NCAA Football: Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Boise State Broncos Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Sept. 18, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 9 p.m. ET, Sept. 18, 2021
Venue: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
Where to watch: FS1

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Boise State -3.5; O/U 58; Boise State -165, Oklahoma State +145
BetMGM: Boise State -3.5; O/U 57; Boise State -175, Oklahoma State +145
Caesars: Boise State -3.5; O/U 57.5; Boise State -170, Oklahoma State +145

Season record
Oklahoma State: 2-0
Boise State: 1-1

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Oklahoma State - Boise State preview and analysis

Recent form
Oklahoma State: won 28-23 vs. Tulsa on Sept. 11
Boise State: won 54-13 vs. UTEP on Sept. 10

There hasn’t been a more dynamic passing game the Oklahoma State Cowboys have seen to this point than the Boise State Broncos.

That will change when the Cowboys visit the Smurf Turf on Saturday in what could be deemed as a must-win for both programs. That is, as much of a must-win as one can define in September.

But in terms of how these programs want their seasons defined, it is a crucial game for the Cowboys and Broncos. Oklahoma State is 2-0, but neither of its wins were impressive; a seven-point win against Missouri State in Week 1, followed by a five-point win at home against Tulsa. In those games, the Cowboys defense has allowed an average of 229 pass yards per game.

This is, by far, going to be the toughest passing attack Mike Gundy’s Cowboys will face to this point.

Led by quarterback Hank Bachmeier, the kings of Idaho are averaging 42.5 points per game and 301.5 yards through the air. Even with new head coach Andy Avalos leading the charge, Boise State still finds ways to put yards and points on the board.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma State’s offense hasn’t shown to be any better through two games. After an awful two-interception start in Week 1 from QB Spencer Sanders, Shane Illingworth threw for 315 yards but only one touchdown in that five-point win against the Golden Hurricane.

No matter which quarterback is throwing the ball for OSU, going into a tough environment facing a Boise State defense that’s annually a tough out in the Mountain West Conference each year is going to be a ridiculous challenge for Oklahoma State.

A Boise State loss would put the Broncos at 1-2 and in desperate need to run the table in order to finish with a strong season. A loss for Oklahoma State would end all hope in thinking they could challenge for a Big 12 championship.

Either way, you’re not going to find many college football games with such little influence now, but major implications down the road, especially from two unranked teams.


When the teams met in 2018, Oklahoma State won by 23 points despite not dominating in yards and having fewer first downs. This time, at Boise, things will be different. Not only should the Broncos win this game, but cover, as well. The fact the spread is as small as it is is shocking. It won’t be a blowout, but enough for the Broncos to feel good going to 2-1. Boise State by 10

Betting trends

Oklahoma State is 1-4 straight up in its last five as an underdog, but 2-3 against the spread.

Boise State is 16-2 straight up in its last 18 as a home favorite but only 10-8 ATS.

Players to watch

Oklahoma State: If the Cowboys can’t get the running game going, things will go south in a hurry. LD Brown, their top running back, has 56 yards and a touchdown, but only on 24 carries (2.3 yards per carry).

Boise State: Expect a more increased workload for top running back George Holani as he works his way back from injury. Holani had a 10-yard touchdown in his first game action last week, but just five carries for 22 yards. He’s a huge boost for the Boise State offense that’s already clicking on all cylinders.

Statistical leaders

Oklahoma State:
Passing: Shane Illingworth -- 315 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Spencer Sanders -- 62 yards
Receiving: Jayden Bray -- 136 yards, 1 TD
Defense: Malcolm Rodriguez -- 28 tackles

Boise State:
Passing: Hank Bachmeier -- 603 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Tyler Crowe -- 45 yards
Receiving: Khalil Shakir -- 257 yards, 2 TD
Defense: JL Skinner -- 22 tackles

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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