Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:00 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Boise State -2½ over UNLV
Mountain West Conference Championship
Allegiant Stadium – Las Vegas, NV
3:00 PM EST. Spotting a tag on the road is not usually in our wheelhouse, but nothing is in stone when it comes to sports betting and this is one of those occasions where we’ll make an exception.
Last week, we targeted UNLV, as their stock was through the ceiling after going 10-1 against the spread (ATS) on the year. San Jose State went onto defeat the Rebels 37-31 in The Desert as a 2½-point underdog but we’re confident that despite UNLV’s loss last week, their stock remains elevated.
Recency bias truly influences market perception. In the not too long and distant past, the name Boise State would be one that would send shivers down the spine of any Group of Five outfit and the Broncos were an institution that regularly garnered massive public appeal. Though an atypical iteration of themselves in 2023, the Broncos are historically esteemed as one of the blue bloods of mid-major football. However, teams with Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame-esque pedigrees can also bode value in certain instances just like any other squad. This appears to be the case, as Boise State’s 7-5 mark is quite deceptive but far more qualitative than UNLV’s 9-3 record.
Last week, we suggested things would come full circle for UNLV who enjoyed one of the easiest schedules in the country, as its Strength of Schedule ranked 120th according to Power Rankings Guru Strength of Schedule Index. Meanwhile, San Jose State endured a gauntlet in out-of-conference play and the proof was in the pudding, as those difficult contests paid dividends for the Spartans who finished their season 7-5 at UNLV’s expense, rattling off six straight wins despite starting off 1-5.
Similarly, Boise State has lost four of their five defeats by a touchdown or less against the following (at UCF, at Fresno State, at Memphis, and at Colorado State); two of those games were decided by Boise State losing via a Hail Mary by Colorado State and a walk-off field goal at UCF. Boise State could easily have the same record as UNLV here had they not lost on the literal last play of the game. Boise State also elected to schedule games versus now #3 Washington in Seattle to kick off their season, UCF in Orlando (A Power Five school who wrecked Oklahoma State in Orlando), North Dakota (A decent FCS school), and Group of Five power Memphis in Music City who are 9-3 and also tough to beat at home. Despite that, the Washington game was the only contest Boise State was not competitive in.
There is a confluence of factors here as to why Boise State is getting so much respect by oddsmakers, which supersedes UNLV’s heightened market presence, they include a stronger out of conference schedule and how competitive the Broncos were against said opposition.
Despite sitting at 4-5 at one point this season Boise State steamrolled its way into this championship game by rattling off three wins to get here. UNLV, meanwhile, has feasted on celery sticks and now the empty calories are catching up to them. The Broncos are a bargain here and we’re on it.
Boise State -2½ -108 (Risking 2.16 units - To Win: 2.00)