Boise State will continue with its motto of playing “anybody, anytime, anywhere” when it opens this season against the Rebels of Ole Miss on Thursday night at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
The Broncos are coming off their worst season in recent memory, and they're no longer the betting darlings of college football, with three straight losing seasons against the spread. But they have been double-digit underdogs just once in 13 seasons, and they won that game (2008 at Oregon).
Point spread: Rebels opened as 9.5-point favorites; the total was 54 at Georgia Dome, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)
Odds Shark computer prediction: 38.6-32.7 Broncos
Why the Boise State Broncos Can Cover the Spread
The Broncos are beginning the post-Coach Petersen era, but they are expected to continue on with their winning ways with new head coach and alumnus Bryan Harsin. Boise State returns 15 starters this season—six more than last year. Seven starters are back on offense, including senior QB Grant Hedrick, 1,400-yard rusher Jay Ajayi and last year's Top 2 receivers, Matt Miller and Shane Williams-Rhodes, while eight starters are back on defense, including the entire back seven.
Finally, over the last six seasons Boise State has been dogged by seven points or more four times (3-1 ATS, according to the college football database), so they clearly do not enjoy the underdog label.
Why the Mississippi Rebels Can Cover the Spread
The Rebs are heading into their third season under head coach Hugh Freeze, and college football programs often make great strides in the third seasons of coaching regimes. Ole Miss gets back 15 starters this year, including senior QB Bo Wallace, last year's two leading rushers and nine on defense, including last year's Top 5 tacklers.
The Rebels are 15-11 SU and 17-9 ATS under Freeze and 5-2 ATS when favored by seven points or more. If they can limit Boise State to 17-20 points, Ole Miss should begin this season with a win and a cover.
The Broncos are trying to bounce back under a new head coach, while the Rebs are trying to take the next step under Coach Freeze. But Boise State will have few friends at the Georgia Dome, while Ole Miss should be backed by most of the crowd. The Broncos will also be dealing with the learning curve that comes with a new coach, at least for the early part of this season.
And one has to wonder if this Boise State program is on the same level as the one that rose to national prominence under Coach Petersen. So the pick for this season opener is to give the points with the Rebs. The computer, which admittedly isn’t always too super early in the season, is calling the outright upset.
- Boise State 3-1 ATS past four games as dogs of 7+ points
- Mississippi trends UNDER in September games (seven of past nine)
Note: All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark, all quotes gathered first-hand unless otherwise noted—check out Twitter for injury updates and line move updates and get the free odds tracker app.