The Mountain West Conference belonged to Boise State in 2019. Not only did the Broncos zip through their conference schedule unscathed at 8-0, but they punked Hawaii in the MWC Championship game, 31-10.
Unfortunately, Boise State got thrashed by Washington in the Las Vegas Bowl and will have their hands full trying to repeat in 2020.
Before I make any MWC football predictions, let’s check in with the pricing.
MWC Winner – Odds for 2020
San Diego State+600
San Jose State+3300
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The MWC football odds illustrate that Boise State is without a doubt the heavy favorite to emerge. Then again, Air Force knocked off Washington State in the 2019 Cheez-It Bowl and finished last season with 11 victories. SDSU demolished Central Michigan in the New Mexico Bowl and won double-digit games for the fourth time in five years. Perhaps investing in the Falcons and/or the Aztecs is worth a serious look.
Nevada or Wyoming could theoretically challenge for supremacy in the Mountain West Conference, but more than likely, it will turn into a three-horse race by November.
Is the right play to cough up -125 and back the Broncos?
Let’s examine the trio of schools at the top of the conference and find out.
Boise State Broncos
2019 Record: 12-2 (Lost the Las Vegas Bowl)
Best Player: Kekaula Kaniho, S
The top college football sportsbooks online think that Boise State’s path to another Mountain West Conference title is fairly clear. Once I investigated their 2020 schedule, it’s hard to disagree.
A three-week stretch early in the season (@ Air Force, vs. FSU, @ Marshall) isn’t exactly lined up with cupcakes, but all three are games where the Broncos will be installed as the betting favorite. In fact, Boise State is likely to be favored in all 12 of their regular-season games.
Replacing the production provided by Ezra Cleveland and Curtis Weaver won’t happen overnight, but Boise State is stocked with playmakers and brings in the top recruiting class in the MWC.
The arrival of USC transfer QB Jack Sears should motivate and push Hank Bachmeier, but don’t be confused and think there’s suddenly a QB controversy in Idaho. Bachmeier battled a hip injury as a true freshman but showed enough promise to have head coach Bryan Harsin excited.
All in all, I don’t see this group slipping up more than twice. That makes the “over 9.5” for Boise State’s win total a green-light special when it comes to betting college football online.
Air Force Falcons
2019 Record: 11-2 (Won the Cheez-It Bowl)
Best Player: Demonte Meeks, LB
If Air Force fans are expecting to see their team triumph to 11 more wins, I’d advise them not to hold their breath. It’s nice that the program ended the year with a top-25 ranking next to their name, but the football success in Colorado Springs might be short-lived.
The lack of a passing game isn’t what concerns me — the Falcons pride themselves on pounding the rock and know how to run the option like clockwork. What makes me wary is wondering if Donald Hammond III’s abilities are enough to win games in tough environments.
After squaring off against Boise State on September 12th, the Falcons head to West Lafayette to play Purdue. ESPN’s matchup predictor projects the Boilermakers win that one more than 70% of the time.
Of course, arduous tests versus Navy and Army loom, and Air Force will almost certainly be an underdog when they travel to Laramie to take on the Cowboys. Now you see why you have to lay -160 to back Air Force winning under 8.5 games despite the program winning 11 in 2019.
Stay away from the Falcons at +400 in your MWC football predictions. I just don’t see the upside.
San Diego State Aztecs
2019 Record: 10-3 (Won the New Mexico Bowl)
Best Player: Cameron Thomas, DL
The Rocky Long era is over. SDSU will introduce some fresh faces on defense, and a new quarterback will be leading the charge. With that being said, it seems a little disrespectful that SportsBetting.ag decided to peg the Aztecs’ win total at 7.5 games.
I won’t pretend Long’s departure is a good thing for the defense, but let’s not forget that this D surrendered 12.8 points per game in 2019. Talk about being in some pretty heady company, only Clemson, Georgia, and Ohio State allowed fewer points than the Aztecs a season ago.
Brady Hoke returns to Montezuma Mesa after leading San Diego State from 2009-2010, and Carson Baker appears to be an upgrade over last year’s starting quarterback, Ryan Agnew.
Expect SDSU to continue doing what they do best, which is run the football extremely effectively and play hard-nosed defense. WRs Jesse Matthews and Kobe Smith should see an uptick in their production as the team transitions to a more balanced attack, and Baker can rely on a three-headed monster in the backfield (Chase Jasmin, Jordan Byrd, Chance Bell) to keep the chains moving.
I might throw some money down on San Diego State winning the MWC at +600. Betting on the Aztecs winning the West Division of the conference (+150) has a whole bunch of merit.
You may as well pull the trigger on over 7.5 wins too and start rooting for the Scarlet and Black!
Who Will Win the MWC in 2020?
This is Boise State’s conference to lose. You can make a case for Air Force or SDSU in your MWC football predictions (2020), but it won’t take me long to start poking holes and finding the leaks.
When you assess the Broncos’ roster and evaluate the coaches that are in place, they are simply superior to what any other university/academy in the Mountain West Conference has as their disposal. On top of that, Boise State’s toughest two games on their schedule (vs. Florida State, vs. BYU) will both be played on the “Blue Field” at Albertsons Stadium. The Broncos have lost just one game at home since October of 2017.
I won’t guarantee Boise State runs the table or sniffs a berth into the College Football Playoff, but they’re worth naming as my MWC pick in 2020.
As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for GamblingSites.com on football, basketball, and baseball.
Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.