This article is part of our College Football Picks series.
Mountain West Conference Championship Betting Preview: Fresno State vs. Boise State Best Bets
The Fresno State Bulldogs enter the Mountain West Championship on a seven-game winning streak. The Bulldogs capped their current winning streak with a 30-0 shutout victory over the Wyoming Cowboys last week. Fresno State lost their starting quarterback Jake Haener in mid-September, and their offense was up-and-down without him under center. Since Haener's return in late October, the Bulldogs haven't scored less than 30 points.
The Boise State Broncos have won three games in a row entering the Mountain West Conference Championship. The Broncos defeated the Utah State Aggies last week, 42-23. Boise State quarterback Taylen Green threw for 220 yards and four touchdown passes and ran for another 91 yards in a touchdown in the win.
These two teams squared off in early October, with the Broncos defeating Fresno State, 40-20. The Bulldogs backup quarterback Logan Fife struggled, throwing two interceptions. Fresno should have a better chance this week with Haener back on the field.
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Fresno State vs. Boise State Odds for the Mountain West Conference Championship
Spread: Boise State -3 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Total: 54.5 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Moneyline: Fresno State +135, Boise State -155 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
This contest opened at a -5 point spread for Boise State but has since trickled back to -3 points. Despite the solid defense of the Broncos, the high-scoring offense of Fresno State has apparently made a mark on bettors; having some believe that Fresno can keep this game close.
Neither team has been spectacular against the spread. Fresno is 5-7 against the spread this season and Boise is 6-5-1. In the last nine matchups between the Bulldogs and the Broncos though, the underdog is 8-1 against the spread.
Both of these teams are averaging about 30 points per game, and the opening total of 50.5 has since jumped to 54.5 points.
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Fresno State vs. Boise State Betting Pick This Week
As previously mentioned, both of these squads are scoring 30 points per game; 30.9 points per game for Fresno State and 30.2 points per game for Boise State to be exact. While both of these defenses have played well (20.8 points per game allowed by Fresno, 17.8 points per game allowed by Boise), they haven't exactly faced the stiffest competition out there. These defensive numbers appear to be deceiving.
In their last six games, Boise State allowed 30 points just once, surrendering 31 points in a loss to BYU. The other five games were against Air Force (14 points), Colorado State (10 points), Nevada (3 points), Wyoming (17 points), and Utah State (23 points).
Similarly, Fresno State has allowed 30 points just once in their last six games, a 37-30 win over UNLV. In the other five games, the Bulldogs beat New Mexico (9 points allowed), San Diego State (28 points), Hawaii (13 points), Nevada (14 points), and Wyoming (0 points).
These two teams are the stiffest competition of the Mountain West, and neither defense will be fully capable of stopping the opposing offenses. Fresno State and Boise State should be a much higher total than 54.5 points.
The Bulldogs have been much more efficient with senior quarterback Jake Haener under center, and I won't shy away from them as underdogs this week.
Mountain West Championship Best Bets: Over 54.5; Fresno State Moneyline +135 at DraftKings Sportsbook
Fresno State vs. Boise State Prediction
I can't forget the fact that the Boise State Broncos' defense allowed 23 points to the Utah State Aggies last week. I also can't forget that the Fresno State Bulldogs held the Wyoming Cowboys scoreless last week.
It's a new week, and with the Mountain West Conference Championship on the line, I'd expect both of these offenses to light up the scoreboard. Boise State has not faced a quarterback at the level of Jake Haener at all this season. The only comparable QB would be BYU's Jaren Hall, who posted 377 yards and three touchdown passes against the Broncos. Fresno State's defense at least has the experience of getting thrashed by USC's Caleb Williams back in September.
I'll say Fresno State will defeat Boise State in the Mountain West title game, 41-38.