College Basketball Odds & Picks for Air Force vs. San Diego State: First Half Play to Make
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured:
- San Diego State hosts Air Force in a Mountain West clash.
- The Aztecs are one of the best defensive teams in the country while the Falcons have struggled offensively.
- Keg breaks down the game and offers up his best bet.
Air Force vs. San Diego State Odds
|Air Force Odds|
-110o / -110u
|San Diego State Odds|
-110o / -110u
In my opinion, the Mountain West is one of the most underrated conferences in all of college basketball. There are a lot of talented teams that are not only fun to watch, but could give a lot of Power Five schools a run for their money.
San Diego State is one of those teams, and on Saturday, it will be taking on a squad that is near the bottom of the MWC.
Air Force is currently 10-12 on the season and just 3-8 in the Mountain West. The Falcons are also currently on a four-game losing streak and have won just three of their last 14.
San Diego State, meanwhile, is firmly on the radar of teams no one wants to see in the first round of March Madness. The Aztecs have hit a few bumps in the road recently, though, losing three games over a two-week stretch.
They did manage to bounce back with a two-game win streak, but can they keep it going against the Falcons?
This is the first and only meeting between the two teams this year. The Aztecs have dominated the series historically and as of recently, they have won the last five meetings.
Conference play has been a tough road for the Falcons, who were 7-1 to start the season.
In their last game, the Falcons had one of their worst losses of the season, as UNLV beat them by 34.
Air Force’s offense has been the worst in the Mountain West, averaging just 59.2 points per game. And what’s odd about its offense is it truly isn’t that bad of a shooting team. The Falcons hit 34.8% from deep and 44% from the floor.
Air Force’s issues have come in every other facet of the game. The Falcons are 341st in turnover percentage, and an even worse 355th when it comes to steal percentage. They have also been one of the worst teams in the country at grabbing offensive rebounds, coming down with just 4.8 per game.
Only one player averages in double figures for the Falcons, that being A.J. Walker, who is putting up 14.9 points per game. Ethan Taylor is just shy at 9.6 per game, but has been effective in other ways, leading the team in rebounds, assists and steals.
Defensively, Air Force has been much better, allowing teams to put up just 64 points per game (fourth in the Mountain West).
The Falcons’ biggest asset on defense — specifically against the Aztecs — will be their ability to defend the perimeter. They are 47th in college basketball when it comes to 3-point defense, holding teams to 30.6%.
The Aztecs are the best team in the country on the defensive end. And like most teams who are leading the country at one end of the court, they aren’t doing quite as hot on the other side.
San Diego State averages just 64.7 points per game, and is hitting only 41.9% from the floor. But like I said, when you hold teams to 57.5 points per game, you don’t have to worry about scoring in the 80s.
Matt Bradley (17.7 PPG) leads the team, but the Aztecs are a squad with a lot of depth — 10 different players are playing double-digit minutes for San Diego State. So, while Bradley is leading the way overall, any player for the Aztecs can fall right into that No. 2 spot in any given game.
One area of concern this season, however, has been the Aztecs’ performance at the line. As a team, San Diego State is only cashing in on 68.1% of its free throw attempts.
The good news is that shouldn’t be a problem Saturday night, as Air Force is one of the few teams that hits less from the charity stripe.
Air Force vs. San Diego State Betting Pick
With an offense as bad as Air Force going up against one of the best defenses in the nation, there is no question a double-digit spread is more than justified.
But 18.5 points?
The San Diego State offense hasn’t been very impressive itself, which is why I’m hesitant to lay such a big number.
However, both of these teams are outside the top 250 in pace of play. In fact, Air Force is one the 25 slowest tempo teams in the country.
Combine that with the fact that both teams have struggled on offense and San Diego State’s defense is elite, and I lean to the under.
Now, it’s very low, and because of that I’m going to be just taking the first half under.
I expect Air Force to struggle — especially in the opening 20 minutes — as it tries to adjust to playing against the best defense its faced this year.
Pick: First half under 54 or better
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