Troy at Boise State
Saturday, 12:45 pm PT
CRIS Opener: Boise State -12.5 O/U 57
CRIS Current: Boise State -10.5 O/U 63.5
Recommendation: Boise State
You likely don't think of the concept "buy low" when it comes to the Boise State Broncos; a team that despite not playing in a power conference has enamored bettors for years. And who can forget the old standby of betting Boise on the "Smurf Turf" no matter what the pointspread? Those days are seemingly over as the Broncos haven't covered a home game in their last eight tries dating back to 2015. And projections for this year are as low as they have been in over a decade as Boise is lined at only 8 wins; the same as MWC up-and-comer Colorado State. But despite last year's "disappointing" 10-win output and even more alarming 3-10 ATS record, their ability to dominate a majority of their opponents should remain. Keep in mind, playing in the far tougher MWC Mountain Division last year, Boise still outgained teams by over 1.5 ypp. Their biggest issue was an outlier -9 turnover margin; +9, +7, +3, +20, and +8 the previous five seasons.
And while oddsmakers and bettors have cooled on Boise State, the opposite rings true for Troy who popped for 10 wins in head coach Neal Brown's second season. Last year's highlight for the Trojans was a Week 2 30-24 loss at eventual National Champion Clemson. But a closer look suggests Troy wasn't as dominant as its straight up record indicated. For starters, despite jumping from 4 wins to 10 wins, the Trojans still had a losing spread record (6-7). Statistically, in the ultra-weak Sun Belt, Troy outgained its opponents by a very modest 0.53 ypp. And unlike Boise, they were the benefactors of a +10 turnover margin after producing a positive mark only once (+4) the prior seven seasons.
While "spot plays" rarely if even exist in Week 1, I see this as a very favorable one for Boise after the way it closed out last season with back-to-back losses to Air Force and Baylor. The Broncos are primed to make a statement and have the pedigree and talent edge to do so against a solid but perhaps slightly overrated road squad.