Fresno State vs San Diego State: Odds & Pick for Battle Between Mountain West Contenders

Fresno State vs San Diego State: Odds & Pick for Battle Between Mountain West Contenders article feature image

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  • San Diego State hosts Fresno State on Saturday nights.
  • The Aztecs and Bulldogs can each take first place in the Mountain West with a win.
  • Check out BJ Cunningham's full betting breakdown complete with odds and a pick based on his analysis below.

Fresno State vs. San Diego State Odds

Saturday, Oct. 30
10:30 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Fresno State Odds
-105o / -115u
San Diego State Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

First place in the West division of the Mountain West is on the line Saturday night as Fresno State makes the short trip to San Diego to take on the Aztecs.

Fresno State beat Nevada and Carson Strong, 34-32, last weekend, but this weekend is going to be a completely different opponent considering San Diego State is one of the heaviest run offenses in the country.

Jake Haener has not faced a defense close to what he's going to see on Saturday night, so the Bulldogs are in for a really difficult road test.

San Diego State shut down Air Force's triple option last week, holding the Falcons to 14 points and only 259 total yards. The Aztecs are undefeated this season and proved they are for real last weekend in Colorado Springs.

Brady Hoke has relied on his elite defense to get the Aztecs across the finish line, but this will be a unique test, facing one of the best quarterbacks in the Mountain West.

Fresno State Bulldogs

Fresno State Offense

Haener and the Fresno State passing attack has been incredible this season, ranking sixth in Passing Success Rate.

Haener is averaging 8.6 yards per attempt, but his PFF passing grade is only 80.6 with 20 big-time throws compared to 10 turnover-worthy plays.

Also, what's concerning is when he faced an elite secondary in Wyoming (fourth in coverage, per PFF) in Week 7, he really struggled, throwing for only 96 total yards on 28 attempts.

San Diego State's secondary is seventh in terms of coverage, so I don't think we'll see Haener have the success he's used to on Saturday night.

Fresno State has no run game to speak of whatsoever. The Bulldogs are running the ball for 4.0 yards per carry and rank outside the top 100 in Rushing Success Rate, Offensive Line Yards, run blocking (per PFF) and EPA/Rush.

Well guess what, San Diego State is also one of the best run defenses in the country, so it's going to be really difficult for Fresno State to move the ball efficiently on Saturday night.

Fresno State Defense

While Haener gets all of the headlines, the Fresno State defense has been really good this season.

The Bulldogs are 15th in EPA/Play allowed and are allowing only 5.0 yards per play. However, in this matchup, they're going to have to be able to stop the run because San Diego State runs the ball at the sixth-highest rate in the country.

Fresno State has been good against the run this season, allowing only 3.7 yards per carry and ranking inside the top 40 in EPA/Rush allowed, Rushing Success Rate Allowed and Defensive Line Yards.

However, this will be the best rushing attack Fresno has seen since it faced UCLA in mid-September.

San Diego State Aztecs

San Diego State Offense

The San Diego State offense is built on having an effective rushing attack. The Aztecs run the ball on 67.6% of their plays, which is one of the highest percentages for a non-triple-option offense in the country.

Last weekend against a good Air Force front seven, they ran the ball for 4.0 yards per carry. They will be facing a Fresno State run defense that is on par with Air Force.

The rushing attack is led by Greg Bell, who has carried the ball for 4.9 yards per carry and has the Aztecs ranked 32nd in Rushing Success Rate, fourth in rushing explosiveness and 43rd in EPA/rush.

With Lucas Johnson now under center, the San Diego State passing attack hasn't been that efficient. Johnson is only averaging 4.9 yards per attempt, but he hasn't been called on to throw that ball that much.

Against Air Force this past weekend, he went 11-of-13 for 72 yards. However, he will be going up against one of the best secondaries in the Mountain West because Fresno State is top 15 in Passing Success Rate Allowed and coverage, per PFF.

San Diego State Defense

San Diego State has one of the best defenses in the country under Hoke, and is top-10 against both the run and the pass.

San Diego State is third in the country in Rushing Success Rate Allowed, third in Defensive Line Yards and third in EPA/rush. The Aztecs only allow 2.7 yards per rush.

However, Fresno State runs the ball at the 11th-lowest rate in the country, so the front seven will not be called on to stop the run very often on Saturday night.

The secondary for San Diego State is not allowing any passing success to opposing offenses. The Aztecs are only allowing 5.2 yards per attempt, which is fourth in college football. They also are third in EPA/Pass allowed and are graded as the seventh-best coverage unit, per PFF.

San Diego State is also ranked second in the country at creating Havoc, 10th in Finishing Drives and fourth in big plays allowed. So, it's going to be really difficult for Haener and Co. to move the ball.

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Fresno State vs. San Diego State Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Fresno State and San Diego State match up statistically:

Fresno State Offense vs. San Diego State Defense
Rush Success1063
Line Yards1193
Pass Success66
Pass Blocking**7931
Big Play324
Finishing Drives6610
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

San Diego State Offense vs. Fresno State Defense
Rush Success3237
Line Yards7926
Pass Success1238
Pass Blocking**4323
Big Play9728
Finishing Drives10050
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling5173
Middle 8248
SP+ Special Teams6212
Plays per Minute49115
Rush Rate45.4% (119)67.6% (6)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

Fresno State vs. San Diego State Betting Pick

The San Diego State defense is absolutely legit and should be able to shut down Haener and the Fresno State passing attack.

The question is: will the Aztecs' rushing attack be able to move the ball efficiently against Fresno State's front seven and control the pace of this game?

I have San Diego State projected at -4.78, so I think there's some value on the Aztecs at home at -1, and I would play them up to -2.5.

Pick: San Diego State -1

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