College Football Odds & Pick for Oklahoma State vs. Boise State: Can Broncos Protect Blue Turf in Week 3? (Sept. 18)
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: The Boise State Broncos.
- Oklahoma State travels to the Blue Turf to take on Boise State.
- The Cowboys offense has been unimpressive this season, while the Broncos have also struggled with Hank Bachmeier.
- Stuckey breaks down the game below and give his favorite pick.
Oklahoma State vs. Boise State Odds
|Oklahoma State Odds|
-110o / -110u
|Boise State Odds|
-110o / -110u
Oklahoma State and Boise State will meet in primetime on the Blue Turf on Saturday night in Boise, ID. This will mark only the second-ever meeting between these two programs.
Can the Broncos return the favor from a 44-21 shellacking it suffered in Stillwater back in 2018?
Let's take a closer look at each team and the matchup from a betting perspective.
Oklahoma State came into this season with high-confidence in its defense but with plenty of question marks on offense. That's played out in the first two games of the season — two ugly wins against Missouri State and Tulsa.
In fairness, starting quarterback Spencer Sanders didn't play in the opener. However, the result was still ugly against an FCS team at home. Missouri State had more first downs (23-16) and held the Cowboys to a meager 1.9 yards per carry in a 23-16 loss.
The Pokes then followed that up with another one-possession home win against Tulsa. Sanders did start this game, but it took a kick-return TD to spark a five-point victory in a game they trailed 14-7 in the fourth quarter. They were outgained 347-313 and only mustered 3.3 yards per rush.
Oklahoma State lost a lot of talent from last year's squad. Stud wide receiver Tylan Wallace left for the NFL, as did running back Chubba Hubbard and left tackle Tevin Jenkins — all of whom went in the first four rounds of the draft. In addition to Wallace, the Cowboys lost their top two other receivers, Dillon Stoner and Landon Wolf.
They still have some talent on the outside, but their projected starting wide receivers (and tight end) have dealt with injuries through the first two games. That has thrown a number of freshman into the fire much earlier than head coach Mike Gundy would've liked.
The offensive line has also struggled (injuries and moving pieces haven't helped) — leading to the extreme problems running the ball despite a deep a fairly promising RB room The Pokes are only averaging 2.7 yards per carry, which ranks 118th nationally even with one of their two games coming against an FCS opponent.
Nothing is really working well on this offense right now and it's hard to see that magically changing this week.
Unlike the offense, the defense didn't have many question marks coming into the season. It's a deep and experienced unit that led the nation in third-down percentage last year. They'll miss one key player at each level from that 2020 defense, but it's still an extremely formidable unit.
- The secondary will miss the coverage ability of corner Rodarius Williams, but the Cowboys feature one of the best safety groups in the nation with Tre Sterling, Kolby Harvell-Peel and Tanner McCalister.
- The Cowboys did lose stud LB Amen Ogbongbemiga (now with the Chargers) but leading tackler and super senior Malcolm Rodriguez is still making plays all over the field. Plus, senior Devin Harper has enough experience to adequately fill in at the other linebacker spot.
- Oklahoma State will miss the pass-rushing ability of Trace Ford — who was recently lost for the season to injury — but they still have a massive interior that can clog running lanes. DE Tyler Lacy can still get after opposing quarterbacks too.
This is the clear strength of the team. Oklahoma State will need to lean on this defense throughout the season to get key stops in order to win more ugly games — as it did in the first two weeks.
Boise State has a new man in charge as former Oregon defensive coordinator Andy Avalos took over as head coach after Bryan Harsin darted for Auburn.
Avalos got off to a blazing start in his debut when the Broncos built a quick 21-0 lead early in the second quarter on the road at UCF. However, the good times didn't keep on rolling as the Golden Knights mounted a terrific comeback to pull out a 36-31 win. Things were much less stressful in Week 2 when Boise absolutely rolled UTEP 54-13 in its home opener.
Now, with two games under his belt as a head coach, we will learn a lot about this Boise team on Saturday night.
Hank Bachmeier returned at quarterback, but he's struggled with consistency at times. It hasn't helped that he's been under pressure far too often, nor had a reliable running game to rely on.
Well, I documented the Oklahoma State rushing woes. You can copy and paste those problems here.
Boise State has actually averaged fewer yards per carry than the Cowboys. The Broncos currently rank 124th in that category, averaging a paltry 2.2 yards per carry. Like Oklahoma State, the offensive line has really struggled to generate a push up front as evidenced by a ranking of 126th in Line Yards.
They are hoping George Holani, who missed most of last year with an injury, can provide the spark needed in the backfield. He will finally be taken off of a snap count this weekend against Oklahoma State.
The hope is that new offensive coordinator Tim Plough can rejuvenate this offensive attack by scheming an explosive passing attack. Bachmeier does at least have a very experienced group of pass catchers to work with, led by excellent wide receiver Khalil Shakir.
I wouldn't worry too much about the defense with Avalos now in town. That's his area of expertise and he has nine returning starters to work with.
The Broncos did need to replace two very experienced starting cornerbacks in Avery Williams (who'll also be missed in the return game) and Jalen Walker. However, the safeties are experienced and the front seven is absolutely loaded, led by two phenomenal linebackers in Ezekiel Noa and Riley Whimpey.
It's worth noting that tackling-machine Whimpey will miss the first half due to a targeting call. That's a big loss for this defense.
Oklahoma State vs. Boise State Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Oklahoma State and Boise State match up statistically:
Oklahoma State Offense vs. Boise State Defense
Boise State Offense vs. Oklahoma State Defense
Pace of Play / Other
Oklahoma State vs. Boise State Betting Pick
After the first two weeks, I've downgraded the Cowboys significantly based on some of their underlying metrics and from what I've seen on the field. The offense is just an absolute mess right now.
Meanwhile, I think Boise State's offense is trending in the right direction under first-year coordinator Plough.
The offensive numbers for Oklahoma State would look a lot worse had they not completed two throw-it-up-and-pray touchdowns on third-and-long against Tulsa —one of which the receiver was down, but the Golden Hurricane didn't challenge.
I just don't think the Cowboys can put together enough successful drives to get this done on the road.
I'd prefer Boise at under a field goal, so I'll see if I can grab that live at some point. I do have a pregame position on Boise State ML, which I threw in a ML parlay with the Browns and Packers at plus-money.
In a matchup of two teams that are really struggling to run the ball and generate a push up front, I'll take Boise's passing attack.
Sanders still just makes too many turnover-worthy throws and is now dealing with a beat-up wide receiver room and no complementary running game to speak of. I just don't think Oklahoma State can escape with another win (this time on the road) with this broken offense.
It's also worth noting that the Broncos enter the game with an extra day of rest after facing UCF on Friday night last week.
From a total perspective, these are two teams that want to play on the faster side. However, as I said before, I don't trust the Pokes' offense and the defense is very strong.
Neither team can run the ball right now, so maybe we'll see a pass-heavy attack from both teams. However, I see this playing out as a defensive struggle.
I’d also look hard at a first-half under. Keep an eye on the weather report, but there could be wind gusts up to 30-40 mph that die down by the second half. That’s not ideal for two teams that can’t run the ball.
It's under or nothing for me.