What bettors need to know: BYU at Boise State
BYU at Boise State (-6.5, 52)
Beating Boise State on the blue turf in September is about as rare as a blue steak. The last time anyone did it was 2001 - a string of 18 games and nearly three presidential terms. The Broncos are expecting a record crowd in a newly remodeled stadium in what will be the second road game in a row for BYU in a tough environment after the Cougars visited Utah last week. TV:
ESPN, 9 p.m. ETLINE:
Boise State -6.5, O/U 49. This line was 7.5 Wednesday night, but by Thursday morning had been bet down to 6.5
The offenses won't have any excuses Thursday. It's expected to be a clear night in the mid-50's in Boise with little wind. ABOUT BYU:
The Cougars insist they've moved on from a heartbreaking 24-21 loss last week against rival Utah that ended with some strange time-on-the-clock issues and the shifty - BYU fans would say dodgy - play of Utah's defensive line. BYU will lean on its stingy defense Thursday. Their defense ranks ninth in the country in yards against (241 per game) and 20th in points allowed (14.3 per game). The over/under is 1-1 through three games with BYU (one game had no line) but the 'over' toppled the total by just a half point against Utah. QB Riley Nelson has shown signs of suffering from a back injury and is coming off a 17-of-35 passing performance.
ABOUT BOISE STATE
: This is arguably Boise State's toughest remaining game on the schedule. If you ask their supporters, a win here sets them up in decent shape for an 11-1 season, which could give them a legit shot at a BCS bowl game. To do that, they'll likely need to be a little better in the red zone where they're just 66.7 percent so far - uncharacteristic for a typically high-octane Broncos team. Boise State is 1-1 but has covered both spreads so far. Both their games have also played under thanks to a defense that's allowed only 29 points. Dangerous tailback D.J. Harper faces a BYU rush defense that ranks sixth in the country. TRENDS:
Cougars are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games as an underdog.
Broncos are 9-0 ATS in their last 9 games as a home favorite of 3.5-10.0.
Boise State coach Chris Peterson is 19-1 straight up in September. EXTRA POINTS
1. Broncos defensive end Sam Ukwuachu said this week if there's one thing Boise State can do it's rush the QB. That will be a key to this game against BYU's Nelson, who has struggled under pressure this season.
2. The Broncos are tied for fifth in the nation with three penalties per game.
3. BYU QB Riley Nelson started at Boise State as a freshman for Utah State. He was yanked after rushing for 45 yards and passing for 40. The Aggies lost 49-10, but salvaged a 'push' as 39-point dogs.