Utah State vs San Diego State Odds & Prediction: How to Bet Aztecs
Photo by Justin Fine/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Keshad Johnson (San Diego State)
Utah State vs San Diego State Odds
|Utah State Odds
-110o / -110u
|San Diego State Odds
-110o / -110u
San Diego State returns home to Viejas Arena after consecutive road victories in the Mountain West.
Boise State's loss last weekend moved the Aztecs into the top spot in the conference standings all by themselves, but Utah State is apart of the close-chasing pack in a very competitive and balanced top of the MWC.
Wednesday night is the first of two scheduled meetings between the programs this season, as Ryan Odom looks to return his Utah State squad to the top of the conference in year two of his regime in Logan.
The Aggies are finally winning some close games this season — they beat UNLV and San Jose State by a combined five points in their last two games.
The matchups between SDSU and Utah State were dominated by the home side last season, with the Aztecs winning by 19 at home and losing by 18 on the road.
The matchup isn't great for Utah State on paper, as it continues to try to outrun the potential 3-point regression that looms for its offense.
The biggest problem for the Aggies in this matchup is that San Diego State does an excellent job of guarding the perimeter.
Utah State is the best 3-point shooting team in the country at 41.4%, but the Aztecs allow an open 3 on just 12% of attempts, per ShotQuality. That ranks 16th in the nation.
Opponents have made just 30.9% from beyond the arc this season against the Aztecs, and the metrics say this is about as expected.
The same is not true for the Aggies' offense. They make 3s at the best rate in the nation, but they're not efficient at generating wide open looks from the perimeter.
The expected 3-point percentage for Utah State is 35%, and the Aggies rank 219th in open 3 rate.
The Aggies do have excellent overall shooters who are capable of making semi-contested looks, but the Aztecs' defense and ball pressure is one of the best they've faced all season.
Odom also loves to push the Aggies out into transition whenever possible, and they're very efficient there, per Synergy.
The problem is that you need to get stops to push in transition, and it's very hard to get out and run against San Diego State, too. The Aztecs have an above-average transition defense and they're very good at just preventing the chances altogether.
They're bottom-25 nationally in average possession length, thus they will force the Aggies to operate in the half-court on Wednesday.
San Diego State has had major problems closing out games, and it's becoming a trend.
The Aztecs were outscored by 10+ by both Nevada and New Mexico in the final 10 minutes and blew a multiple-possession lead against Colorado State in the final two minutes before later winning in overtime.
They've struggled with any type of full-court press, and they haven't handled the pressure situations well.
That means two things.
One, it could mean that their power rating is worse than it should be. They've donated so many points to late-game runs, and the true talent and rating of this team should be higher.
Two, it makes them a risk to back as a favorite of three possessions, as they'll need to execute in-bounds plays and free throws under pressure to secure a cover if the game is close late.
Despite all that, this is a favorable matchup for the Aztecs' offense. San Diego State runs a ton of ball screens and isolation to generate shot attempts, and that's two areas where the Utah State defense has major flaws.
The Aggies are in the sixth percentile in isolation defense and 32nd in ball-screen defense, per Synergy.
They don't really have a wing defender who can stick with Matt Bradley on the dribble drive or the step-back jumper.
If the Aztecs do opt to go in the post, Utah State has been really poor defending there too and is well-below average nationally.
Everything that SDSU wants to do offensively, it should be able to comfortably get into in this matchup.
Utah State vs San Diego State Betting Pick
If Utah State continues to shoot this well from the perimeter and runs efficiently in transition, it'll have a real chance at the top of this conference and an opportunity to earn an at-large NCAA tournament bid.
But San Diego State is the best perimeter defense in the MWC by far and should cause problems for Odom's motion offense with its ball pressure.
The Aztecs are the one truly elite perimeter defense in the conference and that should bother the Aggies' passing and shooters.
The market opened this line at San Diego State -5.5 and it has shifted up to the current market number of 6.5. The market was as high as 7.5 on Wednesday morning before it moved back toward the Aggies.
I'm choosing to split my bet to avoid another potential late-game meltdown if the Aztecs aren't able to hold off Utah State's press or avoid any scramble situations in the final minutes.