The Friday night game (9:00pm ET) for week 4 of the 2013 season features an exciting Mountain West match up with the Boise State Broncos (2-1) traveling to Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, CA to take on the conference favorite Fresno State Bulldogs (2-0) in prime time. Boise State has rebounded from their opening debacle at Washington, a 38-6 Bronco loss, with consecutive wins at home over Tennessee-Martin (63-14) and Air Force (42-20 in a game that we correctly called the over) last week. Fresno State comes in after a bye week with their game against Colorado postponed; having defeated a tough Rutgers team in a 52-51 shootout at home in week 1, and beating Cal Poly in week 2 by a score of 41-25 also at home.
Boise State QB Joe Southwick (73.4% completion percentage this season) has two big, physical receivers to throw to in Matt Miller (21 receptions, 188 yards) and Geraldo Boldewijn (11 receptions, 113 yards) ,and Fresno State was burned by Rutgers 6-foot-6 receiver Brandon Coleman for 6 receptions, 94 yards and 2 TDs in their opening game in which they allowed 537 total yards (348 passing, 195 rushing). The Broncos are averaging 450.3 yards of offense and 37 points while opponents have averaged 413.7 yards and 24 points.
The Bulldogs were fortunate to overcome 3 turnovers to win the Rutgers game, but their secondary will have to play better in this game if they hope to slow down the Broncos. Fresno St. has smallish corners in Curtis Riley (6-0) and L.J. Jones (5-10), and Miller (6-3), Boldewijn (6-4) and H-back Kirby Moore (6-3) may present a matchup problem for the Bulldogs’ defense. Fresno St. QB Derek Carr has completed 74 of 104 passes for 661 yards with eight touchdowns and only one interception in victories over Rutgers and Cal Poly. The Bulldogs employ an up-tempo spread offense, as do the Broncos. Fresno State’s attack is very similar to that of Washington, and the Huskies were able to accumulate 592 yards of total offense (324 passing, 268 rushing) against Boise State while averaging 7.0 yards per play.
Boise St. vs. Fresno St. Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Boise St. Broncos +3
@Fresno St. Bulldogs -3
Over 68 (-110)
Under 68 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Boise St. vs. Fresno St. Pick
Boise State won last season’s meeting at home by a score of 20-10, Fresno State has a 7 game losing streak in the series dating back to 2006, with four of the losses by 20 points or more. Fresno State is 3-5 all-time at home against the Broncos. Fresno State has won 8 straight at home, averaging 48.3 points and 526.3 YPG in the process. Boise St. should be able to create big plays in the passing game against a Bulldog defense that allowed plays of 69, 30, 28, 23 and 21 yards against Rutgers. This should be a very fast-paced game with both teams employing up-tempo offenses and having experienced and accurate quarterbacks under center.
Fresno St. is an improved team, but it is unclear if they are yet in the same class as Boise. With the home field advantage tilting the line to -3 in favor of the Bulldogs, this game is essentially a toss-up. The trends are inconclusive in terms of the series and recent meetings therefore there is no edge here in recommending a play on the line, so the play here has to be the total. Both defenses have shown that they are vulnerable to allowing big plays and both offenses are fast-paced and capable of keeping pace in a shoot-out. With Boise St. having allowed 413.7 YPG and Fresno St. having allowed 479.5 YPG, both offenses should not face a great deal of resistance when it comes to moving the ball. The call here is to take the over on what is a very reachable number for these teams. Take the over on 68 here.