College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Nevada vs. Boise State: How To Bet This Matchup
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- Boise State and Nevada square off in a critical Mountain West battle.
- The Broncos are coming off a big win over Utah State, while the Wolf Pack had a bye last week.
- Stuckey previews the matchup and provides his best bet.
Nevada vs. Boise State Odds
|Nevada Odds||+5 (-110)|
|Boise State Odds||-5 (-110)|
|Moneyline||+170 / -200|
|Over/Under||59.5 (-105 / -115)|
|Time||3:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.|
We have a major Mountain West showdown on Saturday afternoon in Albertsons Stadium between the two preseason favorites to play for the conference title.
While this game might not decide either team’s fate — since they each reside in different divisions — the victor will have a much easier path to winning its respective division.
It’s probably even more important for Nevada to get a win since it plays in the much tougher West Division.
The Wolf Pack got a much-needed bye last week after facing two Power Five teams on the road over the first three weeks. They split those games, plus added a blowout win over FCS Idaho State to put them at 2-1 on the season.
Nevada did lose, 38-17, at Kansas State, but it’s worth noting that game was tied 17-17 heading into the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, Boise State comes into this contest with a 2-2 record, including a conference victory over Utah State last week. Its two losses came by a combined six points against very formidable opponents.
It actually led UCF, 21-0, on the road before collapsing late, and went down against Oklahoma State, 21-20, thanks to a botched call by an official who blew his whistle when Boise State was returning a fumble for a touchdown. The Broncos then had the game-winning field goal attempt blocked.
You could easily argue Boise State could have a 4-0 record this season, but it did get quite fortunate last week against Utah State. The 27-3 final score looks like a blowout, but the Aggies actually outgained the Broncos (443-435) but just had too many costly turnovers and penalties.
Boise State has absolutely dominated this rivalry over the past two decades. It has won 16-of-17 meetings since 1999, including six straight since 2011. The last Nevada win came in Reno back in 2010 with Colin Kaepernick under center when it ended No. 3 Boise State’s BCS hopes in an overtime thriller.
Will Boise continue its dominance or can Nevada flip the script on the road?
Let’s take a closer look at each team and the matchup from a betting perspective.
Nevada vs. Boise State Betting Preview
Strong Passing Attack
Nevada features a very efficient passing attack, led by potential first-round draft pick quarterback Carson Strong. It’s a modified Air Raid attack out of the pistol formation.
Strong has a number of weapons on the outside to work with, led by wide receiver Romeo Doubs and tight end Cole Turner.
The Wolf Pack did recently lose star wide receiver Elijah Cooks for the season to an injury. He had four touchdowns already and Nevada will certainly miss him out there.
That said, he also essentially missed all of last season after getting hurt in the opener. The offense ended up fine and his replacement, Tory Horton, had three touchdowns in one game against Fresno State last year.
Nevada did return four of five offensive linemen, led by tackle Jacob Gardner, and both top backs in Toa Taua and Devonte Lee.
However, the offensive line has really struggled to start the season and Nevada has had no ground game to speak of.
While it’s one of the most pass-heavy offenses in the country, the complete lack of balance is worrying.
The Wolf Pack rank 105th nationally in yards per carry (3.4) but the picture gets much uglier if you remove their game against Idaho State. Nevada averaged only 2.3 and 1.1 yards per rush against Cal and Kansas State, respectively.
Nevada Showing Leaky Run Defense
Nevada has had major issues stopping the run this season. The Wolf Pack rank 128th in the country in both Line Yards and Rush Success Rate. Kansas State absolutely shredded them in this department, rushing for 269 yards.
They do have an excellent defensive lineman in Dom Peterson and can get after the quarterback some, but this is a front that can really get pushed around by bigger offensive lines.
The linebackers have also really struggled in Nevada’s 4-2-5 base defense.
The secondary hasn’t really been tested yet, but I’m a fan of cornerback Berdale Robins.
Nevada also brought in two promising transfers in the defensive backfield in Bentlee Sanders (USF) and Isaiah Essissima (Wake Forest). They both should benefit from the bye week after getting three games under their belts in a new scheme.
It’s worth noting that starting strong safety Tyson Williams will miss this game with an injury.
Broncos Have Lack of Offensive Balance
In the offseason, Boise State brought in new head coach Andy Avalos to replace Bryan Harsin, who left for the same position at Auburn.
Avalos is a defensive guy, so he brought in Tim Plough to serve as offensive coordinator and run a more fast-paced, creative offense.
Hank Bachmeier returned under center along with very talented senior wide receiver Khalil Shakir. The offensive line has not thrived in pass protection, but Boise’s passing attack has fared relatively well overall.
Similar to Nevada, the problems lie with the rushing attack, which has been basically nonexistent. Boise’s 2.5 yards per carry ranks 125th in FBS, which also plagued the Broncos last year when they averaged only 3.3 yards per rush (111th).
The offensive line just can’t seem to generate any push or create enough holes for a running back group that saw the return of 2019 leading rusher George Holani.
Boise State’s Worrying Defensive Signs
Coming into the season, Boise had high hopes for a defense that returned nine starters.
The biggest worry coming into the season was at cornerback after it lost two senior starters on the outside, but the safety group at least boasts an abundance of experience.
Boise had particularly high hopes for its front seven, led by an experienced defensive line and a very strong trio of linebackers.
However, things haven’t necessarily played out how the Broncos anticipated for a unit that has allowed 4.5 yards per carry (96th). And if you remove the UTEP game, the numbers get even uglier:
- UCF: 48 carries, 255 yards (5.3)
- Oklahoma State: 57 carries, 247 yards (4.2)
- Utah State: 42 carries, 235 yards (5.6)
The Oklahoma State numbers rang the most alarm bells for me as the Cowboys have had no semblance of a rushing attack in their other games. The Pokes averaged only 2.9 yards per carry in their three other games against Tulsa, Kansas State and FCS Missouri State.
So, what happened? Well, the Broncos took some massive hits along the defensive line. Starting nose tackle Scale Igiehon took a leave of absence and Divine Obichere’s status remains unknown after missing last week.
They also have a few other depth guys that have yet to be cleared, so the interior of this unit is a shell of what the Broncos expected.
Boise’s safeties have been outstanding to start the year, but they’re making way too many tackles. That’s usually not a good sign.
On top of the front seven struggles, Boise State is giving up way too many explosive plays. The Broncos rank No. 116 in 20+ plays allowed this season.
They’ve thrived in the red zone, but I’m not sure they can rely on that against a Nevada offense led by a future NFL quarterback.
Nevada vs. Boise State Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Nevada and Boise State match up statistically:
Nevada Offense vs. Boise State Defense
Boise State Offense vs. Nevada Defense
Pace of Play / Other
The good news for Nevada’s worrisome run defensive metrics is that Boise State has one of the worst rush offenses in the country to date.
On the flip side, I wouldn’t put too much stock into Nevada’s better looking defensive numbers against the pass. They played Idaho State, Cal and Kansas State (with its backup QB). Plus, those teams didn’t need to pass much since they had so much success on the ground.
Nevada vs. Boise State Betting Pick
The bye week should do wonders for Nevada in preparation for this game, especially considering head coach Jay Norvell’s bunch had some things to clean up.
Plus, they have tape on how Boise finally found a way to get its run game going a bit last week by calling more exotic runs with its non-running backs.
And as I mentioned previously, Boise State has really struggled along the defensive line in terms of both generating pressure and stopping the run. That leaves the Broncos in a bind as they can’t simply sit back with six defensive backs to take away explosive plays like Kansas State did against Nevada.
If it sends more help against a Nevada rushing attack that could finally get going here, Boise’s problems in giving up explosive plays could rear its ugly head against a team that can connect on them as well as anybody.
On the other side of the ball, Boise’s offensive line has also really struggled to generate a push, which means Nevada might finally not get gashed on the ground.
Both fronts rank 128th nationally in Line Yards. Therefore, as long as the Pack can contain Shakir, they can contain this Boise offense.
Ultimately, I show value on the Wolf Pack at the current market line of +6.5 and also see a few key advantages on both sides of the ball.
However, I’m going to wait to see if I can grab a +7 at any point prior to kick before pulling the trigger.
I’m trusting the better quarterback catching close to a touchdown off of a bye in a matchup of two teams that have had issues in the trenches to start the season.