Utah State vs. Boise State College Basketball Odds & Pick: Can the Aggies Get the Split? (Friday, Feb. 19)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: The Utah State Aggies.
- Boise State and Utah State meet for the second time this week after a Wednesday win by the Broncos.
- Stuckey bet Boise State in the first matchup but sees value on the visiting Aggies Friday night.
- Check out Stuckey's full betting preview and pick for this game below.
Utah State vs. Boise State Odds
Boise State took down Utah State on Wednesday night in the first of a two-game set with massive implications not only for the Mountain West standings but also for each team’s at-large chances.
With that victory, the Broncos took over first place in the MWC at 13-3 in league play, with both Utah State and Colorado State tied for second at 11-3. San Diego State, probably the safest bet to make the dance, sits at 9-3 in Mountain West play. There’s certainly a very realistic chance that four teams end up in your bracket from the Mountain West for the first time since 2013.
I actually bet on Boise State on Wednesday night, but there are reasons to potentially consider the other side here.
Reasons for Optimism in the Rematch
Prior to that game on Wednesday night, the Aggies were coming off a two-week hiatus, which has not served teams well this season.
Plus, they had to make do without freshman starting point guard Rollie Worster, who sat out for the first time all year with a boot on his foot. It doesn’t sound like it will be a long-term injury, but I’d be shocked if he suits up tonight.
As a result of Worster’s absence, fellow freshman Steven Ashworth got his first career start and didn’t fare too well, finishing with only five points and one assist. In fairness, that’s a tough spot for a freshman after a two-week layoff.
While Utah State’s offense has performed more efficiently with Worster on the court for the season, I expect Ashworth and the entire team to perform much better this time around. Utah State also just had an off-shooting night — maybe not too surprising after a two-week break — shooting just 3-of-16 from beyond the arc for a team that’s shooting north of 35% from deep in league play.
Still, even with the loss of Worster, a two-week layoff and a poor shooting performance, I thought Utah State had a pretty impressive showing. The Aggies actually led at the half and trailed by only one with five minutes to go before Boise ultimately pulled away for a seven-point win.
The Broncos simply had no answer for 7-foot junior big man Neemias Queta, who abused the Broncos in the post all night long. Queta posted a career-high 32 points to go along with 10 boards.
I’m not sure there’s anything Boise can do differently in the rematch. Head coach Leon Rice could decide to double Queta religiously, but that would leave plenty of open looks for capable shooters on the perimeter.
Boise did have a decent night offensively against a very stingy Utah State defense. However, it’s not a great matchup on paper for the Broncos.
Utah State is elite defensively in transition and its defense is designed to take away anything at the rim. That’s important against a Boise State team that likes to get out in transition and has countless options on the perimeter that can get to the hoop off the dribble. (It doesn’t hurt to have the massive Queta protecting the basket.) It forced Boise State into countless tough outside shots, which the Broncos started to make late when they pulled away.
It’s worth noting that Boise guard Devonaire Doutrive (8.5 PPG) didn’t play due to a dental emergency, so I wouldn’t be shocked if we see him back in the rotation Friday night.
Betting Analysis & Pick
After coming back from a two-week break, getting a game under its belt will serve Utah State well, especially in its first game without Worster. I expect a much sharper offensive effort and a better shooting night in Game 2.
I’m also a big fan of head coach Craig Smith, who I think will make a few key adjustments that will ultimately prove to be the difference in what should be a competitive game. If Boise State makes a bunch of tough shots again, I’ll tip my cap, but give me the points with Utah State.
Pick: Utah State +1.5 or better.