Some Boise State players were infants the last time the Broncos were a home underdog in their own stadium – but that's the situation they face Friday night as they host a Fresno State team that boasts one of the best defenses in the country. The Broncos haven't been a home 'dog since 2001 – but it's hard to argue with the oddsmakers' decision here, as the Bulldogs come in having surrendered just 13 total points in their previous three road games. That said, Fresno State has played one of the least challenging schedules of any Division I team and faces a major step up in competition here.
These teams love their first-quarter touchdowns – they've combined for 25 TDs against just three field goals in the opening 15 minutes of their games this season. So, bettors should expect the first score of the game to be a touchdown – but the question is, which team will score it? Boise State has been a first-quarter terror this season, averaging 12 points in the opening frame while scoring at least one touchdown in all but one of its first quarters. Fresno State, by comparison, has averaged just 8.1 points in the first quarter and has been blanked twice. Take the home team to kick off the scoring.
Prediction: First scoring play - Boise State TD (+162)
FIRST HALF BET
Much of the focus in this one will be on how Boise State's 21st-ranked scoring offense (38.0 ppg) fares against a Fresno State defense limiting opponents to a microscopic 12.3 points per game while limiting foes to just 12 touchdowns in nine games. But the Broncos have been no slouches on defense themselves, ranking just outside the top 40 in points allowed per game (23.7). And both teams rank inside the top 15 nationally in third-down percentage defense. Look for this one to be a defensive slugfest in the early going, making the first-half under the preferred play.
Prediction: Under 26.5 first-half total (-110)
Fresno State's identical 8-1 SU and ATS marks are impressive – but let's consider the level of competition. Per the Action Network's Steve Petrella, the Bulldogs have faced only two defenses ranked in the top half of the country in S&P+ (Wyoming, 42nd; Minnesota, 62nd) – and they averaged just 20.5 points against the Cowboys and Golden Gophers, a significant drop from their season scoring average of 40.4. Fresno State's average yards per game (345) in those two contests also fell well short of their season mark (432). We recommend the under on the Bulldogs' team total.
Prediction: Fresno State under 27.5 points (-120)
🏈College Football Game Of The Day Poll🏈— Covers (@Covers) November 9, 2018
Tonight #23 ranked Fresno State Bulldogs travel to Idaho to take on the Boise State Broncos, for what is shaping up to be a good one on the blue turf of Albertsons Stadium.
What line are you on tonight?
Defense should reign supreme in this one, with both teams desperately needing a win to bolster their bowl resumes. Fresno State is an incredible 17-4 to the under in its previous 21 games against Mountain West opponents and is 2-9 O/U in its last 11 road games. Boise State, meanwhile, has cashed the under 17 times in its previous 24 road games. The teams have also gone below the number in four of their past five meetings at Albertsons Stadium. Look for both teams to hunker down on defense, making the under the solid option here.
Prediction: Under 52.5 (-110)
As rare as it is to see Boise State getting points at Albertsons Stadium, it's almost as unusual for them to lose straight-up there. The Broncos are 15-2 SU in their previous 17 home games, though they were favored by double digits in all but two of them. Per The Action Network's Steve Petrella, Fresno State has allowed an average of 23.5 points against the only two teams it has faced with above-average offensive S&P+ ratings – and with Boise State ranked 34th coming into this one, we like the home side to pull off the minor upset despite Fresno State having gone 25-4-1 ATS in their last 30 games.
Prediction: Boise State +2.5 (-105)