College Football Odds & Prediction for UCF vs Boise State: Bet Saturday’s Short Favorite

College Football Odds & Prediction for UCF vs Boise State: Bet Saturday’s Short Favorite article feature image

Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: John Rhys Plumlee (UCF)

UCF vs Boise State Odds

Saturday, Sept. 9
7 p.m. ET
UCF Odds
-105o / -115u
Boise State Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

Week 2 couldn’t come soon enough for Boise State faithful after the Broncos were thoroughly dismantled by 37 points in Seattle.

The Mountain West preseason favorites are no strangers to slow starts — look no further than last season when they started 2-2 with a loss to UTEP before finishing the year 10-4.

UCF makes the trip to the Smurf Turf as the winner of a blowout game over Kent State to start the season. John Rhys Plumlee and the Knights looked every bit capable of being the best new addition to the Big 12, but the level of difficulty turns up with this trip out west.

Is it time to panic for the Broncos, or was Week 1 just a blip on the radar?

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UCF Knights

UCF and Gus Malzahn’s offense wasted no time in getting 2023 off to a blazing start. Plumlee passed for 281 yards and three touchdowns, while also adding 90 yards on the ground.

Plumlee and the Knights scored seemingly at will against Kent State, but Plumlee threw two picks and lost a fumble, which could be costly in a close game against a Broncos defense that ranked inside the top 20 in interceptions a year ago.

Kent State isn’t exactly an accurate litmus test for a UCF defense that struggled against explosive pass plays in 2022, but the Knights held the Golden Flashes' passing attack to only 145 yards. This comes as UCF works to transition in several new starters into its secondary.

An improved pass rush will be useful against Boise State, who only allowed quarterback Taylen Green to be sacked once against Washington. UCF ranked 100th in the country last season with 22 sacks, which was a big reason its secondary struggled at times.

While Green is a capable passer, Boise State’s preference will be to run the ball at close to a 50-50 split. The Knights were destroyed on the ground as the season wore on in 2022, allowing over 250 rushing yards in three of their last four games.

Boise State Broncos

Let’s just say Week 1 didn’t go quite to plan for the Broncos in Seattle. Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. cemented his status as a Heisman contender, ripping apart the Boise State defense to the tune of 450 passing yards and five touchdowns.

The Broncos' offense, now under new offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan, failed to find a rhythm for most of the game.

Green, who helped save the Broncos' offense last season as a dynamic dual-threat, completed 19-of-39 passes for 244 yards with one touchdown and two picks. Normally a threat running the ball, Hamdan made good on his offseason comments to keep the sophomore quarterback in the pocket more, perhaps to Boise State’s detriment.

Green, who rushed for over 100 yards three times last year, was held to only 31 yards on five rushes, while the 1-2 running back duo of George Holani and Ashton Jeanty combined for 95 yards on 20 carries. Not falling behind as much as it did in Week 1 will allow Boise State to run more of its offense and not stray from its ground game as much.

Last year’s defense finished 15th nationally in points allowed, but it lost three of its top tacklers from 2022 and over 70% of its pressures. The roster turnover was apparent with Washington putting up 568 yards and 56 points, but the Broncos won’t face a passing attack as talented as that again.

Although not the prolific passer that Penix is, UCF’s Plumlee will be a challenge in his own right as a runner. The Broncos' run defense was 30th in the country last season but didn’t face much of a test against the Huskies in Week 1.

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UCF vs Boise State

Betting Pick & Prediction

Naturally there’s going to be a bit of an overreaction to seeing UCF win by 50 and Boise State get blown out, and the line moved from Knights +1.5 to -3.5.

The Broncos' loss to the Huskies shouldn’t be reason to panic just yet for Boise supporters, but I do think there’s some cause for concern for the first few weeks.

For as long as Hamdan continues to try and fit a square peg into a round hole and keep Green as more of a pocket passer, the Broncos' offense is going to struggle. One game against the best opponent the Broncos will play probably isn’t enough evidence for Hamdan to let Green be more mobile just yet, so we could get another anemic performance on offense.

Boise State is going to struggle with the dual-threat nature of Plumlee, after the Broncos only recorded one sack against Washington. UCF will very likely find itself up early, which will force Boise State to abandon the run.

Don't tear your Boise-State-Mountain-West-Champ tickets yet, but at this point in the season, with its offense working through struggles, I’m going to back a UCF team that has no trouble putting points on the board when Plumlee is effective.

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