Boise State Broncos vs. Idaho Vandals Preview and Pick

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Boise State Broncos vs. Idaho Vandals Preview and Pick ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>

Boise State Broncos (7-0) –21, o/u 59 at Idaho Vandals (4-3), 5 p.m. Eastern Saturday
by Ultimatecapper.com Staff

The Idaho Vandals get a chance to put their mark on this college football season when they host the undefeated Boise State Broncos Saturday afternoon in Moscow.

These two teams are tied atop the WAC standings at 3-0. But for the moment, that’s about where the similarities between these two teams ends.

Boise State has been the local bully for quite a while now, winning four straight WAC titles. Meanwhile, Idaho has experienced six consecutive losing seasons.

The Broncos, in their first season under new head coach Chris Petersen after Dan Hawkins left to take over at Colorado, are one of the last seven teams in Division 1 college football that remains undefeated.

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The Vandals, in head coach Dennis Erickson’s first season back in charge (after a 20-year absence), started out by losing three of their first four games. But Idaho has won its first three WAC games of this season and is above .500 for the first time since 1999.

Boise State has won seven games in a row in the series with the Vandals, including a 70-35 decision last season in Boise. That game was actually tied at 21 midway through the 3rd quarter, but the Broncos scored on a punt return, a fumble return and an interception return, and put up 35 points in the 4th quarter alone. Boise State also outrushed Idaho 254-72.

The Broncos are ranked in most Top 20s and are on the outer edge of a potential BCS bowl game berth. But with the rest of their schedule confined to the WAC, Boise State may need a blowout or two to jump enough in the polls to get that far.

On the season, the Broncos are 3-3 overall against the spread, and 3-0 straight up and 1-2 ATS in road games.

The Vandals are 4-2 ATS overall this season, and 2-0 straight up and 1-0 ATS at home.

Boise State QB Jared Zabransky, with 32 career collegiate starts under his belt, has hit on 62% of his passes this season and owns an 11/3 TD/INT ratio.

And on the ground, the Broncos are outrushing their opponents this year by a 228-78 yards per game average.

Idaho is getting outrushed by a 147-120 YPG average. And senior QB Steven Wichman, with 17 collegiate starts for the Vandals, is only hitting for a 52% completion rate and owns a 4/8 TD/INT ratio.

These two teams have played three common opponents so far this season. Boise State beat New Mexico State last Sunday night 40-28 as 27-point road favorites, while Idaho beat the Aggies 28-20 as 2-point home chalk two weeks ago. The Broncos pounded Louisiana Tech 55-14 as 36-point home favorites two weeks ago, while the Vandals beat the Bulldogs 24-14 as 2-point road dogs last week. And Boise State defeated Oregon State 42-14 as seven-point home chalk in Week 2 of this season, but Idaho lost in Corvallis 38-0 as 26-point underdogs a month ago.

The Broncos returned nine starters to both sides of the ball from a team that went 9-4 overall and 7-1 in the WAC and lost to Boston College 27-21 in the MPC Computers Bowl last season.

The Vandals returned 10 starters on offense and six on defense from a team that went 2-9 overall and 2-6 in its first season in the WAC last year.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com rank Boise State 15th at 85.0, Idaho 119th at 58.8.

The Broncos opened up as 20-point favorites for Saturday’s game, but have been bet up to 21 and more at some sportsbooks around the Internet.

The Ultimatecapper Pick: We’ve seen this Idaho squad live this year (vs. Oregon State on the road) and they are PUTRID. We’ll take Boise State here despite them being on the road where they aren’t nearly as efficient as they are at home.

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