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College Basketball Odds & Picks for San Diego State vs. Boise State: Betting Guide for Mountain West Championship

College Basketball Odds & Picks for San Diego State vs. Boise State: Betting Guide for Mountain West Championship article feature image
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Photo by David Becker/Getty Images. Pictured: Lamont Butler (San Diego State)

  • San Diego State and Boise State will play for the third time this season in the MWC title game.
  • The Aztecs have advantages with their elite defense, even though their offense struggles.
  • Here's how Anthony Dabbundo is betting this game.

San Diego State vs. Boise State Odds

Saturday, March 12
6 p.m. ET
CBS
San Diego State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-2.5
-110
117
-110o / -110u
-142
Boise State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+2.5
-110
117
-110o / -110u
+118
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The Mountain West Conference Tournament had two more close finishes Friday night in the semifinals.

Boise State held off a late comeback attempt from Wyoming to win by seven in the rubber match between the two programs. In the second semifinal, San Diego State built an early lead and withstood a Colorado State resurgent charge in the final minutes to win by five.

The Aztecs and Broncos are both safely in the NCAA Tournament, and will now face off on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET for the conference tournament title.

Boise State won the two regular season meetings between the programs, but both games came down to the final minute. The Broncos won 42-37 in San Diego in January in one of the lowest-scoring games of the entire basketball season. In the second game, San Diego State fouled Boise State in the final seconds, giving the Broncos the 58-57 win.

This is a matchup of the two best defenses in the Mountain West — according to KenPom‘s adjusted defensive efficiency — and two offenses that have struggled at times.

San Diego State and Boise State also live in the half-court, hence the reason the total is currently set at just 117.5.


San Diego State Aztecs

San Diego State’s offense has trended up considerably in the final two months of the regular season. Its defense has remained elite throughout the year, but the improvement of Matt Bradley offensively and the more consistent jump shooting has helped it win 11 of its last 12 games.

From the beginning of the season until Feb. 1, the Aztecs ranked 237th in adjusted offensive efficiency and first in defense. Since that date, SDSU’s offense has improved to 110th in efficiency on offense while maintaining its elite defense within the top 10 of the country.

The Aztecs may have lost the first meeting vs. Boise State at home, but that was a brutal spot for them given that they had missed two weeks with COVID issues prior to that game. The second game was defined by free throws, as the Broncos took 15 more shots from the charity stripe on their home court.

San Diego State’s defense excels in two key areas that matchup really well with Boise State’s offense. Per ShotQuality, the Aztecs rank ninth in the country at preventing drives to the rim, and they’re 46th at preventing good looks from beyond the 3-point line.

The first statistic can be attributed to the ability of MWC Defensive Player of the Year Nathan Mensah in the middle. The second is due to their ability to switch on the perimeter and effectively close out on shooters.

When the Boise State offense struggles, it’s usually because the Broncos turn the ball over too much and aren’t able to get many second chance looks. SDSU has the interior edge and should neutralize the Broncos’ looks on the glass.

Also, the Aztecs are first in the MWC and 30th in the country in forcing turnovers.

Ball screens and transition attacks are the best ways to get at the Aztecs, but Boise State lives in the half-court and should have plenty of issues scoring.

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Boise State Broncos

The Broncos were a bit fortunate to make it into the semifinals after Nevada missed a wide open 3 at the buzzer that would have knocked them out of the tournament.

Boise State played arguably its best half of the season Friday night against Wyoming, but nearly melted down late against the Cowboys.

Boise has been a bit overrated in the market for parts of the season because of its record in close games. Also, Boise has over performed its ShotQuality expected record by four games over the course of the season.

The Broncos have performed really well in tight finishes, and are 11-4 in those games. They’re also in the top 50 in the KenPom luck rating. Big-time shotmakers like Marcus Shaver Jr. and Emmanuel Akot have sustained this offense just enough to win in tight affairs, including the two meetings with San Diego State.

Boise is one of the most dominant rebounding teams in the entire country, and it’s an area it had a ton of success against vs. the Cowboys Friday night.

San Diego State has more size and athleticism than the Cowboys do, and should be able to match up with the Broncos on the glass, though.

The Broncos post up with high frequency and live at the free throw line, as well. The latter is an area they should be able to get some free points on the Aztecs’ aggressive defense.

SDSU is one of the best post defenses in the country because of Mensah, but it does foul at a high rate because of its aggression in attempting to force turnovers. Boise State gets to the line a ton, but also shoots free throws at one of the lowest percentages in the entire country.


San Diego State vs. Boise State Betting Pick

The market opened with SDSU as two-point favorites, but immediate Aztecs money moved the line up to 2.5.

Given the low-scoring nature of the matchup and how tight these two teams are in terms of talent, I lean toward the Aztecs at that number — however, you’ll almost certainly be able to get a better number live at some point in the game.

If you can find a San Diego State line at two or fewer, I’d bet it, but I wouldn’t bet it at 2.5 given the free throw issues and the matchup.

Both defenses have matchup edges on the opposing offense, with SDSU’s elite rim and perimeter defense taking away Boise’s pull up 3s and dribble drives.

At the other end, the Broncos defend isolation really well, and that’s a major driver of the Aztecs’ offense.

The total of 117.5 is about where it was for the first two meetings, which is a bit surprising given that conference tournament finals tend to be played at even slower paces than the regular season.

There’s not much more room for error with an under this low, but it’s hard to see these offenses producing consistently enough to get over it. The game will be played almost exclusively in the half-court, and should be close enough to avoid a ton of fouling in the final two minutes.

Pick: SDSU -2 or better | Under at 117.5 or better

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