up. And the senior is undeniably turnover prone, and struggles with serious bouts of inaccuracy. Overall, it’s hard to believe he’s going to take find much success throwing against this defense.
3. On the flip side, Colorado State has one of the worst defenses in the country. The Rams have allowed 1,686 yards and 18 touchdowns through the air this season, which is bad news facing off against Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien. The senior has struggled over the past two weeks, throwing for two touchdowns and a miserable five picks, but he has also faced some of the best defenses he’s seen this year. His performances against Troy, UConn, Oklahoma State and Wyoming—where he combined to throw for 12 touchdowns and no picks—are more in line with what we should expect against this shaky defense. In the end, the question about this game will be about whether or not Boise State is willing to run up the score. It could opt to take its foot off the gas a little, but the first two games of the season—in which the Broncos outscored Troy and UConn by a total of 118-27—suggest they’re more than willing to step on an opponent’s throat. And it’s unlikely Colorado State will have the energy to fend them off for the entirety of this game.
Pick: Boise State -23.5
Confidence Level: Moderate (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)