Colorado State vs. Utah State Betting Preview: Odds & Picks for Friday’s Mountain West Game (Oct. 22)
Credit: Sam Wasson, Getty. Todd Centeio throws a pass for the Colorado State Rams.
Colorado State vs. Utah State Odds
|Colorado State Odds|
|Utah State Odds|
A Friday night Mountain West classic kicks off at 7:30 p.m. as Colorado State travels to Logan, Utah to take on Utah State.
This game opened as a pick’em and has since moved toward the Rams past the key number of three, as they are getting healthier and have won two consecutive games against San Jose State and New Mexico.
The Rams’ defense has carried them to those wins and has allowed just 21 points in its last two games. The unit also held nationally-ranked Iowa to 24 points in September.
Utah State picked up a post-bye week road win at UNLV, 28-24, to snap its two-game losing streak at the hands of Boise State and BYU. Friday night is a strength-on-strength matchup as the Aggies’ efficient passing offense goes against one of the better pass defense units in the country.
Colorado State Offense
The Rams’ offense is a fast-paced unit that ranks 16th in pace, but it’s not a particularly efficient group.
The unit is relatively balanced but maintains a slightly run-first attack. The Rams rank 104th in Rushing Success Rate and 81st in Line Yards. They have a relatively even matchup on the ground against this average Aggies run defense.
Colorado State should be able to find some offensive success through the air against a bad Aggies pass defense that’s poor in coverage, mediocre in tackling and allows a lot of explosive plays.
CSU is excellent at preventing Havoc from its opponents and the Rams are usually able to stay in front of the chains on standard downs. They may rank just 81st in Passing Success Rate and 92nd in Big Plays, but they do have the edge in both categories against Utah State.
One issue for the Rams’ offense has come through finishing drives, where CSU is bottom-10 at converting yards into points.
This particularly cost them against Vanderbilt in Colorado State’s bad loss at home, but this tends to be a noisy indicator in the short term and should align more with the Rams’ average offensive indicators going forward.
Colorado State Defense
The Rams overcame some injuries and suspensions in their 22-6 win against Toledo as 14-point underdogs. Head coach Steve Addazio isn’t known for his great defenses in the past, but he’s got the best unit in this game with his defensive squad.
Some of the numbers are schedule-driven, but the numbers are impressive regardless. CSU ranks top-10 in Rushing and Passing Success Rate allowed and its defensive line generates a ton of push with a seventh-ranked Line Yards metric.
The strength of the Aggies is in passing offense, but the Rams are 31st in PFF coverage grades and 30th in tackling grade, which suggests the Success Rate and big-play numbers are not a fluke.
The pass rush should be able to get home on passing downs after the run defense forces Utah State into third and long. It’s very hard to see how Utah State will be able to sustain drives or hit big plays against the Rams.
CSU is also excellent defensively in the short field, protecting its own red zone with a top-20 Defensive Finishing Drives ranking.
Utah State Offense
Utah State’s most impressive win of the season came in the opening game, a 26-23 road win in Pullman against Washington State.
The Aggies did beat UNLV last week on the road, but they took advantage of a less than 100% Doug Brumfield in that game as UNLV was unable to consistently pass against a bad Aggies defense.
Utah State’s offense found a lot of success through the air against a bad UNLV pass defense but will face significantly more resistance in this game on Friday night.
No one has been able to pass on the Rams all season and despite Utah State’s 11th ranking in Passing Success Rate, CSU is disciplined defensively and doesn’t allow many big plays.
Utah State should get dominated in the trenches with significantly worse ratings in both Line Yards and Pass Blocking.
The Rams should be able to get pressure on graduate transfer Logan Bonner, who won the job of camp and has performed well against mediocre defenses on the Aggies’ schedule but really struggled when they faced BYU.
Utah State Defense
The Aggies’ defense has had a hard time with tackling, coverage and discipline this season and it has had some bad defensive results.
Utah State ranks outside the top 100 in both Passing and Rushing explosiveness allowed, which should provide relief for a Rams’ offense that has had trouble sustaining drives at times.
Colorado State vs. Utah State Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Colorado State and Utah State match up statistically:
Colorado State Offense vs. Utah State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Utah State Offense vs. Colorado State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||49||71|
|Plays per Minute||16||4|
|Rush Rate||58.8% (40)||51.1% (86)|
Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.
Colorado State vs. Utah State Betting Pick
Even though the market has moved past the key number of three, I still like the Rams in this spot on the road.
Despite the short week and a second-consecutive road game for the Rams, their defense should be able to limit a mediocre Aggies offense. CSU’s defense is as healthy as it’s been all season and that’s the most dominant unit in this game.
While there are concerns about this CSU offense as a road favorite, the Aggies’ defense allows a ton of explosive plays and should get dominated in the trenches.
Both of these teams play at a really fast pace, which keeps me off the under, but also means there will be plenty of possessions for the Rams to gain separation and win this game by at least a full score.
I wouldn’t play anything past four because the number gets too expensive at that point, but at -3.5, the Rams are the side.
Pick: Colorado State -4 or better
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