Air Force Falcons vs. Boise State Broncos Pick 9/20/19
Air Force Falcons (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) vs. Boise State Broncos (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS)
College Football Week 4
Date and Time: Friday, September 20, 2019 at 9PM EDT
Where: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho
Point Spread: AFA +8 /BSU -8 (WagerWeb)
Over/Under Total: 55
The Air Force Falcons come into Albertsons Field to take on the Boise State Broncos in Mountain West Conference action on Friday night. Both teams open their conference schedules this week, as each enters this game unbeaten. Boise State, at 3-0, had an easy one last week when they made easy work of Portland State, 45-10. After taking off week two, Air Force got back to business last week with a big overtime win over Colorado on the road last Saturday. Last season, at Air Force, Boise State managed a 48-38 win in a game that featured nearly 1000 yards of total offense.
What Air Force Will Try to Do
The Air Force offensive approach is hardly a secret, as they have a run-heavy offense that is usually one of the more-prolific rushing attacks in the country. Last season, the Falcons did manage to put up over 200 yards of rushing against Boise State en route to putting up 38 points. But they averaged less than 4 yards a carry. They had some action aerially, with two TD passes and over 20 yards through the air. They started Donald Hammond, Jr. at quarterback against Colorado and it’s hard to think they’ll change now. He had some success both on the ground and through the air, throwing two TDs against the Buffaloes in a tough road-spot. With 146 yards rushing, Kadin Remsberg led the way, with Taven Birdow adding some nice production on the ground. Converted DB Benjamin Waters and Geraud Sanders had good days through the air. This whole offense is packed with experienced players who know what it’s like to be productive within this offense.
On defense, Air Force looked pretty good in holding Colorado to 23 points in an overtime game. Granted, after leading by 13 going into the fourth quarter, allowing two final-quarter touchdowns and depending on a failed extra-point was not a great look. But for most of the game, they held Colorado to very little. So when Air Force is able to do that to a Pac-12 team on the road, it’s worth some respect. But let’s face it, against a Boise offense that has already shown some sting this season, they will be tested to a higher degree. But this is big for Air Force. If they could string together consecutive road wins against Colorado and Boise State, it would give the whole program a big boost.
How Good is Boise?
Again, the Broncos look to be a major contender in the Mountain West Conference and we’ll see more this week about how they relate to their conference opponents, with a game against respected MWC power Air Force. Boise opened the season strongly in Florida with a big comeback win over the Seminoles, before beating Marshall in week two. On Saturday, they scored a routine home win over FCS opponent Portland State. They are nice and dug in at home, having been here since returning on September 1. They had it easy last week and should be nice and rested for their first real home-test.
There were questions about Boise State’s viability this season with some key departures. Now behind center is true freshman Hank Bachmeier, who was thrown into the fire early against FSU and came through with shining colors. His stats haven’t been sterling, and he has thrown a pick in each of his first three games, but he looks like a real up-and-comer. At the end of the day, he is averaging over 300 yards a game. He has won all three of his starts, and when tested on the young season, he has delivered. They’re looking for a star to develop among backs George Holani and Robert Mahone, while Bachmeier works with ball-catchers Khalil Shakir, CT Thomas, John Hightower, Akilian Butler, and John Bates.
The more-erratic part of the Boise State equation is their defense. Last season, they were mostly good, but with enough head-scratchers along the way to make them hard to read. This season, they look pretty good. They gave up some big plays early and look overwhelmed against FSU, before tightening up and playing “clutch ball” down the stretch. In their two games since, they have allowed a total of 17 points. Granted, that came against Marshall and Portland State. Still, last season, this Air Force team managed 38 points and if not for the big games of Brett Rypien and Alexander Mattison, two Boise stars who are no longer on the team, they wouldn’t have gotten the win.
Betting This Game
Against good conference teams, approaching a number approaching double-digits isn’t always the best spot for Boise. They thrived in the role of road-underdog already this season and technically did cover against Portland State at home last week. But they didn’t cover against Marshall in a more-comparable spot. They’re not yet a reliable high-output Boise offense. They could be. We could see it surface in this spot. Still, you have an Air Force squad that looks decent this season on limited information—an overtime triumph over Colorado and a win over Colgate where it’s hard to glean any real nuggets of information. But if you look at last year’s game and who is more likely to produce less, you would perhaps think the Boise State offense. And with this number and the relentless Air Force attack, they’re going to need to put up points.
Soar with the Falcons
If the Air Force defense can put forth a more-complete effort on Friday, I see them curtailing a Boise State offense that is still cementing guys in key positions, including QB and lead back. The information pool is shallow, but the Air Force defense looks better than last season. And they’ve shown they can thrive on offense against this group. I see this being a well-contested football game with Air Force running the ball and playing enough “D” to keep this one in the ballpark. I’ll take Air Force and the points.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Air Force Falcons plus points.
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