Mountain West Predictions: Picks against the spread for Week 4


Making predictions against the spread for every game in the Mountain West this week.

We try to steer clear from the negative, but there’s no sugarcoating how bad the Mountain West has been through three weeks. The conference hasn’t recorded a win over a FBS team in non-conference play since Week 1, when Boise State beat Washington. For those keeping score at home, that’s 21 straight losses to FBS non-conference woes since the Broncos’ season-opening win.

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If you thought perhaps the historic futility was flying under the national radar, you’d be sadly mistaken. The conference had eight teams listed in this week’s CBS Sports Bottom 25 list. Suddenly the conference’s top priority has gone from reaching a New Year’s bowl to escaping from the Bottom 25. That’s never a good thing.
And we haven’t even mentioned the Fresno State quarterback arrest and the season-ending injury for Utah State QB Chuckie Keeton. Yes, it’s been quite a start for the Mountain West.

Things don’t figure to change too much this week, although Boise State can help get the weekend off to a promising start with a win at Virginia on Friday. But even that is no sure bet with starting QB Ryan Finley out for the season with broken ankle. Fortunately, the Broncos have some depth at quarterback. They might be the only team in the conference that can make that claim.

Last week: 5-5 ATS. Overall: 11-13 ATS
Note: Games involving FCS teams had no line and weren’t included in ATS picks in Week 1.

Boise State (-2.5) at Virginia: The Broncos are expected to play both Thomas Stuart and freshman Brett Rypien on Friday, but many Boise State fans are hoping the highly touted Rypien takes the job and runs with it. Virginia is looking to avoid a 1-3 start, but we’re sold on Broncos RB Jeremy McNichols, who has already rushed for seven TDs. Pick: Boise State -2.5

New Mexico at Wyoming (+3.5): The Lobos “only” lost 34-10 at Arizona State last week, so we’ll give them the edge here against a Wyoming team that might be the worst in the country. The Cowboys have lost five straight at home. Pick: New Mexico -3.5.

Nevada (-1) at Buffalo: The Wolf Pack have to travel 2,125 miles this week, and they don’t even have the longest trip in the conference. (San Diego State’s visit to Penn State is 2,230 miles.) We’re thinking the time change hurts Nevada, which has lost back-to-back games to tough opponents (Arizona and Texas A&M). Pick: Buffalo +1

San Diego State (+15) at Penn State: Remember back when the Aztecs were the popular choice to win the West Division of the Mountain West? Seems like months ago now. The Aztecs are coming off a baffling loss to South Alabama and seem to be headed in the wrong direction under coach Rocky Long. Pick: Penn State -15

Colorado State (-10) at UTSA: The Rams have lost consecutive games in overtime and need to start taking better care of the football (they have 11 turnovers through three games). First-year coach Mike Bobo is working with a young squad that should get better as the season goes on, starting this Saturday. Pick: Colorado State -10

Hawaii at Wisconsin (-24.5): The Rainbow Warriors played Ohio State tough two weeks ago and return to the Midwest looking for another strong performance against Wisconsin. We’re still not ready to call Hawaii a legitimate contender — even in the weak West Division — but the Rainbow Warriors should cover here. Pick: Hawaii -24.5

Idaho State at UNLV (no line): Coach Tony Sanchez should get his first career win Saturday as the Rebels take on FCS member Idaho State. UNLV is due for a breather after opening against Northern Illinois, UNLV and Michigan. Pick: UNLV

Fresno State at San Jose State (-4.5): It’s been a terrible week for the Bulldogs, who lost quarterback Chason Virgil to a season-ending injury and then saw quarterback Zack Greenlee arrested for public intoxication. Even if Greenlee is suspended for Saturday’s contest, Marteze Waller should dominate a suspect Spartans’ run defense. Pick: Fresno State +4.5

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