“Bank the Bet” host Scott Stiene breaks down tonight’s game on our YouTube channel. Check it out right here:
No. 16 Fresno State at Boise State
When and Where: Friday, Nov. 9, Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho, 10:15 p.m. EST.
Fresno State opens a two-game stretch vital to its hopes of reaching the Mountain West Conference title game Friday night when it faces Boise State in a cross-division clash.
The 16th-ranked Bulldogs (8-1, 5-0 MWC West) have a one-game lead over San Diego State, whom they host next weekend, in the West Division. Fresno State extended its win streak to seven games with a 48-3 pummeling of UNLV on the road last Saturday.
Boise State (7-2, 4-1 Mountain) is still in the hunt to make this a potential conference championship game rematch as it enters this contest one game back of No. 18 Utah State in the Mountain Division. The Broncos, who close their season at home versus the Aggies on Nov. 24, have won four straight following a 21-16 triumph over BYU.
Bulldogs off to best start in five years
At 8-1, Fresno State is enjoying its best start since winning its first 10 contests in 2013. The Bulldogs gradually pulled away from the Rebels, scoring 31 second-half points and finishing with 466 total yards as coach Jeff Tedford recorded his 100th career victory.
“It’s nice, and really what that means is I’ve been really fortunate to be around a lot of really good coaching staffs and a lot of really good players,” said Tedford, who is 18-5 since taking over Fresno State last season, to the Fresno Bee.
“I’ve played a small role in it, but everyone has played a huge role in it. It’s nice to have, and everyone who has ever coached on any staff that I’ve been on or played, they all have a piece of that.”
Marcus McMaryion threw for 274 yards and a pair of touchdowns, his sixth consecutive game throwing for at least two TD passes. He has 20 on the season — already a career high — to go with 2,416 yards.
WIDE OPEN LOOK FOR A TOUCHDOWN 👀
— Fresno State Football (@FresnoStateFB) November 4, 2018
Six different players scored touchdowns for Fresno State, as the ground game churned out 192 yards in a group effort. Saevion Johnson had a team-best 47 as four backs and McMaryion had at least 24 yards. The Bulldogs have averaged 442.4 yards during their seven-game winning streak and have just one turnover in their last four games.
Fresno State does not have a rusher with more than 306 by Jordan Mims, but there are six players with at least 130. McMaryion is fourth on the Bulldogs with 157 yards but also has a team-best seven rushing touchdowns to go with his 20 passing scores.
Fresno State’s defense has also stepped up in conference play, yielding just three touchdowns and 36 points in Mountain West Conference play. The Bulldogs have allowed seven or fewer points in four of the victories, an average of 300.8 yards in their five conference wins, and a turnover margin of plus-6.
Despite the gaudy statistics, Tedford is under no illusions the Bulldogs will be able to just walk into Boise, where they lost last year’s conference championship game and have lost nine straight there since their only victory in 1984.
“They’re a great program and a great team. It’s going to be a struggle. It’s going to be a short week and so we’re going to have to get back, get healthy, and get into the game plan right away going on the road on a short week,” he told the school’s official website. “Our guys know what that is all about. We know what we’re up against with them, they’re a class team and we’re going to have to play our best.”
Overall, the Bulldogs are tied with LSU for the second-most interceptions among FBS teams with 15. Mike Bell and Anthoula Kelly share the lead with three apiece as nine different players have at least one.
Broncos looking to get back to title game
Boise State, which edged Fresno State 17-14 in the title game last season after losing 28-17 on the road, had to make a dramatic late stand to preserve its victory over BYU.
The Cougars drove as far as the Broncos’ 2-yard line, but Tyson Maeva and Scale Igiehon sacked Zach Wilson on the final play of the game — the team’s seventh sack of the game in addition to nine tackles for loss — to preserve the victory as Boise State remained unbeaten at home versus BYU.
INSTANT HIGHLIGHTS: BYU vs Boise State pic.twitter.com/uQGMtg0GFm
— Mountain West (@MountainWest) November 4, 2018
“Winning these close games, I think builds more team chemistry and camaraderie than blowing people out by 40,” Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien told the Idaho Statesman. “Maybe it’s not as pretty as everybody wants it to be, but at the end of the day we’re winning and we’re winning tough games, which is what you want coming down the later half of the season, especially when we’ve got some big games coming up here.”
Rypien threw for 214 yards and a touchdown as he moved within 211 yards of his third 3,000-yard season with Boise State. He is also 250 passing yards shy of becoming the Mountain West’s all-time leader, with the mark of 12,690 set by Ryan Lindley with San Diego State from 2008-11.
Alexander Mattison contributed 89 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns on 25 carries as he moves closer to his second straight 1,000-yard season. Mattison, who had 113 yards on 29 carries in the two games against Fresno State last year, has 726 yards and 10 TDs.
The Broncos have averaged 310.6 passing yards and 448.6 overall. Rypien has 24 touchdown passes, matching his career high from 2016, and has 2,779 yards. Sean Modster and A.J. Richardson have been a potent receiving tandem, combining for 84 catches, 1,313 yards and 12 TDs.
Boise State’s defense is also adept at forcing turnovers, getting three against BYU to raise its season takeaway total to 17. The Broncos are among the top FBS teams with 12 fumbles recovered.
Boise State is:
- 5-15 ATS in its last 20 home games.
- 1-4 ATS in its last five games vs. above-.500 teams.
- 1-4 ATS in its last five games after allowing less than 20 points in its previous game.
- The under is 17-7 in their last 24 home games.
- The under is 4-1 in their last five games vs. above-.500 teams.
- The under is 4-1 in their last five games after allowing fewer than 20 points in the previous game.
Fresno State is:
- 13-2-1 ATS in its last 16 road games.
- 25-4-1 ATS in its last 30 games.
- 6-1 ATS in its last seven road games vs. teams with an above-.500 home record.
- The under is 17-4 in their last 21 games vs. MWC teams.
- The under is 9-2 in their last 11 road games.
- The under is 20-6-1 in their last 27 games following a straight up win.
Updated on Nov 9 at 10:30am EST
Update prepared by our editoral staff
Public Money / Line Movements
It is tough for opposing teams to win on the Blue Turf Of Boise State and the Sharps may be thinking that same thing as 68% of the bets have come in on the Bulldogs and yet the line has stayed at Fresno State -2.5 all week so far.
Injury / Weather Report
No Weather Issues Are Expected
Fresno State’s Impact Injury Report:
OL Logan Hughes is questionable
Boise State’s Impact Injury Report:
LB Riley Whimpey (55 Tackles, 2 Sacks), NT Sonatane Lui (15 Tackles, 2 TFL), Chase Hatada (21 Tackles, 3 TFL, 1,5 Sacks), and WR John Hightower (496 Yards, 8 Total TDs) are all listed as questionable.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
In addition to being 8-1 straight up, Fresno State is 8-1 against the spread this season. The Bulldogs are not going to be intimidated playing on Boise State’s blue turf after their narrow loss there last season, and the biggest difference this season is they have a solid defense that forces turnovers.
Fresno State’s run game is a concern without a standout back, but McMaryion is enough of a dual threat to balance the offense and a passer who makes few mistakes. This will likely be a one-possession game, and in the end, the Bulldogs should finally end their losing streak in Boise.
Prediction: Pick: Fresno State -2.5
Full-Game Total Pick
The teams have not cleared 45 points in the last three meetings, which include two games in Boise, and four of the last six overall. Against the other elite team in the Mountain West, the Broncos outslugged San Diego State 19-13 at home.
Fresno State has recorded 45 or fewer points in three of its conference victories, and its standout defense has held four of MWC teams to single digits. Another defensive battle should be in the cards here, with the teams likely combining for closer to 45 points as opposed to the 54 established.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 54 points
Full-Game Prop Bet
Boise State has bullied lesser schools and topped 21 points in just two of its four games against teams with a winning record. Additionally, BYU did enough to fluster the Broncos last week in holding them to 21, and Fresno State’s has delivered all season in conference play.
Prediction: Pick: Boise State UNDER 25.5 points
Half-Time Side Pick
Staying with the theme of believing Fresno State is the better team and will deliver in the first two quarters. The Bulldogs are a net plus-72 in the first half and should be able to find a way to lead at intermission.
Prediction: Pick: Fresno State -1
Half-Time Total Bet
Fresno State has given up just 30 first-half points in its five road games this season, and only 26 points in its five conference games. This is an aggressive pick considering Boise State has scored 97 first-half points at home, but its has struggled to move the ball against better teams.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 26.5 points
Half-Time Prop Prediction
Another confidence pick in Fresno State’s defense, but it is also a more straightforward play than the Bulldogs’ over/under of 14.5 points in the first half.
Prediction: Pick: Boise State UNDER 13.5 points