San Diego State vs Nevada Odds & Prediction: Betting Value on Aztecs

San Diego State vs Nevada Odds & Prediction: Betting Value on Aztecs article feature image

Via David Becker/Getty Images. Pictured: Matt Bradley #3 of the San Diego State Aztecs looks on during a break in the action against the Colorado State Rams during a semifinal game of the Mountain West Conference basketball tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center on March 11, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

San Diego State vs Nevada Odds

Tuesday, Jan. 31
11 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
San Diego State Odds
-110o / -110u
Nevada Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

San Diego State maintains a one-game lead at the top of the Mountain West standings as the Aztecs enter their most difficult three-game stretch of their conference schedule. They'll play Boise State this weekend and travel to Utah State next week, but the Aztecs will first travel to Reno to take on Nevada on Tuesday night.

The Wolf Pack are unbeaten at home this season, with a 10-0 record that includes wins against Boise State, New Mexico and Utah State in league play. It's also an excellent revenge spot for Nevada after the Aztecs beat the Wolf Pack by nine points in the first meeting between the two teams on Jan. 10.

Despite it being a good situational spot for Nevada at home off a costly away defeat at UNLV on Saturday, the market has moved solidly against the Wolf Pack. The Aztecs opened as one-point favorites and are now laying almost a full possession on the road. The matchup is considerably less favorable for the Wolf Pack than the spot, and the Aztecs still show some value even after the overnight steam.

San Diego State Aztecs

The question for San Diego State entering the season is whether or not it would be able to score enough to make a true deep NCAA Tournament run and supplement its elite defense. What we've learned this season is that the Aztecs have plenty of offense, but the defense has shown unexpected cracks and fallen from its previously elite level of years past.

The Aztecs now have comparable offensive and defensive efficiency ratings per KenPom, which is quite a surprise given where they began the season. The Aztecs have the 248th-best 2-point defense in the country, they grade out below average in transition defense and are below average against ball screens, per Synergy.

Last season, ShotQuality graded this defense as 24th-best in field goal percentage allowed at the rim. This year, they've fallen to just outside the top 100. This is still an elite perimeter defense — they rank 11th in Open 3 Rate and can apply ball pressure to take offenses out of their rhythm and force turnovers.

San Diego State does have some matchup advantages in this game that it can exploit though. The Aztecs run pick-and-roll at one of the highest rates in the country offensively, and that's a major weakness for the Nevada defense. The Wolf Pack are in the 28th percentile nationally per Synergy in pick-and-roll defense. San Diego State is pushing transition more than years past too, and that will exploit a porous Nevada transition defense in this matchup.

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Nevada Wolf Pack

Nevada goes to the high post for its offense more than most offenses in the country, and the Wolf Pack are quite efficient there. One of the main reasons this is a poor matchup for them is that the Aztecs have one of the best post-up defenses in the country.

On paper, SDSU was a top-20 post-up defense unit entering the season. Even using the data from this year with reigning MWC defensive player of the year Nathan Mensah, the Aztecs are 72nd percentile in guarding the post.

The Aztecs also have the individual on-ball defender quality to slow down the isolation talent and shotmaking of Jarod Lucas. Lucas managed 11 points on 2-of-6 shooting and 1-of-4 from deep in the first meeting. Post-up first forward Will Baker only scored seven points.

Nevada's offense should stay in this game by getting to the free throw line, but there's no other easy way for them to get points. The Wolf Pack's transition offense is pretty mediocre, and that's one area where the Aztecs are considerably more vulnerable defensively this season.

San Diego State vs. Nevada Betting Pick

It's important to note that even though Nevada covered the closing line in the last meeting with a backdoor nine-point defeat, they weren't ever in the game. San Diego State never trailed for a second in the game and led by as many as 22 in the final 10 minutes. The Wolf Pack closed the game on a 15-2 run to make the score look a lot more respectable than it was.

That's also not the only time the Aztecs have taken their foot off the gas and struggled with teams in the final minutes of games when protecting a huge lead. Overall, it dampens their efficiency metrics and market ratings more than it really should.

San Diego State certainly has issues breaking presses without turning the ball over, but they're the clearly much better team in a very favorable matchup on Tuesday. I'd lay the Aztecs at -3 or better.

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