The Christmas Eve tradition of the Hawaii Bowl game continues with a match-up of two high-scoring and entertaining teams in a nationally televised (ESPN) evening affair (8:00 pm ET). The Boise St. Broncos (8-4) out of the Mountain West Conference and the Oregon St. Beavers (6-6) out of the PAC-12 meet up at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, HI. The Broncos will be led by interim Head Coach Bob Gregory after Chris Petersen left to coach at the University of Washington. Boise St. won their regular season finale over New Mexico by a score of 45-17, but did lose 2 of their last 5 games which is unheard of for a BSU team. Oregon St. lost their finale, the “Civil War” against Oregon by a score of 36-35. The Beavers lost 5 in a row to finish the season after a promising 6-1 start.
Boise St. ranks 24th among FBS teams in total offense with 470.8 yards per game and 16th in scoring offense with 38.8 points per game. Quarterback Grant Hedrick (1,654 yards passing, 12 TDs, 5 INTs) took over for an injured Joe Southwick late in the season and has added another dimension to the offense with his running ability (257 yards rushing, 6 TDs). Running back Jay Ajayi (1,328 yards rushing, 17 TDs) is the leading ground gainer for the Broncos, while Matt Miller (934 yards, 11 TDs) and Shane Williams-Rhodes (702 yards, 6 TDs) are the top receiving threats. BSU ranks 73rd nationally in total defense with 410 YPG allowed and 37th in scoring defense with 23.8 PPG allowed.
Oregon St. ranks 25th among FBS teams in total offense with 468.1 yards per game and 31st in scoring offense with 34.5 points per game behind a passing attack that features two of the most productive players in the country in quarterback Sean Mannion (4,403 yards passing, 36 TDs, 14 INTs) and wide receiver Brandin Cooks (120 receptions, 1,670 yards, 15 TDs), the Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation’s top receiver. The Beavers rank 3rd nationally in passing offense with an average of 382.1 yards per game. OSU ranks 94th nationally in total defense with 428.2 YPG allowed and 95th in scoring defense with 32.1 PPG allowed.
Boise St. vs. Oregon St. Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Boise St. Broncos +3
@ Oregon St. Beavers -3
Over 64 (-110)
Under 64 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Boise St. vs Oregon St. Pick
Oregon St. was 6-6 ATS this season; Boise St. was also 6-6 ATS this year. Underdogs are 6-2 ATS past 8 Hawaii Bowls. Boise State is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 bowl games, 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games and the total has come in UNDER in 4 of their last 6 games. Oregon State is 1-3-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Boise State.
Boise St. should have a great deal of success running the ball with Ajayi against an OSU defense that ranks 91st nationally against the run with 193.2 YPG allowed. BSU is averaging over 200 YPG on the ground and should be able to chew up the clock and pick up large chunks of yardage against the Beavers’ soft defensive front. Mannion and the Beavers should also have a great deal of success against a BSU secondary that ranked 91st against the pass this season with 248.4 YPG allowed and gave up 460 yards and 4 TDs to a Fresno St. team that ranks #1 in the nation in pass offense. This should be an entertaining and very high-scoring game. The line has bounced back-and-forth, and with OSU on a cold streak and the Broncos dealing with the uncertainty of a coaching change anything can happen. The play to make here is the total, and with 2 suspect defenses and a preponderance of offensive talent the play here is the OVER.