Utah State vs Boise State Odds, Picks and Predictions: Broncos Play it Safe, Aggies Cover Big Spread

Both Utah State and Boise State have righted their ships after rough starts and the Broncos are playing in next weekend's Mountain West title game. With that in mind, is the 16.5-point spread too lofty for a team that doesn't need to run up the score?

Last Updated: Nov 25, 2022 8:21 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Calvin Tyler Jr. Utah State Aggies College Football
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Boise State Broncos are headed to their sixth conference championship in the last 11 years. The program has won four Mountain West titles since becoming a member in 2011, so its continued success shouldn’t catch anyone by surprise. 

First, they must finish up the regular season against last year’s MWC champions, the 6-5 Utah State Aggies. The Aggies overcame a slow start to the season to reach bowl eligibility, but will they be overmatched in the regular season finale?

Check out our college football picks and predictions for the Utah State Aggies and Boise State Broncos on Friday, November 25 to find out. 

Utah State vs Boise State best odds

Utah State vs Boise State picks and predictions

The story for both of these teams has been overcoming a slow start to the season to finish strong. Let’s start with Boise State, who looked lost after a 2-2 start that led to the ousting of offensive coordinator Tim Plough following a loss as a big favorite against UTEP. The Broncos have been red hot ever since, winning five of their last six games while posting a 7-0 record in conference play.

Andy Avalos has continued this program’s success despite the ups and downs. Next week’s conference championship appearance will mark the Broncos’ sixth in the last 10 years. The last time they took home the title was in 2019.

Utah State won the conference championship in 2021 and headed into 2022 with relatively high expectations despite a lot of turnover. The season appeared lost after a 1-4 start lowlighted by a blowout loss at home to FCS school Weber State. Losing quarterback Logan Bonner to a season-ending knee injury didn’t help morale, and he never looked fully healthy to begin the season anyway. However, the team has since rallied, winning five of its last six games to reach bowl eligibility. 

Running back Calvin Tyler Jr. has been the star of the show, as his six 100-yard games are the most by an Aggies rusher since Joey DeMartino in 2013. He’s notched five total touchdowns in his last two games and may be heavily relied upon again in Week 13 against a Boise State defense that ranks 16th in expected points added per play and sixth in success rate. 

Cooper Legas has come into his own as the apparent quarterback of the future, completing 62.1% of his passes for 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions while adding 227 yards and two more scores on the ground. The numbers aren’t prolific, but he’s evidently improving, considering he posted his two highest passing yardage totals of the season in the last two weeks. 

This line is too wide for my liking. Boise State has already clinched a spot in the conference championship game and therefore has little reason to pile onto the score in this spot. Utah State was an embarrassment to start the season but has clearly improved since, winning five of its last six games including last week’s win over a good San Jose State team.

My best bet: Utah State +16.5 (-105 at FanDuel)

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Utah State vs Boise State spread analysis

The line is set at Boise State -16.5 across all locations at the time of this writing. 

It should come as no surprise that the Broncos are a decent-sized favorite considering their perfect 7-0 record in conference play. They’ve been a great bet during that run, going 5-1-1 ATS. Taylen Green is showing improvement at quarterback and led two scoring drives in the second half of last week’s pivotal win over Wyoming.

Boise State has little motivation to run up the score in this spot as its primary concern will be emerging healthy for next week’s conference championship game. The Broncos are dealing with a litany of injuries on the defensive side of the ball with six of their original 11 starters on that side of the ball missing last week’s game in Laramie. 

Utah State has been a great bet in Friday games for what it’s worth, posting a 22-8-1 ATS record in its last 31 tries. It’s true that the Aggies have been slightly fortunate in recently (for example, ESPN’s Bill Connelly gave them a 9% post-game win expectancy last week against the Spartans, a game that the Aggies won 35-31 despite losing the turnover battle by three), but it’s also true that Boise State is far from a juggernaut.

The Broncos do not have their typical dynamism at the receiver position and were fortunate to come away with a win last week after Wyoming threw a late interception despite being in field goal range with 45 seconds remainings in a 20-17 game.

Utah State vs Boise State Over/Under analysis

Be sure to shop around if playing the total as it ranges from 51.5 to 52.5 at current. The line opened at 53.5 in most spots, so it’s evident that there’s been early money on the Under. Both teams have been profitable to the Under this season. Utah State has gone Under the total in seven of 11 games, while the Broncos are 6-5 to the Under.

There appears to be no advantage for either team when the Broncos have the ball, as they rank 50th in EPA per play offensively while the Aggies rank an identical 50th in EPA per play defensively. Boise lacks the ability to make big plays thanks primarily to an inexperienced quarterback and an underwhelming crop of pass catchers, ranking 109th in explosivness as a team. 

The rushing attack has been the bread and butter for this team thanks to a strong offensive line that ranks 24th in line yards and 11th in stuff rate, paving the way for running back George Holani’s 977 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Holani and standout freshman Ashton Jeanty (576 rushing yards, six touchdowns) should be given plenty of work against an Aggies defense that ranks 91st in EPA per rush and 112th in rushing explosiveness.

Utah State has struggled mightily on offense, ranking 113th in EPA per play, 111th in success rate, and 113th in explosiveness. As alluded to earlier, they’re improving on that side of the ball thanks to the strong play of Tyler and the improvement of Legas. Still, this will be a very difficult matchup against a Broncos defense ranking 16th in EPA per play and sixth in success rate.

The recommended play here is the Under, as Boise generally keeps the ball on the ground and plays solid defense, while Utah State has been a profitable bet to the Under all season.

Utah State vs Boise State betting trend to know

Utah State is 22-8-1 in its last 31 Friday games. Find more NCAA betting trends for Utah State vs. Boise State.

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Utah State vs Boise State game info

Location: Alberstons Stadium, Boise, ID
Date: Friday, November 25, 2022
Kickoff: 12:00 p.m. ET

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