Boise State Broncos vs. Fresno State Bulldogs
Date and Time: Saturday, December 2, 2017, 7:45 p.m. ET
Location: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
Opening College Football Odds: Boise State -8.5
Boise State vs. Fresno State TV Coverage: ESPN
The Broncos were laying 6.5-points when these two teams met in Fresno last week. Even after they were beaten 28-17, there's little reason to believe they aren't deserving chalks at all of the best online sportsbooks.
The game was a big one for the Bulldogs and their fans, as they went from the bottom of the Mountain West to the top of the heap this season, and it really came out of nowhere.
Marcus McMaryion went from a man who could barely string two positive passing plays together at Oregon State to one who had 2,212 yards and 14 touchdowns through the air with just three interceptions at Fresno State.
Fresno State constantly played from ahead this season, a trait that it showed against the Broncos last week as well. The team didn't do anything particularly flashy outside of an 81-yard touchdown bomb from McMaryion to KeeSean Johnson that put the game away. The Bulldogs converted 8-of-15 on third down, avoided too many horrible down-and-distance plays and largely kept the Broncos at bay.
What must also be remembered from Boise State's standpoint is that it lost any chance to represent the Group of Five in the New Year's Six. Back-to-back wins over Fresno State would have kept the Broncos in the discussion had UCF lost to Memphis in the AAC Championship Game. Now, this game is just for a conference title, knowing that the UCF/Memphis winner will surely be playing in the Fiesta Bowl.
The one man that Fresno State couldn't seem to find an answer for last week was Cedrick Wilson. Boise State's top receiver has been a huge threat no matter whether it has been Montrell Cozart or Brett Rypien under center this year, and he was once again huge in the last game of the regular season when he hauled in seven balls for 134 yards.
Wilson is the man who opens up the offense for the running game and gives Alexander Mattison the chance to be a stud both as a pass catcher and as a rusher. If Wilson is controlled in this game, it's a wonder where Boise State's points are going to come from, knowing that both Rypien and Cozart have struggled all season long target any of the other BSU wide receivers in 2017.
Boise State vs. Fresno State Free Picks
If we're really being honest about Fresno State, this team is a lot better than its record probably indicates. Sure, it was beaten by UNLV as a 22-point favorite in shocking fashion, but its other two losses came at Alabama and at Washington in back-to-back weeks, and both games were covered. This is a team that upset New Mexico at home and San Diego State on the road before taking out Boise State. It held Wyoming to just seven points and the Aztecs to just three while shutting out the Lobos.
Defensively, this squad has been a bit on the fortunate side this year, but it's also a team that is deserving of its No. 18 overall ranking and No. 12 scoring defense mark.
Boise State might be favored in this game once again, but we think this is a big mistake. Bet on the names on the backs of the uniforms instead of the names on the backs. The Broncos were never one of the best 25 teams in America, and we think they'll end up saddled with a second straight loss at the hands of the Bulldogs to go from a potential spot in the Fiesta Bowl to a third-tier bowl game in a hurry.
College Football ATS Pick: Fresno State +8.5 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Fresno State 28, Boise State 21