CFB Picks 12/21: Las Vegas Bowl
The Las Vegas Bowl features a matchup between two teams trending in completely opposite directions with bragging rights on the line.
Mountain West Conference winner Boise State is one of the hottest teams in the nation having won six consecutive games. Washington, on the other hand, are a former Top-15 team who have struggled to end the season, suffering the program’s most losses since 2015.
- The Broncos have defeated the Huskies in two of three meetings since 2010.
- Boise State has a 25-15-2 ATS record since 2017.
- The Broncos are 1-0 as the underdog this season. Stats courtesy of Statschecker.
#19 Boise State and unranked Washington are unfamiliar foes but are both very similar in how they’re structured - sound defense with a high-powered offense.
The Broncos capped off an impressive (12-1) season on a six-game winning streak with a commanding 31-10 win over the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in the Mountain West title game.
Boise State failed to face a ranked opponent this season and suffered their lone loss on the road to BYU 28-25.
The Broncos had standouts on both sides of the ball, but perhaps no one has been bigger than junior linebacker Curtis Weaver who ranks fifth in the nation with 13.5 sacks.
Offensively, Boise State found success with three different dual threat quarterbacks. Senior Jaylon Henderson has been the most successful, throwing for 1,031 yards with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions, adding 140 rush yards and two rushing scores. Henderson also led the Broncos in the Mountain West Championship game.
Freshman Hank Bachmeier has also seen significant time, leading the team in passing yards with 1,760 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions.
The Broncos offense has been tough to slow down regardless of who is under center this season, ranking 14th in the nation averaging (36.8 ppg).
For Washington, a season that seemed to have much promise ended up crashing down with the peak being head coach Chris Peterson stepping down due to stress and anxiety prior to the bowl game.
The Huskies went an underwhelming (7-5) under Peterson this season with only one ranked win in three opportunities (defeated #21 USC 28-14).
Junior transfer quarterback Jacob Eason elevated the Huskies offense this season, throwing for 2,922 passing yards, 22 TDs, and 8 INTs. Junior running back Salvon Ahmed also contributed to the offense, eclipsing over 1,000 yards rushing with nine touchdowns. Behind Eason and Ahmed, the Huskies have averaged (31.5 ppg).
My pick is Boise State to cover the spread (+3.5), and I’ll sprinkle some on the moneyline at (+145). I’m also taking the OVER Total of 49.5 points.
Leading into the bowl game, Boise State’s offense was scorching hot and scored 31 points or more in four consecutive games.
With Henderson most likely in line to start, my expectation is the Broncos offense will open up and be on full display.
On the other side, the Huskies are led by Eason who will surely air the ball out and be responsible for plenty of points.
Both defenses are sound and nearly identical - Boise State allows (20.6 ppg) and Washington allows (20.4 ppg). With that said, neither is a world beater and I’m anticipating a high-scoring game that will be decided in the fourth quarter.
Final score prediction: Boise State Wins 35-31