Mountain West Odds, Picks, Predictions: How to Bet Saturday’s 5 Conference Games
Ryan Collinsworth/Action Network.
- Saturday's Week 9 college football slate features plenty of intriguing Mountain West matchups.
- The conference plays four games on Saturday, including Wyoming vs Hawaii, Colorado State vs Boise State, San Diego State vs Fresno State and Nevada vs San Jose State.
- Check out how our staff is betting every Week 9 Mountain West game below.
Mountain West Football Betting Previews for Week 9
The team logos in the table below represent each of four Mountain West Conference matchups that the Action Network NCAAF staff is betting on Saturday, Oct. 29. Click the team logos for one of the matchups below to jump to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
Colorado State vs Boise State
By Alex Hinton
Since joining the Mountain West in 2011, Boise State has often been the class of the conference. However, Boise State is seeking its first conference title since 2019.
After a 2-2 start, three consecutive wins, including over preseason darlings Fresno State and Air Force, have the Broncos at 5-2 and 4-0 in the Mountain West. Boise State is atop the Mountain Division as the only undefeated team in conference play.
It will look to continue its momentum when it welcomes Colorado State to town.
It was a rough start to the Jay Norvell era, as Colorado State lost each of its first four games by at least 15 points. Amazingly, Colorado State has played three straight with nearly identical scores — 17-14, 17-13 and 17-13.
The Rams won two of those games and now sit at 2-5 overall and 2-1 in Mountain West play.
Boise State has won all 11 meetings in this series, including a 28-19 matchup in Fort Collins last season. This year, Boise State is a huge favorite at home. However, I’ll be targeting the total.
Colorado State did not do itself many favors opening up at Michigan. That was the first of four consecutive games in which it allowed at least 34 points. However, since then, CSU has stiffened up defensively.
Over the past three games, Colorado State is allowing 335 yards and 14.7 points per game. There are still areas that need improvement, as the Rams rank 81st in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and 88th in Passing Success Rate Allowed. However, CSU ranks 25th in pass-rush grade and 34th in pass coverage grade, per PFF.
Colorado State is in a better place defensively than it is offensively.
Through seven games, Colorado State has scored just 90 points and ranks 130th in scoring offense at 12.9 points per game. The Rams rank 127th with 4.4 yards per play.
The advanced metrics aren’t very favorable either. Colorado State ranks 130th in Rushing Success Rate, 128th in Passing Success Rate, 130th in Havoc Allowed, 130th in Finishing Drives and 126th in pass-blocking grade.
The Rams did get starting quarterback Clay Millen back last week after he missed the previous two games. Millen is efficient and completing 73% of his passes, which leads the Mountain West. He also ranks second in passer efficiency.
However, he has just five touchdown passes against four interceptions in five games and has been sacked 24 times.
His top target is wide receiver Tory Horton, who is also the team’s primary source of big plays. The junior has 35 receptions for 538 yards (15.4 per reception) and five touchdowns.
Avery Morrow leads the team with 500 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 5.1 yards per carry. He has three consecutive games of 20-plus carries and 100 rushing yards. He had 147 rushing yards and two touchdowns last week.
The 2022 season got off to a rocky start for Boise State. The Broncos started 2-2 and lost both games by 17 points. That led to the ousting of offensive coordinator Tim Plough and the transfer of quarterback Hank Bachmeier, the most heralded recruit in program history.
However, the Broncos have since won three straight and have averaged 31.3 points per game during that span.
The passing game is still a work in progress as freshman Taylen Green has two touchdown passes and an interception in all four games he has appeared in. The Broncos rank 101st in Passing Success Rate.
However, Green has also added some juice to Boise State’s rushing attack. He has 245 rushing yards and four touchdowns on seven yards per carry. His dual-threat ability has also made life easier for running backs George Holani and Ashton Jeanty.
Holani is the team’s leading rusher with 549 rushing yards and three touchdowns in six games. He missed last week’s win over Air Force, but returned to practice this week. Boise State is 10-0 when Holani runs for 100 yards, including 3-0 this season.
Jeanty missed the second half of last week’s game but ran for 53 yards and a touchdown before departing. He has 363 rushing yards and four touchdowns this season.
While Boise State is emerging offensively, its defense has fueled its success this season. Boise State ranks fifth in the FBS with 4.2 yards allowed per play. It also ranks 19th in scoring defense, allowing 18.4 points per game. It’s held opponents to 20 points or fewer in five of its seven games this season.
BSU ranks 18th in Rushing Success Allowed, but its pass defense has been elite. The Broncos sit first in the FBS in passing yards allowed per game and third in Passing Success Rate Allowed.
Colorado State vs Boise State Pick
Colorado State ranks 130th in both Finishing Drives and scoring offense. All seven games have gone under this season, and it hasn’t scored 20 points in any game this season.
Things will not get any easier against a stingy Boise State defense.
The Broncos are improving offensively but are still averaging just 26 points per game. The under has hit in three of Boise State’s past five games, and each of those games went under 43 points as well.
The under has hit in two of the past three meetings in this series. Additionally, neither of these teams operate at a fast tempo, as Colorado State ranks 121st in seconds per play and Boise State sits 91st.
When those factors are combined, the under is the best bet for this one. I would play it down to 41.5.
San Diego State vs Fresno State
Fresno State was the clear favorite to win the Mountain West Conference before the season began. But now, the Bulldogs face a crucial matchup with San Diego State to stay atop the West Division.
Fresno’s season was turned upside down after star quarterback Jake Haener was injured in Week 3 against USC. Since his departure, the program has struggled offensively, and a matchup against a stout San Diego State defense doesn’t do it any favors.
San Diego State enters this matchup riding its first two-game win streak of the year. However, this team hasn’t been great for bettors, as it’s just 2-5 against the spread this season.
Both programs are part of a three-way tie atop the division, so the outcome of this matchup will be pivotal for the standings at the end of the year.
San Diego State will go as far as its defense can carry it, and that’s been proven through the first seven games of the season.
The program’s three losses have come to Arizona, Utah and Boise State, and the defense allowed 35 points or more in all three matchups. In the Aztec’s four victories, the defense hasn’t allowed more than 14 points, holding opponents to just 10 points per game on average.
SDSU has held opponents to just 6.4 yards per pass attempt which is the 24th-best mark in the country. It’s been susceptible in the run game, allowing just shy of five yards per carry.
With a matchup against a backup quarterback, this is the perfect opportunity for San Diego State’s defense to rise up and keep the program at the top of the West Division.
It’s been a rollercoaster of a season for the San Diego State offense. Quarterback Braxton Burmeister was benched after a horrific first month of the season. The program elected to switch to senior Jalen Mayden under center, and he has revitalized the offense in the last two weeks.
Mayden was originally recruited by Mississippi State as a quarterback. He switched to safety in the offseason and has thrived as the emergency quarterback. He’s averaging 7.8 yards per pass attempt and 240 passing yards in his first two starts.
And well, the clip below will tell you a little about his athleticism.
"Are you kidding me⁉️"
Jalen Mayden takes it 32 yards for an @AztecFB TD‼️
— Mountain West (@MountainWest) October 23, 2022
Life without Haener has been tough for the Bulldogs. But that’s to be expected after losing a quarterback who threw for 4,000 yards and 33 touchdowns last season.
His replacement, Logan Fife, couldn’t have looked worse in his first few games under center. The sophomore quarterback lost his first two starts to UConn and Boise State, but the program has rebounded nicely with two victories over San Jose State and New Mexico.
Last week, Fresno State led New Mexico by only seven heading into halftime. But it dominated the second half, 28-3, while outgaining the Lobos, 510-138, for the game.
It was by far the best game of the year for Fife, who completed 19-of-29 passes for 225 yards with one touchdown through the air and two more on the ground.
But turnovers have been a concern for Fife, as he’s thrown an interception in every start this season, totaling six on the year.
The Fresno defense stepped up big over the last two games. It gave up an average of 35 points and 440 total yards against its first four FBS opponents but allowed an average of just 9.5 points and 240 yards to San Jose and New Mexico.
San Diego State vs Fresno State Pick
San Diego State totaled 310 passing yards through its first five games combined. Then Mayden threw for 322 yards in his first start against Hawaii. That marked the most yards in a game without an interception by an Aztec quarterback since 2010.
This is truly one of the great stories of the college football season, and as Mayden continues to succeed, this story will get more traction at the national level.
San Diego State already has one of the top defenses in the Mountain West, and if the offense starts to click, the conference should beware. This matchup against a Haener-less Fresno State is the perfect opportunity for the Aztecs to seize their spot at the top of the West.
Fresno State has also put together two solid victories in a row, but the defense made up for Fife’s mistakes against San Jose State, and New Mexico was a cakewalk. That’s not going to cut it in this matchup against a strong San Diego State defense and offense that’s trending in the right direction.
I love taking an underdog in a game with a low total. I’m expecting a tight matchup that will come down to the wire to determine who will remain atop the division.
Nevada vs San Jose State
By Alex Hinton
Nevada has been one of the most successful programs in the Mountain West recently, going 32-18 over the last four years. However, the first year of the Ken Wilson era has not gone well.
The Wolf Pack are 2-6 overall and 0-4 in the Mountain West. Last week’s 23-7 loss to San Diego State was the team’s fifth straight. Things won’t get any easier when Nevada heads to San Jose State this week.
The Spartans are 4-2 overall (2-1 Mountain West) and tied for first place in the West Division.
San Jose State will be playing with heavy hearts, as this marks the team’s first game since the passing of freshman Camdan McWright. Last week’s game at New Mexico State was postponed.
It beat Fresno State last time out, 17-10, on Oct. 10.
Nevada leads the all-time series, 23-10-2, and has particularly controlled the series since 2003. Nevada has won 16 of the last 19 meetings, including a 27-24 victory last season in Reno.
But San Jose State is a huge favorite this year. Can it cover the big number?
Nevada fans had grown used to seeing the aerial attacks led by quarterback Carson Strong and wide receiver Romeo Doubs over the last few seasons. Strong and Doubs both moved on, and offense has been a struggle ever since.
Nevada scored a combined 79 points in its second and third games this season against Texas State and Incarnate Word. During its five-game losing streak, it has scored only 57 points and failed to reach 20 in four of the five games.
The Wolf Pack average 19.9 points per game and rank 112th in the FBS in scoring offense. They also rank 121st in Rushing Success Rate, 113th in Line Yards, 117th in Passing Success Rate, 119th in Havoc Allowed and 101st in Finishing Drives.
Nevada has played two quarterbacks this season in Nate Cox and Shane Illingworth. Cox has taken the bulk of the snaps this season, but Illingworth finished the game last week, going 21-33 for 181 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Wilson isn’t naming a starter this week, but Illingworth took first-team reps in practice this week. Whoever is under center needs to be more productive, as Nevada has just three passing touchdowns in eight games.
Nevada also averages just 3.2 yards per carry as a team, but 15 of its offensive touchdowns have come on the ground. Running Toa Taua leads the team with 496 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. He also leads the team in receiving with 27 receptions for 258 yards and a touchdown.
Taua has averaged 108.5 rushing yards per game in his career against San Jose State.
Defensively, Nevada can be attacked on the ground, as it ranks 121st in Rushing Success Rate Allowed.
However, the Pack boast an elite pass defense. They rank 25th in Passing Success Rate Allowed and 36th in coverage grade, per PFF. Safety Bentlee Sanders leads the way for this unit. He is tied for the FBS lead with five interceptions and tied for second with three forced fumbles.
Sanders has been involved in half of Nevada’s turnovers this season. As a team, it ranks ninth in the FBS with 16 takeaways and 10th with 10 interceptions.
Hawaii transfer Chevan Cordeiro is playing some of the best ball of his career in leading SJSU to a 4-2 start. He has seven touchdown passes against one interception in 207 attempts and has also added six touchdowns on the ground.
Cordeiro’s top three receivers all began their careers at Nevada, so there may be a little added motivation this week.
Elijah Cooks is the big-play threat who leads the Mountain West with 542 receiving yards on 29 receptions to go along with three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Justin Lockhart has 17 receptions for 298 yards, while Charles Ross has hauled in 14 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown.
The Spartans rank 89th in Passing Success Rate and 50th in Rushing Success Rate. Running back Kairee Robinson leads the team with 343 rushing yards on 4.6 yards per carry. However, San Jose State runs the ball only 30 times per game and ranks 110th in rush rate.
Where San Jose State can really hang its hat is on its defense. The Spartans rank fourth in scoring defense, surrendering only 14.5 points per game. It also ranks 16th in total defense, ninth in passing yards allowed per game and 15th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed.
Defensive lineman Viliami Fehoko leads the team with 7.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. In his last game against Fresno State, he had three tackles for loss, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Nevada vs San Jose State Pick
Nevada has dominated this series for the last two years. While I expect San Jose State to win outright, the number looks too big for it to cover.
The total sits at just 44, so a 24.5-point spread makes the points even more valuable.
If Nevada scores, it will be difficult for San Jose State to cover this spread. For example, even if the Spartans win handily — say, 31-7 or 38-14 —Nevada would still cover the spread.
Additionally, the Wolf Pack’s defense matches up well with what San Jose State wants to do offensively. Nevada’s defense can be susceptible against the run, but SJSU runs it just 46% of the time.
Nevada’s pass defense can keep this one from getting out of hand, particularly if Illingworth provides a bit more to the offense than Cox.
Wyoming vs Hawaii
Don’t look now, but Wyoming and Hawaii have been two of the best bets in college football over the last month and change.
The Cowboys are 5-2 against the spread since suffering an opening-week drubbing to Illinois, while the Warriors have ripped off five covers in the previous six.
Wyoming hasn’t been a double-digit betting favorite since Nov. 27 of last season — against this same Hawaii club.
Should the Cowboys be laying this much chalk, or is it time to fire on the ‘dog?
Here’s the best bet on the spread, and why there’s value on one side.
The Cowboys clock in at No. 103 in our own Collin Wilson’s Power Ratings.
Wyoming has won each of the last two games as favorites, and the offense racked up a season-high 529 yards in its most recent win against Utah State.
Offensively, Wyoming loves keeping the ball on the ground.
Junior running back Titus Swen’s popped off seven touchdowns for a unit ranking No. 18 nationally in Rush Rate.
The push up front has been superb — especially for a Mountain West program — as the Cowboys are inside the top 40 in Line Yards.
Craig Bohl’s pass defense, in particular, has been fantastic over the last couple games, allowing roughly 115 yards through the air. The Cowboys do struggle against teams out in open space, however, as they’re the third-worst tackling team nationally.
Hawaii owned the worst overall scoring margin in the country through three games (-131).
Although there was only one place to go, it hasn’t been that bad for Timmy Chang’s club since.
The Warriors have ripped off five covers in their last six, including three straight as ‘dogs. Hawaii blew a 13-3 lead last week to Colorado State, but did manage to cover as six-point pups.
Hawaii has been accustomed to playing in a negative game script all season. Yet, it still hasn’t padded the offense’s stats.
The Warriors are 25th nationally in Pass Rate and can chuck, but they’re averaging a measly 4.8 yards per play.
The opposing schedule of offenses — especially early — probably hurts the Warriors’ defensive peripherals a bit. Still, they aren’t much better than Wyoming at tackling (127th) and they get absolutely zero push up front, ranking bottom-15 in both Havoc and Line Yards.
Wyoming vs Hawaii Pick
I’m a fan of laying the chalk on Wyoming anywhere south of -11.
This number closed Wyoming -13.5 last year, and even after adjusting for Hawaii’s home-field advantage, I don’t think it should be any lower than the 2021 spread.
The current Warriors’ roster is that bad.
They’re 126th in Wilson’s Power Ratings, and arguably the two most inspiring games of the season were against Colorado State (125th in PR) and Nevada (124th).
The Mountain West is far from formidable, but there’s a bigger drop-off in talent from Wyoming to Hawaii than most think.
Plus, with double-digit winds on the radar, I love siding with a team that can run the ball.
Take the favorite in the final game of Week 9.