CFB Fri: UTEP vs. Boise State Pick
When: Friday, September 10, 9:30 p.m.
Where: Albertson’s Stadium, Boise, Idaho
Point Spread: UTEP +26/BOISE -26 (Intertops - Sign up through our special link and use bonus code ROOKIE200 and you’ll receive a free $50 bet when you deposit $25 or more!)
Total: O/U 57
Boise State has to be kicking itself after the way it blew the lead against Central Florida in the opener, as the Broncos completely fell apart in the second half and allowed the Knights to overcome a big deficit and steal a win.
That potentially leaves UTEP in a tight spot, as the Miners now have to make the trip north to Idaho to try to beat a team that has won 19 consecutive home openers and hasn’t lost to an unranked team at home since a 2018 defeat against San Diego State. With Boise likely coming in ticked off after letting what would have been a signature win get away, this is probably not the time to expect much of anything out of the Miners.
How the Public is Betting the UTEP/Boise State Game
The public thinks this is too many points, as the line has shifted from 27 to 26. Apparently, the public believes in the Miners’ offense after its showings against New Mexico State and Bethune-Cookman, as the total has jumped from 55 to 57.
Defensive tackle Kelton Moss (undisclosed) is questionable while running back Deion Hankins (undisclosed) is out.
Quarterback Jack Sears (lower body) is questionable.
When UTEP Has the Ball
The difficulty curve spikes in a big way for the Miners, who have mostly done whatever they’ve wanted with the ball. The offense usually hasn’t been the problem for the Miners, who have all 11 starters back from last year and a solid option at quarterback in Gavin Hardison. Losing Hankins isn’t ideal, but Ronald Awatt was already on his way to taking the job anyway and chewed up Bethune-Cookman to the tune of 126 yards and a score last game. With how UCF ran over Boise State in the opener, the Miners will likely try to establish the ground game early and try to get the job done against a front seven that might be lacking in confidence.
However, that’s UCF’s offense, and Boise’s defense will likely be a much sterner test than either New Mexico State or Bethune-Cookman, even after giving up 255 rushing yards to the Knights. UTEP probably will have to opt for a Plan B at some point in the game; the Miners’ best hope is that they don’t have to turn to the Hardison-Tyrin Smith combination until the second half gets underway.
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When Boise State Has the Ball
The thing that has to scare the Broncos is that the ground game went absolutely nowhere against UCF. The Knights have been pretty decent against the run and have nine starters back on defense, but they still shouldn’t have been able to stop Boise as effectively as they did. Andrew Van Buren had one good run for 25 yards to set a up a touchdown, but his other nine runs went for one yard combined. Take out his one long run, and the Broncos would have rushed for negative-5 yards for the game.
The other reason the ground game went nowhere is that Boise got far too conservative, far too quickly. The Broncos decided the game was already over at 24-7 and played like they were trying to bleed the clock, which is the last thing you can do against UCF. It might not work any better against the Miners either: UTEP’s run defense held opponents to a reasonably decent 4.1 yards per carry last season. Boise’s best bet is to let Hank Bachmeier attack the UTEP pass defense, but the Broncos might choose to be stubborn and try to establish the ground game in order to prepare for Mountain West play — which would be disastrous for over bettors.
If you were willing to take the plunge with UTEP last season, it paid off for you because the Miners went 5-3 ATS and covered in four of their final five contests. However, UTEP has not done well against the Mountain West, failing to cover in five of their past six tries to beat a school from the larger league. Nor have the Miners done well in non-conference games: they have gone 3-9 ATS outside of C-USA over the past four seasons, and one was against an FCS team.
If you subscribe to the theory that good teams win and great teams cover, then Boise qualifies as a great team, having gone 6-2 ATS in their past eight games on the blue turf. Boise has also been as automatic as it gets in a home opener — it hasn’t lost its first home game of the season since 2002.
After a hot week in southwestern Idaho, a thunderstorm should help cool things off to an extent, as the temperature should slide into the low 60s and possibly into the 50s by kickoff. Up to a third of an inch of rain is possible.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
My big question here is whether Boise is committed to establishing the run or is content to win by any means necessary. If the Broncos are committed to moving it on the ground, then both this spread and the total are in serious trouble because a pair of teams that will likely be running the ball means a moving clock and a likelihood of a low total.
My best advice here is to watch for a series and see if Boise is committed to the ground or if the Broncos let Bachmeier take to the sky. If they go air, the over and the spread should both cash. If not, it’s likely an under game. If you can’t live bet, I’d lean toward the Broncos. This is a lot of points, but Boise is likely in a foul mood and should be looking to make a statement. I’ll take Boise State. Question: Did you know that you could be laying -105 odds on sides and totals instead of the more expensive -110 option that you’re getting sacked with? Dump your overpriced bookie TODAY and start taking advantage of saving money at lesser odds (on all sports!) at BetAnySports! We’ve advertised them for over 10 years with ZERO complaints!