(7-2, 8-1 ATS)
Boise State Broncos
(7-0, 5-2 ATS)
All eyes might be locked into the duel in Utah on Saturday, but mid major NCAA football betting fans know that the clash on the Smurf Turf between the Hawaii Warriors and Boise State Broncos might be every bit as important.
Hawaii is riding the nation’s longest ATS winning streak at six games, and it is the only school in the land coming into play on Friday that can say it has eight covers. Stopping the Warriors starts with coming up with some big play in the secondary. The Hawaii passing attack is second to none in the country and is the only unit averaging anywhere near 400 passing yards per game. The threesome of QB Bryant Moniz, WR Greg Salas, and WR Kealoha Pilares has just been fantastic this season. Hawaii is going to become the first team to have a pair of 1,000 yard receivers on the season, and if WR Royce Pollard picks it up, he could join Salas and Pilares by the end of the year. Moniz looks a lot like one of his predecessors QB Colt Brennan. He is completing 65.7 percent of his passes for 3,247 yards with 25 TDs against just seven picks on the year, and he knows how to get out and run when things break down in the pocket. Salas has 81 grabs for 1,236 yards and eight scores, while Pilares has 945 yards and 64 receptions with a dozen TDs.
Had this test come on the Big Island, we might be a bit more worried. However, it takes a lot more than an unranked, upper class WAC school to come off of the streets to take a ‘W’ on the Smurf Turf. The Broncos returned 20 starters from last year’s team, with the only man missing being DB Kyle Wilson. Still, the defense is averaging 236.4 yards per game allowed and ranks in the Top 10 in every single major defensive category. The offense isn’t slacking either, ranking No. 11 in passing, No. 16 in rushing, No. 5 in total offense at 515.9 yards per game, and No. 2 in scoring at 47.7 points per game. This is a make or break game for QB Kellen Moore in his Heisman Trophy campaign as well. With all eyes squarely fixated on QB Cam Newton and RB LaMichael James, this is the week where Moore can shine. He has thrown for 1,865 yards and 18 TDs against just two INTs this season, and might need to have one of these 340 yard, four TD performances to keep his name in the Heisman hat. Keep a close eye on RB Doug Martin as well, as he has 694 yards on the ground this year with six scores.
We would love to take Hawaii and all of these points, but we just remember how much better the Broncos are than everyone else in the WAC. There is no reason not to win this game going away, and we’d be shocked to find the Warriors even hanging within these three TDs by halftime. You also know that the foot isn’t coming off the gas pedal until the final score is as resounding as possible for Boise State to try to impress the pollsters.
NCAA Football Free Pick: Boise State Broncos -21