There’s no doubt that Boise State will be tested early this season.
In fact, Boise State has won eight games or less in the regular season just three times since joining the MW in 2011 (not counting 2020). This includes two 8-4 seasons in 2013 and 2015 and a 7-5 campaign in 2021.
For this perennial Group of Five powerhouse, winning nine games seems tough, and that’s why the over 8.5 is currently at +110 and the under at -130. It’s also because the Broncos have the least favorable schedule in the league.
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Games to like
Boise squares off against a pair of Power Five programs to start the season, and the second of those squads is entering its first season as one in UCF. This is by far the hardest of the first three games for the Knights and I think the Broncos win here in their home opener.
Up next is hosting FCS North Dakota. It’ll be an easier opponent for the Broncos that comes in between two sets of back-to-back big-time games.
Boise’s first conference contest is a road trip to San Diego State in Week 4. Four weeks from now, I might say that the Broncos are going to be on the losing side of this, but for now I’m going to roll with Taylen Green and the other 13 returning starters. The Broncos’ prolific offensive backfield will give the Aztecs’ defensive line troubles.
Two weeks later, Boise State hosts San Jose State and follows that by visiting Colorado State before a bye week. It’ll head into the off week on a two-game winning streak.
Out of the bye week is a home matchup with Wyoming, who will be seeking revenge after last season’s heartbreaking defeat. The Cowboys have never won on the blue turf, however, and I don’t see it happening in 2023.
The Broncos will then be on the road before hosting New Mexico, traveling to Utah State and hosting Air Force for the final game of the season. Boise and Air Force could very well meet in back-to-back weeks, meaning this game would determine home-field advantage in that scenario. I’ll give Boise the edge here at the house to cap the season with a three-game win streak.
Games not to like
Visiting the No. 10-ranked team in the AP Top 25 won’t be an easy task to start the season. I don’t expect Boise to knock off Washington and start the season 1-0, but it’ll be a great way to gauge where they’re at early on.
The road trips don’t get much easier, and after playing at SDSU, the Broncos will hit the road again to play Memphis in the first-ever meeting between the two programs. Memphis has played for three of the last six AAC titles and will have a squad that can compete for another.
Coming off a game where Boise will need to grind out a Week 9 win against Wyoming, they’ll visit Fresno, who I think will be finding its stride here late in the season and will be itching for a big conference win. I’m not banking on the Broncos to avenge last season’s MW title game defeat.
Looking at this schedule right before the season starts, there are at least seven games where the spread could be within a field goal, making it a tough slate of games to predict. Hopefully that means great football.
History tends to repeat itself, though, and Boise’s historical success can’t be denied. Even with its daunting schedule, I think the Broncos barely get over the 8.5 wins and secure its 9th win in the final week of the regular season. I would back the Broncos, especially at plus-money.