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Boise State Broncos vs. Washington Huskies Point Spread - Pick

Boise State Broncos (12-1 SU, 8-5 ATS) vs. Washington Huskies (7-5 SU, 7-5 ATS)
Mitsubishi Las Vegas Bowl
Date/Time: Saturday, December 21, 2019 at 7:30PM EST
Where: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada
TV: ABC

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: BSU +3.5/WASH -3.5
Over/Under Total: 49.5

The Boise State Broncos battle the Washington Huskies on Saturday in the Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium. It's an interesting matchup between the Mountain West champion Broncos and the Pac-12's Huskies. It is Washington coach Chris Petersen's last game as the Washington coach, which followed a highly successful tenure at Boise. He now faces his former team in his Washington swan song. In their last game, the Broncos put a cap on a successful season, beating Hawaii lopsidedly in the title game on December 7. Washington finished an up-and-down season well with a win over in-state rival Washington State on November 29, 31-13. Who is in a better position to notch the cover in their season-finale.

There could be some letdown in this spot on both sides of the equation. When a team has high goals like Washington and they end up with a 7-win season playing in Vegas before Christmas, it can lead to a less-than-ideal headspace. When your coach calls it quits, it has a way of making that negativity resonate even more. Add to that a couple key players on offense sitting this one out in readiness of the NFL draft, it means an offense that underperformed dramatically this season will be even that much more compromised. This wasn't where they wanted to be this season.

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For Boise, there is less concern, simply on the basis of how well they delivered this season, both as an overall team, but also at the betting windows. They've been awfully consistent except for a loss on the road to BYU. At the same time, for a team knocking on the door of 13 wins, this bowl-game isn't the most appealing. They did win this same game a few years ago, but it's a bit of a letdown nonetheless. And the coaching angle here might not be that much of an angle. While Boise coach Bryan Harsin is facing his old boss, Petersen left 6 years ago. So it won't really resonate with players and might not affect much of what we see on the field on December 24.

I also wouldn't read too much into Boise's issues at quarterback. As of press time, starter Hank Bachmeier is still questionable and has been sitting out while Jaylon Henderson assumed the starting duties. Henderson has been doing fine and with his useful legs, even adds another dimension. He works with some good backs, with freshman George Holani leading the way. And with CT Thomas, John Hightower, and Khalil Shakir as targets, they have a lot of talent. They are consistent and this side of the ball delivers far more often than not. After a season with a lot of success on offense, the main question is whether they can deliver in this context—against a good Pac-12 defense.

The Boise State defense will be called upon to assuage a Washington offense that has experienced its share of issues this season. They have a lot of horses, led in the front seven by pass-rushing menace Curtis Weaver. The secondary has guys like Kekoa Nawahine, veterans with playmaking ability who can feast on mistake-prone offenses. A lot comes down to projection. It's a lot different when playing the teams Washington has faced this season. Things are a little easier in the Mountain West. Still, Boise's "D" would seem to be on par with that of a mid-level Pac-12 unit. But you just never know until they're on the field.

Washington quarterback Jacob Eason has been subdued as of late, as he tried, often times in vain, to lead this Huskies' offense to greener pastures this season. With two TD tosses in his last three games, he hasn't shown much spark against some dicey defenses in Oregon State, Colorado, and Washington State, making one wonder how it will translate against a balanced Boise offense. Losing Bryant as he sits this one out really hurts and losing T Trey Adams can't help against a pressuring Broncos "D." All season long, it's been a problem, it never got better, and it's downright difficult forecasting a peak Huskies' offense surfacing in this spot.

The Washington "D" is a big part of why they're here and why the Huskies are favored to beat a 12-win Boise St. in this spot. When seeing them hold USC to 14 points and Washington State to 13, it's not that hard forecasting them clamping down on a Mountain West offense. It's a defense that has a lot of balance, with the ability to rush the passer, make plays, and remain stout against both the run and the pass. With an offense that has left them out to dry and an eroding overall team morale, this is one part of the Washington machine that has remained relatively intact.

Even when grading what Boise does well on a curve based on the difference in conference-quality, there are still some things that shake out well for them on a matchup level. Gaining offensive foothold might be hard, but can't that be said for the Huskies, as well? There are some interesting variables in this matchup and it's impossible to wrangle all of them. At the end of it, I like Boise's balance on all fronts. In addition, they were who they wanted to be this season, while Washington was most certainly not. With a lot of the fallout from that having manifested, I see Boise as just being the more-bankable choice in this game. I'll take the Broncos and the points.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Boise State Broncos plus 3.5 points. Bet the Broncos-Huskies game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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