Boise State Goes after a Record 4th Mountain West Crown
When Fresno State fell to 1-3 following a stunning loss to UConn, there was little talk about the Bulldogs reaching the Mountain West Championship Game for the first time since winning the 2018 title. However, a seven-game winning streak has Fresno State playing in its fifth Mountain West title tilt.
This will be the fourth time the teams have played for the Mountain West championship. Boise State won 28-14 in 2014 and 17-14 in 2017 while Fresno State won 19-16 in overtime in 2017 when listed by the college football odds as 9½-point underdogs.
Boise State not only went 8-0 in conference play but the Broncos led the Mountain West with 277 points scored and only 114 points allowed. Now the Las Vegas odds have the Broncos as slight favorites.
Boise State narrowly missed cracking the Top 25 in both national polls in the final regular-season rankings, coming in with the 29th most points in the American Football Coaches Association poll and 30th in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Health Haener Making Up for Lost Time
Fresno State lost two of its games when starting quarterback Jake Haener was sidelined. One of those was the 40-20 loss to Boise State. Since coming back he has completed 75% of his passes for 1,578 yards to go with 13 touchdown passes and two interceptions.
The Broncos averaged 23 points in the four games he missed and 39 in the five contests since he has returned.
Jalen Moreno-Cropper needs 16 yards to become the first Fresno State receiver with 1,000 receiving yards in a season since KeeSean Johnson in 2018.
It won’t be easy as Boise State leads the conference by limiting teams to a passer rating of 106.36 with 13 interceptions and 10 touchdown passes.
Fresno State has covered against the college football betting lines in five of the last seven games.
Scoop on Free Play from the Locker Room
Hitting the Ground Running
Running back George Holani has certainly enjoyed his two previous matchups against Fresno State with 117 and 157 rushing yards. He added 74 yards and a receiving touchdown.
Boise State is 13-0 over the last four seasons when Holani runs for at least 100 yards. He was held to 52.3 rushing yards and 3.9 yards per carry in the three losses this season. His presence has taken the pressure off freshman quarterback Taylen Green who hasn’t thrown an interception in his last five games.
#𝙈𝙒𝙁𝘽𝘾𝙝𝙖𝙢𝙥𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨𝙝𝙞𝙥 𝙍𝙚𝙥𝙤𝙧𝙩@Bridget_Howard8 reports on how a mid-season QB change helped ignite a title run for @BroncoSportsFB while @JKurtz_MWN explains that the much-improved @FresnoStateFB defense has a score to settle on Saturday.#BleedBlue | #GoDogs pic.twitter.com/ITJnlaxSdK
— Mountain West (@MountainWest) December 1, 2022
Holani had plenty of help as offensive lineman John Ojukwu was a first-team All-Mountain West selection for the second year in a row.
Fresno State has allowed seven touchdown runs in conference play and that is tied with Air Force for the Mountain West lead.
The top nine tacklers for Fresno State are either juniors or seniors so it will be an intriguing matchup.
Fresno State has covered against the Las Vegas odds in six of its last eight games.
Fresno State vs Boise State Injuries
Fresno State vs Boise State Head-to-Head
Boise State has won the last two games against Fresno State and that included a 40-20 win on Oct. 8 when the Bulldogs were listed by the sportsbook as 10½-point favorites.
The Broncos have won 13 of the last 16 games in the series. However, Fresno State has covered in five of the last eight matchups.
Six straight games between the teams went under the total before this season’s matchup went well over the 45-point total.
Fresno State vs Boise State Game Information
- Game: Fresno State (8-4, 7-1 SEC) vs Boise State (9-3, 8-0)
- Day/Time: Saturday, Dec. 3, 4 p.m. ET
- Location: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho
- Fresno State vs Boise State Live Stream: ESPN
Fresno State vs Boise State Betting Lines
Fresno State vs Boise State Picks & Prediction
Boise State takes a 5-1 home record into its sixth Mountain West Championship Game appearance. The Broncos covered against the college football odds in four of those games with five of those going over the total. Fresno State has covered just two of its four road games.
Receiver Stefan Cobbs and Cole Wright, tight end Riley Smith, and safety Tyreque Jones are questionable for Boise State. Cobbs is third on the team with 396 receiving yards while Smith has 20 catches in nine games. Jones had 34 tackles and three pass breakups.
The teams are among the best in the Mountain West in a red zone defense. Opponents scored touchdowns on just 11 of 27 red-zone drives against Boise State. Fresno State has allowed 21 touchdowns in 43 possessions that reached the red zone.
The total opened at 51 and has moved to 54 with the point spread going from 5.5 to 3.
The Boise State Broncos are listed at -155 in our Vegas NCAAF lines. This means that if you wager $100 on Broncos, you have a chance to win $65. The Fresno State Bulldogs are +135, offering a chance to win $135 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives Boise State Broncos a 60.78% chance to win, with Fresno State Bulldogs at 42.55%.
The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.