Boise State Broncos vs. Baylor Bears Preview
Where: Chase Field – Phoenix, Arizona
When: Tuesday, December 27, 10:15 PM ET
Line: Boise State Broncos (-7.5) vs. Baylor Bears (+7.5); total 67.0 – view all NCAA Football lines
TV Broadcast: ESPN
Writer’s Pick: Boise State Broncos (-7.5)
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Betting on the Boise State Broncos (-7.5)
The Boise State Broncos had the potential to do some big things this year. They started the season 7-0, with big wins over Washington State and BYU. However, they lost a couple of close games against Wyoming and Air Force to finish 9-2 on the season.
The Broncos can still end their season on a high by beating a reeling Baylor team, and they have more than enough talent to do just that.
Quarterback Brett Rypien had a solid sophomore season, as he completed 61.8 percent of his passes for 3,341 yards, with 23 touchdowns and just six interceptions. But the star of the offense this season has been running back Jeremy McNichols. The junior was outstanding this year as he finished with 1,663 rushing yards and 23 rushing touchdowns, both top-5 in the country.
McNichols will now face a Baylor run defense which has gotten demolished to the tune of 1,569 rushing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns over their last six games.
Boise State’s defense doesn’t force a ton of turnovers – it has just eight all season – but it’s one solid unit overall. The Broncos are No. 28 in the country in scoring defense, giving up 22.7 points per game.
Betting on the Baylor Bears (+7.5)
Baylor’s season was literally a tale of two halves. For the first half, the Bears were 6-0 and looking like a possible playoff team. But then they lost a close game against Texas, and the wheels instantly came off. They proceeded to lose their last five games, four by two or more touchdowns.
It didn’t help that they lost senior quarterback Seth Russell in their game against Oklahoma. Freshman Zach Smith has started the last three games for the Bears. He’s averaged a respectable 293 yards, but has an 8-to-6 TD-INT ratio.
Baylor has leaned more on the running game to ease the pressure on the freshman QB. The Bears rushed for 196 yards in a close 24-21 loss to West Virginia in the regular season finale. However, they will be without their second-leading rusher, Shock Linwood, who has decided to skip the bowl game in order to focus on his NFL preparations. Linwood had 751 rushing yards on 138 carries with two touchdowns this season.
Linwood likely isn’t alone in his lack of concern for this upcoming bowl game within the team. The Bears have had a trying season as off-the-field issues have been a dark cloud hanging over them all year long. Their performances over the second half of the season suggest they just want to get it all over with, and expect a similar type of performance against Boise.
Boise State (-7.5) blows out a checked out Baylor team, 35-21.
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