Game 1 of the Mountain West Conference Championship Tournament semifinal will be played at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on Friday, March 11, so don’t forget to get the best Wyoming Cowboys and Boise State Broncos betting pick and odds.
The conference rivals have met on two occasions this year, and the series is tied at 1-1 as the home side was victorious each time. The Broncos are slight 2.5-point favorites here, while the total is set at 129 points, according to Bovada Sportsbook.
Wyoming edged UNLV to reach the semis
The Wyoming Cowboys (25-7; 17-12-2 ATS), who ended the regular season in 4th place in the Mountain West with a 13-5 conference record, snatched a narrow 59-56 victory over the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels in the quarterfinal of the tournament. The Cowboys covered a -1.5 spread as sophomore forward Graham Ike (11 PTS and 13 REB) and senior guard Hunter Maldonado (11 PTS, 5 AST, and 4 REB) led them to the victory.
The Cowboys have been playing well on both ends of the floor this year. Wyoming has the 75th defense in basketball that allows 65.7 ppg, while its offense averages 73.8 ppg (111th). Wyoming is 67th in the country in defensive efficiency with 97.4 points per 100 possessions, while the Cowboys are 52nd in offensive efficiency with 110.7 points per 100 possessions.
Graham Ike leads the team in points and rebounds with 19.9 ppg and 9.6 rpg. Hunter Maldonado averages 18.7 ppg, 6.4 apg, and 5.8 rpg, while Drake Jeffries has been the third star of the team with 10.4 ppg and 5.3 rpg. Wyoming is No. 47 in the NCAA NET Rankings and No. 53 in the KenPom rankings.
Akot carries Boise State over Nevada
The Boise State Broncos (25-7; 16-15 ATS) ended the campaign as a regular-season champion of the Mountain West with a 15-3 record in conference play. They did fail to cover a -6.5 spread in the quarterfinal against the Nevada Wolf Pack but managed to secure a tight 71-69 victory thanks to senior guard Emmanuel Akot, who led them with 22 PTS, 4 REB, and 4 AST.
The Broncos utilized their great defense throughout the season to get this far. Boise State has the 14th defense in basketball that allows 60.8 ppg, while its offense averages 69.2 ppg (228th). Boise State is 19th in the country in defensive efficiency with 92.8 points per 100 possessions, while the Broncos are 75th in offensive efficiency with 108.8 points per 100 possessions.
Senior forward Abu Kigab is the team’s top scorer with 14.7 ppg along with 5.9 rpg. Marcus Shaver (13.9 ppg and 3.8 rpg), Tyson Degenhart (10.2 ppg and 3.9 rpg), and Emmanuel Akot (10.3 ppg and 3.1 rpg) are also playing well this year.
- 4-2 ATS in the last six games against Boise State
- 9-2 ATS in the last 11 neutral site games
- 4-0 ATS in the last four neutral site games as an underdog
- 4-9 ATS in the last 13 games when playing as the favorite
Wyoming vs. Boise State Pick
Although Boise State won eight of the previous ten H2H encounters, Wyoming managed to cover six of those and is playing pretty well on neutral sites in recent years, especially as an underdog. The Broncos are in better form generally, but I can’t ignore that one of three losses in the last 25 games came to the Cowboys.
Boise State will play its usual rock-solid defense; however, Graham Ike exploded for 33 points with ten rebounds in the most recent H2H tilt, and the Cowboys will rely on him one more time to beat the Broncos on Friday. It’s going to be an extremely close encounter, but I am giving an edge to the Cowboys.
Pick: Take Wyoming +2.5 at -110
It’s always tricky to bet on Over when Boise State is playing because of its sturdy defense and slow-paced offense. Still, this clash is going down to the wire and we will likely have a one-possession game with a lot of free throws late on, and perhaps overtime.
The total has gone Over in ten of Boise State’s last 12 games. Over is 7-0 in the Broncos’ previous seven games following an ATS loss, while Over is 8-3 in the Cowboys’ last 11 neutral site games.
Pick: Go Over 129 points at -110