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Air Force vs. Boise State College Football Odds, Pick, Prediction: Can Broncos Spoil Falcons’ Mountain West Hopes?

Air Force vs. Boise State College Football Odds, Pick, Prediction: Can Broncos Spoil Falcons’ Mountain West Hopes? article feature image

Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Air Force quarterback Haaziq Daniels.

  • Air Force and Boise State meet for an important Mountain West Conference matchup.
  • While the Broncos have disappointed this year, the Falcons are in line for a conference championship berth.
  • Check out Darin Gardner's breakdown and top pick for the game, below.

Air Force vs. Boise State Odds

Air Force Odds +4 (-114)
Boise State Odds -4 (-107)
Moneyline +145 / -165
Over/Under 51.5 (-107 / -114)
Time 9 p.m. ET
Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

With how the Mountain West is shaking out so far in 2021, this matchup could have big implications in the conference title race.

Air Force enters the game with just one loss under its belt, while Boise State sits at .500 on the season. It got back into the win column against BYU last week, but there’s no question that this season has been a disappointment for the Broncos in head coach Andy Avalos’ first year.

The Broncos were heavy favorites in the Mountain West conference going into the year, but if Air Force can pull off a win here, it will be set up very well in the Mountain division of the conference.

Will the Falcons, who entered the season with +3000 odds to win the Mountain West, be able to cause problems for this Boise State defense with its triple-option attack?

Air Force vs. Boise State Betting Preview

Saturday, Oct. 16
9:00 p.m. ET

Air Force Falcons

Air Force Offense

The Air Force triple-option attack has been very effective halfway into the season. It ranks 25th in expected points added (EPA) per play overall and has actually been able to find some major explosiveness in the passing game when it does decide to go to the air.

Air Force quarterback Haaziq Daniels is averaging 11.5 yards per attempt on 43 passes this year, which is higher than every other starter in the nation aside from Coastal Carolina’s Grayson McCall.

It’s not a focal point of the offense by any means, but Air Force can hit some devastating shots through the air when defenses start focusing too much on stopping this very efficient ground game.

On the ground, Air Force ranks eighth in the country in PFF run blocking grade despite replacing every starter on the offensive line after 2020. I

n fact, four of the seven highest PFF-graded offensive linemen in the Mountain West are members of this Air Force front. This group has made the job of the ball carriers much easier and has the Falcons ranking 14th nationally in Rushing Success Rate.

Air Force Defense

The strength of this defense is the pass rush, considering it leads the country in pressure rate.

Edge defender Vince Sanford ranks ninth among all players at that position in PFF pass rushing grade and his 6.5 sacks are tied for second in the nation.

Linebacker Demonte Meeks has also been productive in that regard, as he’s generated 3.5 sacks on just 34 pass rushing snaps, per PFF.

Overall, this pass defense ranks 21st in yards per attempt allowed. It had a rough day in coverage in the team’s only loss this year, against Utah State, but has been very productive in the three weeks since.

In those contests, Air Force is allowing just 4.8 yards per pass attempt on 84 opponent passes and allowed a completion percentage below 40% in two of those contests.

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Boise State Broncos

Boise State Offense

There hasn’t been much of a running game to speak of for the Broncos. Boise State has three running backs with 30 or more carries on the year and none of the three are averaging more than 3.6 yards per rush.

Overall, the Broncos are a bottom-10 rushing team in terms of Success Rate and the offensive line has been a major reason why. It ranks 128th in Line Yards and 82nd in stuff rate, which hasn’t given these running backs much to work with this season.

The pass game has been much better for the Broncos and it features one of the best outside weapons in the country in wide receiver Khalil Shakir. His 584 receiving yards rank eighth in the country and his 7.6 yards after the catch per reception ranks third in the country among receivers with at least 50 targets, per PFF.

Quarterback Hank Bachmeier has largely been solid this year, with a PFF passing grade that is good for 43rd in the country. He’s not a quarterback that will strike a lot of fear into defenses, but he has been a reliable starter, and has been able to distribute the ball to a talented group of pass catchers.

Boise State Defense

The weakest part of this defense has been defending the run, which isn’t optimal against the offense that Boise State will be seeing Saturday.

The Falcons should have the advantage in the trenches, facing a Boise State front that ranks 99th in Line Yards.

The Broncos struggled with the Air Force ground game in last season’s game, allowing 415 rushing yards on 66 carries, and it really hasn’t shown anything to believe this year’s result will be much different.

In the back end, Boise State has been solid against the pass despite a weak pass rushing unit. There really hasn’t been a red flag from this unit in any game this season, as it hasn’t allowed more than nine yards per attempt in any contest.

The key for this unit against Air Force will be to stay responsible and avoid getting too wrapped up in the run game because the Falcons have proven that they can really make people pay for that through the air.

Air Force vs. Boise State Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Air Force and Boise State match up statistically:

Air Force Offense vs. Boise State Defense
Rush Success 14 54
Line Yards 66 70
Pass Success 100 43
Pass Blocking** 67 123
Big Play 118 64
Havoc 6 61
Finishing Drives 48 17
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Boise State Offense vs. Air Force Defense
Rush Success 121 4
Line Yards 128 43
Pass Success 22 15
Pass Blocking** 92 10
Big Play 101 42
Havoc 92 8
Finishing Drives 69 52
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 9 95
Coverage 35 7
Middle 8 48 93
SP+ Special Teams 107 25
Plays per Minute 126 37
Rush Rate 90.1% (2) 50.6% (88)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

Air Force’s pass rush has an advantageous matchup against this Boise State offensive line, as the national leader in pressure rate will be taking on a front that ranks 92nd in pressure rate allowed.

Last week was actually the first time all season that the Broncos didn’t allow double-digit pressures in a game, per PFF.

On the other side, Air Force’s productive running game should have no issue with Boise State’s front. The Broncos’ defense has been very solid against the pass, but that will play a minimum factor.

This defense has proven to be vulnerable up front, so it’s hard to not see Air Force having a good day on the ground.

Air Force vs. Boise State Betting Pick

Air Force has seemed to have the line move in its direction every week after the openers come out and this week is no different. The Falcons opened as a seven-point underdog in some places, but the sharp money has pushed that line all the way down to four in favor of the Broncos.

Personally, my numbers give Air Force a 43% win probability against Boise State, which would imply a moneyline just barely above +130 odds. With most books offering the Falcons around +155, that is a buy for me.

I really like how Air Force stacks up here, and think it has a good shot at an outright win against a Boise State team that is weak in run defense and overmatched against this pass rush.

Give me a shot on Air Force outright in a game that has big-time conference championship implications.

Pick: Air Force +155

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