Boise State-Boston College Betting Guide: Wind Plummets Total in First Responder Bowl
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Brett Rypien and AJ Dillon
2018 First Responder Bowl Betting Odds: Boise State-Boston College
- Odds: Boise State -2.5
- Over/Under: 50.5
- Date: Wednesday, Dec. 26
- Location: Dallas, Texas
- Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
>> All odds as of Tuesday afternoon. Download The Action Network App to get real-time bowl odds and win probabilities on your bets.
Boise State fell just short of the Mountain West title and gets a post-Christmas date against Boston College.
The Eagles have missed star running back AJ Dillon for much of the second half of this season, and hope to welcome him back against the Broncos’ stout run defense.
Odds Movement for Boise State-Boston College
By Steve Petrella
Pinnacle opened Boise State -3.5 in early-December and bettors immediately moved that line down to -3. It continued to -2.5 in middle of the month and even fell as far as -2, but has since settled back to -2.5.
The total plummeted on Christmas Eve due to poor impending weather, dropping all the way from 56.5 to 50.5 at most books across the market.
Weather Playing a Role in Line Moves
By Steve Petrella
This game is expected to have 20+ mph winds and rain throughout the afternoon. That’s dropped the total five points in the last two days.
Games with wind of at least 20 mph are 66-39-3 (62.9%) to the under since 2005.
Dillon Injury Looms Large
By Steve Petrella
AJ Dillon is one of the nation’s best running backs. He ran for 1,108 yards and 10 scores and fuels BC’s rushing attack.
Dillon has been playing with an ankle injury since early October, and hasn’t been the same since. The Eagles are hopeful he’ll both play and be at 100% Wednesday, which could be a game changer. They’ll also have quarterback Anthony Brown back to full health after he suffered an abdominal injury against Clemson in mid-November.
Boise State is missing several depth pieces to injury and academic issues, including its fourth-leading receiver and third-leading running back.
Trends to Know for First Responder Bowl
By John Ewing
No. 25 Boise State is the favorite. Since 2005, Top 25 teams favored in bowl games have gone 84-103-2 (44.9%) against the spread (ATS).
By Evan Abrams
Boston College is the lone team this bowl season to enter its game losing at least three consecutive games both straight-up (SU) and ATS.
Since 2005, teams that enter bowl season on at least a 3-game SU and ATS losing streak are 8-5-1 ATS, but they’ve covered the spread by 5.9 points per game.
Third Downs Will Make the Difference
Boise could win this game on third downs, where it ranks top 10 nationally in conversion percentage on both offense and defense. In fact, only Alabama and Army had a higher conversion rate on offense than the Broncos.
That could doom a Boston College team that finished middle of the road on defense and a very troubling 114th in the nation on third downs on offense (33.9%).
Who’s More Motivated?
Boise will play in an impressive 17th straight bowl. Only Virginia Tech, LSU, Oklahoma and Georgia have longer active streaks.
But while Boise hinted it wanted to play outside of its stadium and against a Power 5 team, which it will, I do worry about the Broncos’ motivation after the way their season ended. It ended in similar fashion in 2016 and they laid an egg in the Cactus Bowl (also right after Christmas) against a pretty average Baylor team. They also are dealing with a number of injuries and a few ineligible players at receiver.
BC doesn’t have as impressive of a streak, but the Eagles have made bowls in each of the past two seasons (and four of the last five). I’m a big believer in Steve Adazzio in these spots and think we will get the best effort from an Eagles team that’s as healthy as it has been all season.
This should provide a good refocus spot to end the year on a high note after ending the regular season on a three-game skid.
Bet to Watch
By Collin Wilson
Although it is a very undesirable time slot, being the first game on the day after Christmas, this is a good spot for Boise State. The Broncos had made it known that they had two needs for bowl season: a non-Potato Bowl matchup and a Power 5 opponent. Although this game is billed as being played in Dallas, do not be fooled as the venue is the old Cotton Bowl where they will struggle to draw more than a handful of fans.
The Action Network power ratings make this game a pick’em with a total of 57, while S&P+ projects Boise State -9. The early time slot and post-Christmas date may be conducive to a slow start, as the Broncos and Eagles have combined to go 9-1 to the under in their last five respective games.
There are plenty of similarities between the two teams statistically. Boston College is 40th in strength of schedule S&P+ to Boise’s 49th, while each have a special teams S&P+ rank below 115th overall.
The differences start in success rate and third downs, which lead us to a play on Boise State. The Broncos rank 15th in overall offensive success rate compared to the Eagles at 110. A potentially injury-slowed AJ Dillon at running back could make things even more tough for Boston College, which is 115th in third down conversion percentage compared to Boise at third in the nation.
Throw in some stout rush defense by Boise State, ranking 21st in opportunity rate and 27th in stuff rate, and we will look to action down on the Broncos.
Collin’s Pick: Boise State -2.5
I actually disagree with Collin on the side here. None of the BC offensive stats will wow you, but the Eagles also dealt with injuries to their starting quarterback and running back all season. This is as healthy as they have been all year.
And I think the defense actually matches up well with Boise. Look out for stud defensive ends Zach Allen and Wyatt Ray off the edge. I think they can exploit a vulnerable Boise offensive line, similar to what Oklahoma State did in the only other game the Broncos played a Power 5 opponent. BC also features a very solid secondary (led by two stout safeties) that can contain Brett Rypien and the Boise passing attack.
I think the Eagles will win this game in the trenches and out-physical Boise in what should be a low-scoring affair, which is where I do agree with Collin. While BC is a hare, ranking in the top 5 in Adjusted Pace, it does run the ball a ton (top 25 in run rate on standard and passing downs).
And Boise is a snail, ranking 87th in Adjusted Pace. The Broncos allowed an average of only 17.4 points per game over their final five games, four of which came against bowl teams, and none scored more than 24.
Stuckey’s Pick: Boston College +2.5