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Friday, August 31st will be the 2nd say of the college football season with 5 games on the board, 3 regular and two added. The marquee game on Friday will match Boise State against Michigan State. The game can be seen on ESPN at 8pm est. Michigan State is currently a -7 point favorite at 5 Dimes Sportsbook with a total of 45.5.
The line movement on this one has been interesting. Keep in mind, some books will have had this game on the board for about a month by the time kick off rolls around. The first sportsbook to post numbers on most games these days is betonline. They posted Michigan State as a -1 point favorite back on July 31st. Bettors wasted no time backing Michigan State, pushing the number to -3 within 3 minutes. On that day, the game closed -5.5 and a couple of days later it settled in at -7 where the action has been balanced ever since. The total opened 47 and was bet down to 45.5. Keep in mind the people driving the number on a college football game in July are not your average Joe public squares.
This game should tell us whether or not Boise State is able to recruit talent with the big boys. As the saying goes, the cupboard is bare. They lost 6 starters from the offense including superstar QB Kellen Moore and return just 2 starters to their defense. It's the most depleted roster in head coach Chris Petersen's 7 years at the helm. They catch a small break in that Michigan State has a little bit of a rebuilding job to do on the offensive side of the ball, replacing their own superstar QB, Kirk Cousins and 5 others from last years starting offense. Unfortunately for Boise, the Michigan State offensive line is still largely intact, and they return 8 to a defense that was pretty damn good last year.
The knock on Boise State has always been their schedule strength. They basically have played one big name opponent per year to go along with their incredibly weak schedule the rest of the way. To Boise States credit, each and every time they step up in class, they answer the bell. The last 3 seasons for example, they opened against Oregon, Virginia Tech and Georgia and they beat every one of them, and who could forget that bowl game against Oklahoma in the 2006 season. But if they had to get up for big time conference opponents week in and week out, things would be different.
We'd like to back Michigan State here. They have the better talent, should have no problem running the ball, and should have a fantastic defense this year. When you factor in a rabid Friday night home crowd, the national TV audience and the one game everyone will be watching factor, they look like the right side. We're not crazy about playing a game that has had all of the value sucked out of it though. Sharp bettors simply do not play games at -7 that were once -1. For that matter, they don't play -7 when the game was once -2, -3, -4, -5, -6 and -6.5. It looks as though 7 is the right number here as it hasn't budged since reaching that number. Any line movement past the -7 will only increase the value on the Boise State side.
From a betting standpoint, we have to pass this game. We think Michigan State will end up on top here and may even cover the -7. They are the better team with the better talent and have what could prove to be a significant home field advantage due to the circumstances. But we'll watch this one from the sidelines. Should be a fun game. Good Luck if you bet it!
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