The #16 ranked Fresno State Bulldogs travel to Albertsons Stadium to face the Boise State Broncos on Friday 11/9/18 in a cross-division clash that has serious implications. With the possibility that the loser might miss the conference title game, this contest becomes a must-win situation for both teams.
The Bulldogs extended their winning streak to seven games with a 48-3 hammering of UNLV on the road last weekend. The win gave Fresno State a one game lead over San Diego State in the MWC West whom they will play next week at their home field. The Broncos’ hopes to forge a rematch of last season’s conference championship game are still alive as they trail Utah State by just one game in the Mountain division. With Boise State closing out their season against the Aggies, they need to win this game to keep those chances alive.
Fresno State announced its arrival by going 10-4 last season and winning a bowl game. After dropping to 1-1 early this season following a loss to Minnesota, they have won seven games in a row including five conference game to build on last season’s success. As it stands now, the Bulldogs look poised to make another conference title game appearance but they need to seal that deal on Friday.
Quarterback Marcus McMaryion has been spectacular this season. Fresno State’s star QB has completed 70.9% of his passes and thrown for 2416 yards this season with 20 touchdowns and just three interceptions. McMaryion has also rushed for 157 yards with seven rushing touchdowns scored this season. He faced Boise State twice last season, winning once and losing the other, and threw just two touchdowns with one interception while running for another two scores.
With the Boise State Broncos looking to return to the conference title game for the second consecutive season, they have turned to the veteran leadership of senior quarterback Brett Rypien to lead their charge. Rypien has thrown a total of 10 touchdowns with just one interception as the Broncos make a final charge at the playoffs.
Rypien has been very impressive to say the least this season. He’s thrown for 2,779 yards with 24 touchdowns and just six pickoffs. He is also completing 67.7% of his passes while leading the Broncos to the 11th best passing offense in the nation at 318.9 passing yards and the 22nd best offense at 38.0 points scored per game.
Fresno State is 5-0 SU in their last 5 games played and 4-1 SU in their last five games on the road. Meanwhile, Boise State is 16-3 SU in their last 19 games overall and 8-1 SU in their last nine games played at home. When playing Fresno State, Boise State is 10-2 SU in their last 12 games and also 5-0 SU at home against the Bulldogs.
Boise State has won 8 out of the last 10 meetings between these teams but only three out of the last five. Fresno State is 4-1 on the road this season while Boise State is 3-1 at home. Without a standout running back, Fresno State’s running game is a cause of concern. However. With McMaryion being a balanced quarterback who is a threat both from the pass and the run, the Bulldogs’ offense should be just fine here.
And don’t forget that Boise State defeated Fresno State in last season’s conference title game so there is that element of revenge in the minds of the Bulldogs which should give them extra motivation to win this one. We’re picking the Fresno State to defeat Boise State on 11/9/18.
Fresno State is 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games on the road and 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games overall. Boise State is only 6-15 ATS in their last 21 games at home and 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. Against the Bulldogs, the Broncos are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 games played but only 1-4 ATS in their last five games against each other. When playing at home though, the Broncos are 6-3 ATS in their last 9 games against the Bulldogs.
Boise State is also 1-4 ATS in their last five games against teams with a winning record and the home team is 1-4 ATS in the last five games between these teams. The Bulldogs meanwhile are 4-0 ATS in their last four Friday games, 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games against above .500 teams. More impressively, Fresno State is 14-2 ATS in their last 16 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.
The Bulldogs aren’t just 8-1 SU, they are also 8-1 ATS this season while the Broncos have struggled covering the spread at home the last two seasons. With Fresno State having the better all-around team, they won’t be intimidated by the Broncos’ Blue Field and should be able to take care of business with McMaryion leading them. Fresno State should win by more than a field goal. Prediction: Fresno State -3
The total has gone under in four out of the last five games played by Fresno State. The total has also gone under in 9 out of the last 10 road games played by the Bulldogs. The under is 17-8 in the last 25 home games of the Broncos and the total has gone under in four out of the last six games between Fresno State and Boise State. The under is also 4-2 in the Broncos’ last five home games against the Bulldogs.
The under is a good play here as this is a must win game for both teams. Being such, I expect the offenses to be more conservative to limit turnovers from both sides. The defenses should also be able to step up with their respective teams needing victories on Saturday. Both have good offensive quarterback but given what is at stake, this is likely going to be a defensive contest. Prediction: Under 54