- Air Force visits Boise State as seven-point road underdogs on Friday (Sep. 20)
- Both teams are undefeated with one win over a Power-5 team
- Can the Falcons keep it close on the Smurf Turf?
The 2019 Mountain West Conference schedule begins tonight (Fri., Sep. 20th) with Air Force (2-0) visiting Boise State (3-0) at 9:00 PM ET on the bright blue turf of Albertsons Stadium.
The Broncos are seven-point home favorites in the latest Air Force vs Boise State odds.
Air Force vs Boise State Odds
|Air Force||+7.0 (-108)||+225||O 55.5 (-105)|
|Boise State||-7.0 (-112)||-265||U 55.5 (-115)|
*Odds taken 09/20/19.
Air Force Falcons
The Falcons have been impressive through two games. After routing FCS team Colgate (48-7) in Week 1, they came off a bye to upset the Pac-12’s Colorado Buffaloes in Boulder, 30-23 in OT.
While Troy Calhoun will be frustrated by his team’s fourth-quarter performance, which saw Air Force squander a 23-10 lead, the Falcons were full value for the win. They outgained Colorado 444-325, overall, and Calhoun’s triple-option put up 289 yards on the ground at 5.6 YPC.
Only a 3-1 turnover edge, and a monster game from WR Laviska Shenault (8 catches, 124 yards, 1 TD), allowed the Buffs to force OT. But Kadin Remsberg scored on the first play of overtime, and then the Air Force defense clamped down, limiting Colorado to just nine yards on seven plays in the extra frame.
Boise State Broncos
The narrative in the offseason is that Bryan Harsin would have a hard time duplicating last year’s success (10-3 overall, 7-1 MW) without QB Brett Rypien, leading rusher Alexander Mattison, and go-to targets Sean Modster and AJ Richardson.
Bus so far, that narrative has proved false. The Broncos are 3-0 with a Week 1 win over Florida State in Tallahassee (36-31). They also edged Marshall (14-7) at home in Week 2, and then waxed an overmatched Portland State squad last Saturday (45-10).
Bryan Harsin’s team is outgaining opponents 516-280 through three games, and they didn’t just pad those stats against Marshall and Portland State. Freshman QB Hank Bachmeier and the Bronco offense piled up a ridiculous 621 yards of total offense against the Noles, holding a 195-yard edge by the end of the game. They had twice as many first downs as FSU (38-19).
The Broncos’ new-look roster showed its youth early in Week 1, committing two first-half turnovers and digging itself a 24-6 hole on the scoreboard. But the way they played from there on out belied their inexperience.
The defense, which had been torched for 31 points in the first half, buckled down and posted a second-half shutout against an FSU offense with a legit NFL-caliber running back in Cam Akers.
The 14-7 scoreline against Marshall in Week 2 doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence that the Broncos can cover a seven-point spread against a better Air Force group, but that score flatters the Herd. Boise held a 437-172 yardage edge in the game and were held off the scoresheet due to a couple costly turnovers and a missed field goal.
Boise State only had 10 (meaningful) possessions in the plodding Marshall game, compared to 15 against FSU. While the miscues against the Herd give reasonable cause for concern about this young team continuing to make “rookie mistakes,” it should not raise any concerns about Bachmeier’s ability to move the Broncos down the field.
Recent Head-to-Head and Trends
Boise State holds a 4-3 edge all time, with all seven games coming since 2011. They have also captured the last two, winning 44-19 at home in 2017 and 48-38 on the road last season.
But one trend that will give Air Force fans a little reason for confidence is that their team is a remarkable 11-4 ATS as road underdogs since 2015. Calhoun has a great track record of getting his team prepared to compete in tough environments.
Air Force +7.0 (-105) is the play for me tonight.
The Falcons’ triple-option is prone to creating shorter games with fewer possessions, meaning this one is likely to look more like Boise’s game against Marshall than the FSU tilt. Colorado only had nine drives before OT against Air Force last week. Colgate had 11 in Week 1.
The Falcons’ triple-option is prone to creating shorter games with fewer possessions.
Boise’s defense was able to hold AF to just 3.9 YPC carry last year, but has struggled a little against the run this season. Akers racked up 116 yards on 15 carries for the Noles, while Marshall as a team had 116 yards at a 4.6 YPC clip.
The Falcons will move the ball enough to stay within a score in this high-intensity Mountain West opener. I also lean to the Under 55.5 (-115) despite the increased juice.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.