Fresno State +9 3.3% play
These two teams just met last week and while it was evident Boise did not show up to play in the loss I don't think this hurts Fresno State one bit. I think it gives Fresno State a bit of confidence. They had beaten Boise State by 1 point in 2013, but had lose every other game dating back to 2007. I think that gives them confidence and looking at all the numbers they actually have the better defense. I love taking the better defense getting over a TD in a championship game.
So both teams passed the ball more times than they ran the ball last week. That went against their season averages of running the ball more during the regular season. Boise runs the ball 53% of the time while Fresno comes in at 55%, but last week Boise decided to run it 46% of the time, and Fresno 45%. I expect them to both try to run the ball again early in this one which favors Fresno State. Fresno State ranks 64th in ypc compared to Boise State who ranks 80th. Fresno also faced the tougher schedule facing an average opponent ranking 57th compare to Boise opponents at 60.75. Fresno also had wins over run defenses ranking 20, 31, 27, and 18th. Run defense favors Boise State who ranks 18th, compared to Fresno at 36th, but it's closer than that with Fresno facing an average opponent rushing offense ranking 54.9 compared to Boise's 64.5. At the end of the day I think both these teams will struggle to run the ball and there is no edge giving one team the opportunity to run away with this game. I think these teams are very much even and we are getting 9 points to play with.
I've heard sharps mention Boise -9 based on last week's -7 spread on the road as line value as they should be -13 this week. I disagree. I think Vegas set that line knowing these teams were going to have a vanilla game plan. When you look at recent common opponents between these two teams Vegas values Boise State at about 4 points better add on the 3 for home field advantage and this line should be around 7 points. However, Boise State at home under Bryan Harsin has not been very good. Especially with his recruits in there as they have gone 3-12 ATS in their last 15 home games. They covered their last two as big favorites at home, but against just awful defenses in Nevada and Air Force. As a 15.5 point favorite against Wyoming who has a good defense they failed to cover.
So we saw a similar situation last year with Wyoming facing San Diego State 2 weeks prior to the championship game and we saw a 4 point swing. Wyoming out gained San Diego State in both games. They won the regular season match-up 34-33, and lost the championship game 27-24. Both games were close and I expect the same thing here with Fresno and Boise State.
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