By Ryan Mayer
The college football bowl season is upon us. With 40 games spread out over the next two weeks there is plenty of opportunity to add a little bonus to your holiday gift pile. Our bowl picks series will let you know who we think will come out on top against the spread. All lines and totals courtesy of Sportsline/Bookmaker.eu. Find all our picks here.
All lines listed are as of publishing date. As always lines may change in the lead up to games so be sure to check.
Motel 6 Cactus Bowl
Boise State vs. Baylor
Spread: Boise State -7.5
Spread: This line feels low. Baylor has lost six straight games since starting the season 6-0, and the average margin of defeat in those games has been 17.5 points. Boise State, while being a Group of 5 team, is certainly one of the better ones out there and they can shred a bad Baylor secondary (62nd in yards allowed with 223.9). Brett Rypien has conducted a Broncos offense that rings up nearly 300 yards per game through the air (297.3, 16th) while running back Jeremy McNichols leads a rushing attack that averages 182 yards per game (57th) and 4.8 yards per carry. Baylor, by the way, hasn’t been good against the run either giving up 210.5 yards per game which ranks 95th in the country.
Now, to be fair to Baylor, their offense, as usual, has been prolific ranking 34th in points (34.9), 12th in rushing (250.3), and 28th in passing (273.1). They can, as always, spread you out sideline-to-sideline and attack via the run or deep passes down the sidelines. But, Boise’s defense has been good this season ranking 29th in points (22.7) and 27th against the pass (199.5). That said, they’ve been vulnerable against the run allowing opponents to rack up 175 yards per game. Terrence Williams and Shock Linwood should find some success against the Broncos. But, the Bears are also playing a true freshman in Zack Smith at QB, and I think the Broncos will take advantage of a porous Bears defense. Boise State -7.5
Total: The Boise State defense, despite likely giving up some yards on the ground, should be able to get enough stops to keep Baylor in the 20’s on offense especially considering they’ve scored more than 24 points just twice in this six-game losing streak. Those two offensive outputs of 34 & 35 points came against Texas and Texas Tech – two noted defensive titans (LOTS of sarcasm there). So, the question you must ask yourself, is whether you expect the Broncos to put up 43+ points. While Baylor’s defense is bad, the Broncos have done that just four times against Louisiana-Lafayette, New Mexico, San Jose State, and Hawai’i. The Broncos are prolific, but I don’t think they’ll score enough to carry us to the over. Under 67
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him.