Boise State vs. Air Force Odds, Picks: Back Offense With Longer Track Record
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Air Force Falcons
Boise State vs. Air Force Odds
Two of the favorites for the Mountain West’s Mountain division meet at high altitude.
Boise State had a rough offensive September, but things have settled with staff and personnel changes and a run-heavy approach. The Broncos are coming off of a bye week and looking for revenge against an Air Force outfit that took them down last year.
The Falcons have the best rushing offense in the country and have to be kicking themselves for dropping two winnable conference road games.
Which team will get the upper hand in the division? This game promises to have a slow pace, only a few passes and a lot of defense. Is Air Force the side to back at home? Or has Boise fully turned its season around?
The Broncos got off to a rough start. The season started with a turnover-fest loss to Oregon State. They scored wins over outmatched New Mexico and FCS UT-Martin, then hit rock bottom when they got blown out 27-10 at UTEP with an offense that was nowhere to be found.
Longtime starting quarterback Hank Bachmeier hit the transfer portal, offensive coordinator Tim Plough was canned and the school promoted Dirk Koetter from offensive analyst to coordinator.
Of course, Koetter was a long-time NFL coach and one of the original architects of the Boise dynasty in the 1990s.
After the shakeup, the Broncos came out and looked listless against San Diego State before finally committing to quarterback Taylen Green in the second half of that game.
The Broncos reeled off five second-half touchdowns to win 35-13, and followed that up with a 40-20 win over Fresno State.
Have they found something real? Is six quarters enough to believe in what Koetter and Green?
The season-long metrics are not kind to Boise State, as the Broncos rank 109th in offensive SP+. But with such a drastic change — and only six quarters of play with their current attack — it’s hard to say if the offense has turned a corner.
With Green’s influence in the running game, the Broncos were able to rip off 316 yards of rushing offense in both the SDSU and Fresno State games.
The defense is still strong in Boise, as the Broncos rank 34th in defensive SP+.
Unfortunately, they don't have a strong matchup against Air Force. The Broncos' biggest strength is preventing success in the passing game, where they rank No. 1 overall.
However, they are susceptible to explosive passes and rank near the bottom of the entire FBS (121st) in allowing explosive passes. They’re weaker against the run than the pass and rank 27th in Success Rate against the rush.
This is a good defense — especially for the Group of Five level — but they play right into Air Force’s hands.
The Falcons entered the season as one of the preseason favorites to win the Mountain West. They came out on fire and blew out Northern Iowa and Colorado by a combined score of 89-27.
Then, it all fell apart in a stunning 17-10 loss at Wyoming. Air Force scored two more wins in Colorado Springs and then was stunned on the road again, this time at Utah State.
The Falcons finally earned a road win by handling business against a short-handed UNLV team. Luckily for the Falcons, this one against Boise is at home.
The academy offenses go through cycles, and Air Force has built a particularly gnarly version of the flexbone offense this year.
Haaziq Daniels is the quarterback, and he's making all the right choices in this triple-option scheme. Daniels has chipped in 288 rushing yards of his own, but is also a threat with the occasional deep ball. Daniels has completed 23 of his 49 passes for 483 yards, an average of 21 yards a completion.
The ground game is the story here. The Falcons average 360 yards per game on the ground.
Fullback Brad Roberts leads the team with 853 yards at 5.7 yards per carry. Running back John Lee Eldridge III is a certified speed demon and has 576 yards at 9.4 yards per carry.
The defense is 72nd in the country, but is stronger against the rush than the pass, which will come in handy in this passing-optional matchup.
The Falcons limit explosive passes (24th), but can be had by a dink-and-dunk passing offense. Air Force ranks 82nd in EPA/success per pass, but that is not Boise’s strength.
Boise State vs. Air Force Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Boise State and Air Force match up statistically:
Boise State Offense vs. Air Force Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Air Force Offense vs. Boise State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||83||50|
|Seconds per Play||26.9 (74)||32.3 (131)|
|Rush Rate||58.5% (33)||89.3% (1)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Boise State vs. Air Force Betting Pick
Football can be tough because of the limited sample sizes.
Is six quarters enough to believe that Boise has created the kind of rushing offense that can go into Colorado Springs and go toe-to-toe with the best ground game in the sport?
Boise State has a good defense, but its main weakness (allowing explosive passes) plays directly into Air Force’s hands.
I like the home team here, as the track record of this offense working is much longer. I’ll take the Falcons and lay anything up to a field goal.