Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#821 Utah State -2 vs.
#822 Boise State 143
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 10:00pm EST
Written by The Stash



#821 Utah State University
#822 Boise State University


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Mountain West action here as the Boise State Broncos host the Utah State Aggies. Utah State enters this one at 14-5, although they have lost three of their past four. Boise State on the other hand sits at 11-8. Oddsmakers have this one as virtually even, so it should be a tight one. It'll be televised nationally by ESPNU.

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Utah State Slipping Recently

Utah State is coming off a very successful campaign. They made it to March Madness as an 8-seed, although they did lose to Washington in the Round of 64. Everybody expected them to be quite good once again, as they entered this season ranked 17th in the AP poll. They got off to a hot start, winning each of their first seven games. Since then things haven't been quite as smooth, as they are just 7-5. They have also lost three of their past four games entering this one. The wheels are threatening to come off, as each of those three recent losses came by at least nine points and two were by at least 17 points.

In their most recent loss, they fell to a very mediocre Air Force team by 19. Even some of their wins have been concerning, and they haven't been a great team at covering numbers. They are just 2-9 against the spread in their last 11 overall. They're also just 7-20 against the spread in their last 27 road games, so they could have trouble with the environment here. They don't have very good spacing on offense, and outside of senior guard Sam Merrill, they don't have any shooters. Merrill is connecting on 39.2 percent of his attempts from downtown, but nobody else who plays real minutes is hitting at a rate better than 35 percent. Their only road win this season came against a San Jose State team that was 4-27 last year.

Boise State Up And Down

Boise State is coming off a pretty bad year, which was an aberration for them. After notching at least 20 wins in six straight seasons they collapsed, going just 13-20 last year. They're definitely better than they were last year, but it's unclear just how good they're going to be. They've been up and down for the most part, and enter this one at 11-8. Almost all of their losses have been to good teams, so I can't hold them against them. They always play much better at home, and seven of their eight losses haven't been at home. Not surprisingly, they are a stellar 7-2 against the spread in their last nine home games.

The offense has been pretty solid, and they have four different guys averaging at least 12 points per game. Junior forward Abu Kigab missed the first ten games of the season, and his return provided them with a huge boost. He's averaging 14 points per game since returning, and their offense is a lot better with him in the fold. This team is absolutely loaded with experience, and each of their top seven scorers are upperclassmen. That's going to come in handy late in the season for sure. The defense has been middling, but the unit plays a lot better in front of their home crowd. Junior wing Derrick Alston is averaging 19.5 points per game, and that climbs to 22.1 at home.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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I think Boise State wins this one pretty easily. Utah State has clearly fallen off hard, and they've been terrible on the road recently. Their only road win this season came against San Jose State, a team that was 4-27 last year. Boise State on the other hand has been much better at home, and I'm really high on their offensive upside now that Abu Kigab is back in the picture. Utah State only has one good shooter, and even he is pretty streaky. Boise State is also 7-2 against the spread in their last nine home games

Prediction: Boise State

Full-Game Total Pick

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I think the under also makes a lot of sense in this spot. Utah State has very little shooting, and I think they're going to go cold here. They play much worse on the road, and the under is 5-1 in Utah State's last six road games. Boise State has a good amount of length, and I think they'll be able to smother Utah State here. The Aggies are prone to offensive lapses, and they've failed to top 60 points in two of their past four games. This one should be pretty low scoring.

Prediction: Under

Written By Alex Porter , "The Stash"

Alex Porter is one of the premier minds in basketball and football handicapping. With a degree in statistics, Alex uses advanced metrics as well as copious amounts of film study to make his picks. Since starting his betting career at the age of 18, the recent college graduate has never had a losing football season. We are very glad to have Alex as a part of our team here at StatSalt.