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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 7:00 PM

The Hawaii Bowl has become a holiday tradition…giving avid football fans something to watch on either Christmas Eve or Christmas when the bowl schedule is normally very light. This year, Boise State of the Mountain West takes on Oregon State of the Pac 12 in what is already the third postseason meeting between those two conferences.

*Colorado State of the MW rallied to shock Washington State of the P12

*Fresno State of the MW couldn’t come close to rallying in a blowout loss to USC of the P12

That makes this the rubber match of what’s become a nice bowl rivalry between a mid-major with a chip on its shoulder and a major conference that’s often overrated or under-inspired for these games. Can small underdog Boise State push through? Let’s run through our standard preview data…


Won-Lost Records (strength of schedule)

Oregon State: 6-6 (#12 schedule in USA Today)

Boise State: 8-4 (#94 schedule in USA today)

Boise State had the better won-lost record this year, but played a much softer schedule. Them market seems to be giving Oregon State a lot of credit for that tough slate, particularly their season finale nailbiter against powerful Oregon. Both teams faced Washington of the Pac 12 this season, giving us a common opponent.


Boise State lost to Washington 38-6, getting outgained 592-346

Oregon State lost to Washington 69-27, getting outgained 692-414


Well, you can see why these two teams are in a minor early bowl! Washington isn’t even a superpower this year, but the Huskies looked that good against both of these squads. Boise State was outgained by 246 yards, Oregon State by 278 yards. That limited sample suggests Boise State won’t be outmatched talent-wise. They earn the slightly better grading.


Yards-Per Play

Oregon State: 6.2 on offense, 6.1 on defense

Boise State: 6.0 on offense, 5.2 on defense

The raw numbers give the nod to Boise State. But, after you adjust for schedule…it’s arguably very close. If Oregon State was +0.1 vs. a very difficult schedule, they surely would have shown a better differential vs. the slate Boise State played. Give Boise State the other schedule, and they drop way back. Our in-house adjustments make Oregon State the better neutral field team in this dynamic.


Turnover Differential

Oregon State: +2

Boise State: +4

Virtually a wash here considering the margin for error in a stat like this. Both teams got the best of it but neither was particularly strong. If you give Oregon State bonus credit for finishing positive against a tougher schedule, you start to see why they’re the market favorite. Given equal footing, they’re more likely to win YPP differential and turnover differential. Is the Vegas line giving them enough credit?


Market Performance

Oregon State: 6-6 ATS

Boise State: 6-6 ATS

Well…great job by the market there! Oregon State was overrated in the first month of action, dropping three of four against the spread. But, they did impress often in league play when matched against lower division squads. It’s worth noting that OSU failed to cover against Stanford, USC, and Washington…while crushing the likes of Colorado and California. Where does Boise State fit on that scale? A tricky tweener.


Current Line: Oregon State by 3, total 64


If college football games were 56 minutes long instead of 60, the Pac 12 would already have two double digit wins vs. the Mountain West. Washington State’s choke job was one for the ages. Is that a sign that Oregon State will win comfortably as long as they don’t choke? There is a class difference between these leagues…and it took WSU ineptitude to create a split where a sweep should have been.

On the other hand, Oregon State left everything on the field in their near-upset of hated Oregon. Can they re-focus and find that same level of intensity for an opponent that may not get their juices flowing in quite the same way? That wasn’t just a loss in Eugene. It was a heartbreaker that the team believes they should have won.

JIM HURLEY has been working very closely with his sources in both conferences to get the right read on this game. He knows you want to win on THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS! You can purchase the final word throughout the day Tuesday with your credit card right here at the website. If you have any questions, talk to the NETWORK representative in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155. Be sure to ask about value prices for remaining football and the rest of basketball when you call.


Here’s the Christmas Week preview schedule for the coming days here in the NOTEBOOK…

Wednesday: Special Christmas Day NBA Previews on an off-day for football

Thursday: Poinsettia Bowl with Utah State vs. Northern Illinois

Friday: Fight Hunger Bowl with Washington vs. BYU

Saturday: Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl with Michigan and Kansas State

Sunday: Philadelphia at Dallas in the NFL on NBC

Monday: Holiday Bowl with Texas Tech vs. Arizona State


Day-by-day…jingling all the way…you’ll be GETTING ALL THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

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