Mountain West Conference Football Betting Preview: Week 8
Taking a look at the odds for the opening Mountain West season.
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Game week is here! Get in your bets
Look, I wanted to have a big ol’ grand Mountain West Gambling Preview for the start of the season this weekend, but unfortunately, that’s not gonna happen.
With Covid causing continuous drama worldwide, including the postponement (or cancellation) of New Mexico vs. Colorado State, an extensive preview made no sense. Much of what will occur over the next few months is unpredictable and un-previewable, so let’s just get to the picks.
(NOTE: All lines via BetMGM as of Thursday, October 22)
Wyoming -4.5 @ Nevada ; O/U 51 ; 4 p.m. PT
Craig Bohl and the Cowboys are returning 11 starters from a team that easily could have won 10 games last season had they not lost four games by five points or less. There’s no doubt they’re thinking they can contend for the Mountain Division title this year, and to do that, they need to start off strong.
Nevada has a new defensive coordinator (Brian Ward), and this alone is worrisome. They’re going to be a contender in the West Division, but I’ll roll with Bohl here.
The Pick: Wyoming -4.5
Utah State @ Boise State -16 ; O/U 52.5 ; 4 p.m. PT
Four words: Blue Turf. Jordan Love.
The Broncos still got the former. The Aggies no longer have the latter. Utah State is also working with two new coordinators, and if you read the blurb above, you know that means uncertainty in an offseason that had limited practices.
I trust Bryan Harsin, Hank Bachmeier, and his receivers to put up some serious points in this one. I would lean toward the over 52.5 total too.
The Pick: Boise State -16 – Bet on this game at BetMGM
Hawaii @ Fresno State -4 ; O/U 67 ; 4:30 p.m. PT
The Rainbow Warriors away from the island are tough to bet on, even if they are the defending West Division champs. I’m a big Todd Graham fan, but I think it will take some time for the ‘Bows to get things rolling, especially after losing three of their top four receivers from a year ago, and quarterback Cole McDonald.
Fresno State may have a new coach in Kalen DeBoer, but the staff and overall philosophy are very similar, as DeBoer was Jeff Tedford’s offensive coordinator in 2017-2018.
I trust the Bulldogs in this spot, especially with it being a weird start time for Hawaii.
The Pick: Fresno State -4 – Bet on this at BetMGM
UNLV @ San Diego State (-15); O/U 49 ; 7:30 p.m. PT
As an Aztec For Life, I’m gonna try my hardest to be unbiased with these picks. I’ll even prove it this week.
UNLV is getting too many points here, regardless of the uncertainties they have with a new head coach.
Easily the biggest loss in the Mountain West this season was the Aztecs losing Rocky Long, head coach and defensive coordinator of over a decade. I love Brady Hoke, but a completely new defensive system has me worried.
Aztecs win, but UNLV covers. As for the total, unders were a CASH COW throughout the Rocky Long era, so Vegas is likely factoring that into the low number of 49. I’m not sure they’ll play the same way, though, with a slow pace and stifling defense, so I’ll pass on their totals until we see a game or two.
The Pick: UNLV +15 – Bet on this at BetMGM
Air Force -7 @ San Jose State; O/U 62 ; 7:30 p.m. PT
Air Force played three weeks ago and looked solid in a convincing win over Navy. San Jose State, like the rest of the Mountain West, hasn’t played yet. They’ve also been in California dealing with crazy Covid regulations and wildfires.
Air Force is a disciplined program, and while the Spartans almost made a bowl last year, they lost their stud quarterback Josh Love. The Spartans will rely on Nick Starkel this year, who may sound promising, but the fact that he couldn’t hold onto the starting job at Arkansas or Texas A&M says something.
Don’t overthink this one.
The Pick: Air Force -7 – Bet on this at BetMGM
For the record, I’ve been betting on the Mountain West for a long time, and I know this conference well. As the season progresses, I’ll get a better feel for the conference, and I’ll add more tidbits, total bets, and maybe some futures.
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In the meantime, feel free to follow me on Twitter @hunterohewitt, where I’ll often be tweeting about Mountain West games on Saturdays.