Boise State is one of the most underrated and undervalued teams in college football as the Broncos have continued to improve throughout the 2014 campaign. Indeed, nine of Boise State’s 11 wins this season have come by double-digits, including blowout wins over Colorado State (37-24), Utah State (50-19) and BYU (55-30). My math model actually favors Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl, and the Broncos apply to a very good 65-21 ATS bowl situation of mine that invests on certain underdogs off five or more consecutive wins, provided they are matched up against an opponent off a SU and ATS loss.
Boise State is averaging 39.8 points per game on 497 total yards at 6.5 yards per play and 12.5 yards per point against teams that would combine to allow just 5.7 yards per play. The Broncos’ attack has been just as efficient on the road where they are averaging 39.8 points per game on 493 total yards at 6.5 yards per play and 12.4 yards per point. Overall, Boise State is 0.6 yards per rush play, 1.4 yards per pass play and 0.8 yards per play better than average offensively, which is certainly good enough to move the ball against a pedestrian Arizona stop unit.
The Wildcats are allowing 27.5 points per game on 449 total yards at 5.6 yards per play to teams that would combine to average 5.8 yards per play against a mediocre defensive squad. Overall, Arizona is a nominal 0.2 yards per play better than average defensively, which gives the Broncos a solid 0.6 yards per play advantage on the offensive side of the ball. Boise State’s biggest advantage will be through the air where quarterback Grant Hedrick possesses a significant 1.2 yards per pass play advantage over Arizona’s secondary.
Boise State also owns a good defense that is allowing 5.3 yards per play to teams that would combine to average 5.8 yards per play. Boise State’s front seven is particularly talented as opposing teams are averaging 0.8 yards per rush play below their season averages against the Broncos’ stout run defense. Meanwhile, Arizona arrives in town with a grossly overrated offense that is averaging 5.8 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow 5.7 yards per play. Overall, the Wildcats’ attack is 0.3 yards per rush play, 0.2 yards per pass play and 0.1 yards per play better than average, which is not good enough to move the chains against Boise State’s stop unit.
In fact, Boise State possesses a 0.5 yards per rush attempt, 0.3 yards per pass attempt and 0.4 yards per play advantage defensively over the Wildcats’ offense. From a technical standpoint, Boise State is 38-19 ATS following six or more wins so I don’t expect a letdown from the Broncos in their bowl game. In contrast, Arizona is a money-burning 6-14 ATS versus teams with a losing record, 49-81 ATS as a favorite, 1-4 ATS in its last five neutral site games and 1-5 ATS in its last six games in December.
Again, the wrong team is favored in the Fiesta Bowl, but I am not surprised in light of the fact that oddsmakers have to take into account public [mis]perception. Grab the generous points and invest with confidence.