Utah State vs San Diego State Odds, Picks | How to Bet MWC Title Game

Utah State vs San Diego State Odds, Picks | How to Bet MWC Title Game article feature image

David Becker/Getty Images. Pictured: Utah State’s Sean Bairstow.

Utah State vs San Diego State Odds

Saturday, March 11
6 p.m. ET
Utah State Odds
-110o / -110u
San Diego State Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Despite all of the dramatic finishes on Thursday, the two favorites to reach the Mountain West final pre-tournament won comfortably on Friday night to set up a matchup between San Diego State and Utah State for the fourth time in five seasons.

The Aztecs snuck past Colorado State on Thursday and then steamrolled San Jose State in the first semifinal and are now favored to win the conference title for the second time in three years.

The Aggies had the much tougher path with New Mexico and Boise State, but elite shooting on Thursday and a big second-half run on Friday helped Utah State secure its NCAA Tournament spot and now gives it a chance for revenge.

The Aztecs won both regular-season meetings, including a controversial and weirdly-officiated contest in Logan on Feb. 8.

San Diego State has been the league's best team this season, but the Aztecs have had plenty of late drama and close finishes to show there's not a huge gap in overall quality. On paper, the Aztecs' physical defense could give the Aggies' finesse offense trouble.

Utah State showed with its last two wins against Boise State that it can overcome the elite half-court defense by running more in transition and getting space for its shooters. The Aztecs have run really well in close games, and that has them a bit overvalued in the market here.

Utah State Aggies

One area of potential concern in this matchup is fatigue. The Aggies rank in the bottom 25 nationally in bench minutes and expended a lot of energy in the second half to come back against Boise State. While San Diego State has a ton of depth and plays eight or nine guys, the Aggies are closer to six or seven main contributors in Ryan Odom's rotation.

The Aggies don't have a ton of good rim protection overall and are vulnerable to dribble penetration from the San Diego State backcourt.

The Aztecs live in the midrange offensively, and that's one area where the Aggies are pretty good defensively. Utah State is in the 72nd percentile nationally in midrange defense, and the Aggies also defend pick-and-roll well because they don't play with a traditional big and have forwards who can guard away from the basket.

For two teams that run pick-and-rolls often, the Aggies actually grade out better in guarding them.

San Diego State also won't be able to dominate the glass in this matchup offensively to overcome its inconsistencies in first-shot efficiency. The Aggies are 26th in the country in defensive rebounding percentage.

San Diego State Aztecs

The Aztecs had no issues dispatching the Spartans in the semifinal, but that was a very favorable matchup on paper for them.

Despite the comfortable win on the scoreboard, ShotQuality only graded it as a three-point win. The Spartans offense missed a ton of good shots from both the midrange and the perimeter based on their metrics. Utah State won the ShotQuality report in both of its wins, too, against better competition than the Aztecs faced in either game.

SDSU has also run unbelievably well in close games this season despite not being necessarily elite in late-game half-court offensive execution. It did have the collapses against Arkansas and Boise State with leads, but consider how many close wins it's pulled out against inferior teams.

SDSU beat Colorado State in overtime in one meeting and by three on Thursday — the Rams had multiple open looks to take the lead in the final minute. The Aztecs won at USU by two, at Wyoming by five, at Fresno by two and at New Mexico on a buzzer-beater.

You have to credit them for winning on the road in a tough league, but you can also acknowledge that few teams in the country have run better in end-game scenarios than this team.

San Diego State's defense is still quite good, but it does struggle in a couple of areas the Aggies could exploit on paper. The Aztecs' pick-and-roll defense against the ball handler and their off-screen defense grade out surprisingly poorly this season. Because of their switch ability, you'd expect the Aztecs to be better at defending these actions than they are.

Steven Ashworth is excellent at working around and through ball screens and putting defenders into difficult spots for the Aggies. They rank in the 95th percentile in pick-and-roll efficiency and 94th in off-ball screens, per Synergy.

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San Diego State vs Utah State Betting Pick

The old saying is that defense wins championships, but the Aztecs offense is enough of a liability in the half-court that it leaves me concerned about them.

Since Feb. 1, SDSU is fourth in the nation in BartTorvik efficiency. That's extremely impressive, but the Aztecs are clearly No. 1 on defense and just 89th on offense.

Earlier in the season, it looked like SDSU had raised its offensive floor, but the Aztecs have regressed there in the last month and are still prone to scoring droughts. Similar to how Boise went through a brutal drought Friday night against USU or how the Aztecs closed in Boise 11 days ago, they're vulnerable in any game to do the same

Utah State ranks 14th in the nation in BartTorvik efficiency since Feb. 1, but the Aggies are the much more balanced team at the moment. They're engaged defensively and remain elite offensively.

This is a true coin flip game in my view, and I'll bet the Aggies at anything plus-money.

Pick: Utah State ML +100 or Better

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