College Football Fiesta Bowl Betting Preview: #20 Boise State Broncos vs #10 Arizona Wildcats

2014 Visio Fiesta Bowl
#20 Boise State Broncos vs #10 Arizona Wildcats

University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, Arizona
Wednesday, December 31, 2014, 4:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Arizona -4
Current Line: Arizona -3
Opening Total: 68 1/2
Current Total: 67 1/2
Opening Money Line: Arizona -150 / Boise State +130
Current Money Line: Arizona -160 / Boise State +135

Arizona is a 3 point favorite against Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl Wednesday.
Arizona is a 3 point favorite against Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl Wednesday.

The 11-2 Boise State Broncos and 10-3 Arizona Wildcats meet for the first time ever in the Fiesta Bowl Wednesday in Glendale, Arizona. Boise State won the Mountain West Championship with a 7-1 record. The Broncos beat Fresno State 28-14 in the MWC Championship game. Boise State gained a berth in this New Year’s Six bowl by being the highest ranked conference champion of the non-power five conferences. Arizona went 7-2 and won the Pac 12 South Division. The Wildcats lost to Oregon 51-13 in the Pac 12 Championship game.

Boise State is 9-5 all-time in bowl games. The Broncos are playing in a bowl game for for the 13th straight season. Boise State lost last year to Oregon State 38-23 in the Hawaii Bowl to snap a 4 game bowl winning streak. The Broncos are 2-0 all-time in the Fiesta Bowl with wins in 2007 and 2010. The 2007 game was especially memorable with a 43-42 upset win over Oklahoma in overtime.

Arizona is 9-9-1 all-time in bowl games. The Wildcats are playing in their third straight bowl games and have won 2 straight games. Arizona beat Boston College 42-19 last season in the Advocare V100 Bowl. Arizona is 1-1 all time in the Fiesta Bowl and hasn’t played here since a 29-0 win over Miami in 1993.

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Boise State is coached by Bryan Harsin. The Broncos have losses to Ole Miss 35-13 in Atlanta and at Air Force 28-14. Boise State has won 8 straight games. The Broncos have home wins over Colorado State 37-24, Louisiana 34-9, Fresno State 37-27, BYU 55-30, San Diego State 38-29, Utah State 50-19 and Fresno again in the championship game. Boise State has road wins at Connecticut 38-21, Nevada 51-46, New Mexico 60-49, and Wyoming 63-14. The Broncos are 7-6 ATS and the total is 9-4 this season. Boise State was a 22.5 point favorite against Fresno State in the Mountain West Championship game and the total was 70.

Arizona is coached by Rich Rodriguez. Arizona has losses at home to USC 28-26, at UCLA 17-7 and Oregon in the Pac 12 Championship game in Santa Clara, CA. The Wildcats have home wins over UNLV 58-13, Nevada 35-28, Cal 49-45, Colorado 38-20, Washington 27-26 and last week against Arizona State 42-35, along with road wins at UTSA 26-23, Oregon 31-24, Washington State 59-37 and at Utah 42-10. Arizona had won 3 straight games before the Oregon loss. Arizona is 5-8 ATS and the total is 4-9. The Wildcats were 14.5 point underdogs against Oregon  and the total was 72.5.

Boise State is outscoring teams 40-27 this season. BSU is #9 in scoring nationally. The Broncos are averaging 497 yards per game including 278 passing and 219 rushing yards. The Broncos are in the top 30 nationally in all three categories, including #12 in total offense. On defense Boise State is allowing 367 total yards including 225 passing and 142 rushing yards per game. The Broncos have forced 29 turnovers and have 22 of their own. Boise State is averaging 56 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 44 yards. The Broncos are 96/212 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 81/227. Boise has forced 39 sacks and allowed 27 this season.  The Broncos are 61/68 scoring in the red zone with 48 touchdowns and opponents are 32/40 with 24 touchdowns.Boise state has 6 defensive and special teams touchdowns and has allowed 4 this season.

Boise quarterback Grant Hedrick has completed 70.9% of his passes for 3,387 yards with 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, along with 147 carries for 563 yards and 8 touchdowns. Running back Jay Ajayi has 325 carries for 1,689 yards and 25 touchdowns, plus 45 catches for 536 yards and 4 touchdowns. Devan Demas has 2rushing touchdowns

Receiver Thomas Sperbeck has 39 catches for 678 yards and 3 touchdowns. Shane Williams-Rhodes has 68 catches for 585 yards with 7 touchdowns, along with 13 carries for 184 rushing yards. Matt Miller has 28 catches for 461 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is out for the season with an ankle injury. Jake Roh has 33 catches for 399 yards with 2 touchdowns. Five defensive players are out for the season.

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Arizona is outscoring teams 35-28 this season. The Wildcats are #28 nationally in scoring. Arizona is #27 in total offense  averaging 462 yards per game including the 29th best passing attack at 278 yards per game . The rushing game is #44 out of 128 teams at 184 yards per game. On defense, the Wildcats are allowing 449 yards per game including 278 passing and 170 rushing yards per game. Arizona is #120 nationally in pass defense and #104 in total defense. The Wildcats are +8 in turnovers with 24 takeaways. Arizona is 96/225 on third and fourth down conversions, and opponents are 96/236. Arizona averages 64 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 77. The Wildcats have forced 37 sacks and allowed 32. Arizona is 44/55 scoring in the red zone with 31 touchdowns, and opponents are 44/50 with 30 touchdowns. Arizona has 2 special teams and four defensive touchdowns this season and has allowed one defensive touchdown.

Arizona freshman quarterback Anu Solomon has been very good this season. He has completed 58% of his passes for 3,458 yards with 27 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, and he also has 114 carries for 259 yards and a touchdown. Running back Nick Wilson has 217 carries for 1,289 yards with 15 touchdowns, plus 12 catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. Terris Jones-Grigsby has 107 carries for 528 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 11 catches.

Receiver Cayleb Jones has 65 catches for 902 yards and 9 touchdowns. Samajie Grant has 41 catches for 649 yards and 5 touchdowns. Austin Hill has 45 catches for 604 yards and 4 touchdowns. Trey Griffey and Davonte’ Neal will also get a lot of targets. Receiver Nate Phillips is out for the season with a foot injury. Five defensive players are questionable or out.

Boise State is 4-1 ATS after failing to cover,7-2 after allowing more than 280 passing yards, 1-4 against Pac 12 teams, 1-5 on grass and after allowing 20 points or less, and 0-4 in December.

Arizona is 4-1 ATS after allowing more than 200 rushing yards, 16-37 after allowing more than 280 passing yards, 6-14 against teams with winning records, 2-6 after allowing more than 450 total yards, 1-4 in neutral site games, 1-5 in December, 1-6 after scoring less than 20 points, and 1-8 on grass.

This should be a high scoring game between two explosive offenses and defenses that aren’t exactly spectacular.  Boise has been red hot recently, but I think Arizona wins in what is basically a home game in Glendale.

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