College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Fresno State vs. Wyoming: Bulldogs Have Advantages Across Board
Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images
- Fresno State and Wyoming are both coming off losses, but the Cowboys are seeking their first Mountain West win.
- The Bulldogs feature an elite, three-headed monster on offense, consisting of Jake Haener, Ronnie Rivers and Jalen Cropper.
- Mike Ianniello previews the showdown and offers up his best bet.
Fresno State vs. Wyoming Odds
|Fresno State Odds||-3.5 (-110)|
|Wyoming Odds||+3.5 (-110)|
|Moneyline||-160 / +140|
|Over/Under||53.5 (-110 / -110)|
|Time||3:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.|
In Kalen DeBoer’s second year, Fresno State has already won more games than last year’s 3-3 team. The Bulldogs upset UCLA in the Rose Bowl and nearly beat Oregon in Eugene.
Wyoming is 4-1 but has looked shaky in its wins. It beat Montana State by just three, almost blew a huge lead to Northern Illinois and only beat UConn by two. The Cowboys lost to Air Force by 10 last week in their Mountain West opener.
The Cowboys do have room for error in the Mountain Division with Boise State off to a slow start, but on the flip side, the Bulldogs have to deal with San Diego State and Nevada on their path to the Mountain West title game.
Fresno State vs. Wyoming Betting Preview
Fresno State Offense
If you want to watch a fun offense with a dynamic three-headed monster, boy are the Bulldogs the team for you.
Fresno State ranks seventh in the country in yards per game (519.8) and sit 13th with 39 points per game.
After leading the Mountain West in passing yards per game last season, quarterback Jake Haener has been even better this year. He ranks fourth in the country, averaging 371.7 yards per game, and is fifth with 19 passing touchdowns.
Haener is averaging 9.4 yards per attempt and is completing 70% of his passes. Most of those passes have gone to star receiver Jalen Cropper.
Cropper leads the country with nine receiving touchdowns and has caught a TD in every game this season.
The Jake Haener to Jalen Cropper combo has been lethal tonight. Haener has 4 TD passes & Cropper has 3 TD receptions.
FRESNO STATE 29
— CFB Blitz (@BlitzCfb) September 25, 2021
All-Mountain West running back Ronnie Rivers has not been as effective as he was last year, but the speedster is still averaging 70 yards per game on the ground and 39.2 yards receiving. Rivers is third on the team in receptions behind Cropper and Josh Kelly.
Once this team gets moving and past the 40-yard line, get ready to change the scoreboard because they are the best in the country at finishing drives.
Fresno State Defense
Just because the offense gets all the headlines, do not sleep on this Bulldogs defense. This unit returned 10 starts from last year and is third in the conference in yards per game (319.2).
Pick your poison against Fresno State, as it is really good in every aspect of the game. It ranks sixth in Pass Success Rate, 17th in Coverage Grade and 36th in Rush Success Rate.
Defensive coordinator William Inge came over from Indiana two years ago and implemented a 4-2-5 defensive scheme that is designed to create pressure on the quarterback, and the team has thrived on doing just that.
Last season, the Bulldogs were third in country in Sack Rate and ranked 23rd in Havoc. Well, that has been their calling card again this year, sitting third in the country in Havoc Rate.
Up front Kevin Atkins and Arron Mosby have been game-wreckers in the opponent’s backfield. They have combined for 7.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss. Fresno ranks fourth in the country in tackles for loss this year.
Because they are so good at creating pressure with just their defensive line and don’t need to take risks, the Bulldogs are seventh in the country at preventing big plays.
Safety Evan Williams flies around the Bulldogs’ secondary. He leads the team in tackles and helps keep everything in front of him.
This unit is headed in the wrong direction.
Over the last four weeks, they have scored 50 points, 45 points, 24 points and just 14 last week. Their total yards have trended in the same direction, going 395, 378, 352 and just 257 last week.
Veteran quarterback Sean Chambers is in his fourth season in Laramie, but has been limited by injuries over the last two seasons. He started three contests as a true freshman in 2018, started eight games in 2019 before a season-ending injury and got hurt in the season opener last year.
Chambers is probably best described as a “game-manager” as he is completing just 54% of his passes this season for six touchdowns and three interceptions. He is averaging 178.6 pass yards per game.
Wyoming is just 76th in Pass Success Rate, but it ranks 39th in Rush Success.
Rushing the ball is how the Cowboys want their offense to operate.
All-Mountain West running back Xazavian Valladay is in his third year as the main workhorse back. He averaged over 100 yards per game in each of the last two seasons and sits at 87.2 yards per game this year. He is averaging over 5.1 yards per carry for the fourth straight year.
Defense has long been the calling card for the Cowboys. Last year, they ranked in the top 25 in Passing Success, Havoc, Line Yards, Finishing Drives and tackling.
Despite returning 10 starters and expecting to be one of the conference’s top defenses, Wyoming has taken a bit of a step back this year.
The Cowboys are still pretty good against the pass, ranking 37th, but they are just 55th in Rush Success, 107th in Havoc, and 61st in tackling.
A big concern is those numbers have dipped despite playing Montana State, Northern Illinois, Ball State, UConn and Air Force. They have been able to shut down the pass, though, allowing less than 250 pass yards in every game this year.
Cornerback C.J. Coldon is their best cover guy and ranks second in the conference with seven passes broken up. Wyoming ranks sixth in the country in coverage grade.
The heart and soul of Wyoming’s defense is senior linebacker Chad Muma. He leads the team in tackles and is third in the Mountain West in tackles per game. Pro Football Focus has him graded as the best linebacker in the entire country.
Fresno State vs. Wyoming Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Fresno State and Wyoming match up statistically:
Fresno State Offense vs. Wyoming Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Wyoming Offense vs. Fresno State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||72||119|
|Plays per Minute||43||95|
|Rush Rate||43.3% (121)||61.2% (28)|
Fresno State vs. Wyoming Betting Pick
Wyoming’s defense has been lockdown against the pass this season and is allowing just a 57.4% completion percentage to opposing quarterbacks. But the best quarterback they have faced so far is probably Rocky Lombardi.
Haener will be the best passer they have seen by a wide margin and slowing down Cropper and Kelly will be by far their biggest challenge.
Fresno State clearly has the advantage on offense here, but its defense has also been better this season. Wyoming clearly wants to establish the run and will have a difficult time against the Bulldogs’ top-25 rush defense.
The way Fresno State is able to prevent big plays will force Chambers to use his arm to consistently move the ball down the field, which he has not proven he can do. When the Cowboys have to pass, that is when the Bulldogs dial up the pressure and create Havoc.
Fresno State has beaten Wyoming in four of the last five years. After a bad game on Hawaii, the Bulldogs are coming off a bye week and will be fresh and ready to go. They should have an advantage on offense, defense and special teams.
Give me the Bulldogs.