San Diego State vs. Utah Odds, Picks: How to Bet Saturday’s Late-Night Showdown
Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Tavion Thomas (Utah)
San Diego State vs. Utah Odds
Last year, these teams met in Week 3 with the Aztecs playing at “home” in Carson, CA. The Aztecs held a 24-10 lead over the Utes with 5:24 to play in the third quarter when the Utes replaced quarterback Charlie Brewer with Cameron Rising.
Rising came in and rallied the Utes to a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback before they ultimately fell in double overtime. Utah dropped to 1-2 on the season with the loss, but Rising took command as QB1 from there on.
The Utes then went on to win nine of their next 11 games and emerged as Pac-12 champions.
This year, the tables have turned. Utah is a three-touchdown favorite in Salt Lake City, as San Diego State’s offense looks abysmal, and the Aztecs' defense has taken a step back from last year’s unit that nearly carried them to a Mountain West title.
Can the Aztecs find some sort of offense and hold the line on defense enough to keep this game within three scores, or will the Utes get revenge in a rout with last year’s upset loss on their minds?
If the Aztecs cover or miraculously win outright, it will be because quarterback Braxton Burmeister and the passing game took a massive step forward after two ugly performances to start the season.
Burmeister, a transfer from Oregon and Virginia Tech, has struggled to lead an Aztecs offense that hasn’t been efficient or explosive through the air.
He went 5-for-10 for 51 yards with a 17.5 QBR against Arizona in Week 1, then followed that performance by going 15-for-26 for 108 yards with a 27.8 QBR against Idaho State last week.
He has yet to complete a pass for 17 or more yards this season and does not have a single Big Time Throw yet, either.
The San Diego State rushing attack doesn’t look as solid as it did last year, as it has just two starters returning from last season’s offensive line. The rushing attack needs the quarterback position to play a big role, especially if the Aztecs hope to cover on Saturday.
The Utes’ defense (which plays a lot of man coverage) has shown that running quarterbacks can pick up yards against it, like Anthony Richardson did in Week 1.
Defensively, the Aztecs need their edge rushers, Jonah Tavai and Keshawn Banks, to continue to wreak Havoc. Tavai and Banks lead the team with 11 and eight total pressures on the season, respectively, with seven and five of those pressures coming in Week 1 against Arizona.
Rising won’t hold the ball for Utah and make poor decisions like Jayden de Laura did for Arizona, so this will be a strong litmus test for the SDSU defense.
If the Utes win and cover, it will be because they continue to lean on the running game and their talented tight-end duo.
Running back Tavion Thomas will look to continue being a yards-after-contact machine, and he should have chances for explosive runs against a San Diego State defense that enters this matchup ranked 128th in PFF Tackling.
Rising also is an effective runner when needed, despite not having elite speed or size.
Rising will also look to target his tight ends Brant Kuithe and Dalton Kincaid over the middle early and often.
Kuithe is a tremendous route runner and is athletic at 6-foot-2, 230 pounds. He has great after-the-catch ability and should thrive in this matchup. He broke out in Week 1 for nine catches, 105 yards and a touchdown at Florida.
Kincaid, a former transfer from San Diego, is a bigger target at 6-foot-4, 242 pounds. He has tremendous ball skills and is a walking mismatch.
The Utes' offense ranks among the top 40 in nearly all offensive metrics, as they have consistently moved the chains this season.
The lone shortcoming on offense comes at the receiver position, where no game-breakers have emerged after the loss of Britain Covey, who exhausted his seemingly 75 years of college eligibility.
Defensively, the Utes will play a lot of man coverage and rely on their secondary to make plays against the pass. The Utes have playmakers on the backend in cornerback Clark Phillips III and safety Cole Bishop.
Phillips is a stud cover corner who finished last year as PFF’s top-graded outside corner in the country.
Bishop does an excellent job as a blitzer and run defender, which both will be key in this matchup.
San Diego State vs. Utah Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how San Diego State and Utah match up statistically:
San Diego State Offense vs. Utah Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Utah Offense vs. San Diego State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||12||13|
|Seconds per Play||26.8 (73)||29.0 (110)|
|Rush Rate||66.9% (10)||57.0% (46)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
San Diego State vs. Utah Betting Pick
After a tough Week 1 loss, the Utes took out their frustration on Southern Utah last week by putting up 73 points. I expect them to pick up where they left off in that matchup as they look for revenge against San Diego State here.
The Utes will make a statement early, as their offense should have no trouble moving the ball on methodical drives that end in six points.
The SDSU offense will continue to struggle in the passing game and will be too one-dimensional to have consistent success against the Utah front seven. The lesser SDSU offensive line will also struggle to get a great push up front.
This game opened with Utah between a 16.5- and 19-point favorite, but the spread has been bet up to 20.5 or 21 points across the market. While I don’t hate betting on Utah to cover at -20.5, the Utes begin Pac-12 play next week and may not play their starters deep into this game.
I prefer to look at the first half spread, as the Utes are available at -11 and -11.5 — they should look to start strong and pull away early.
I prefer getting -11.5 at even money than playing -11 juiced at -130.
Expect Utah to get its sixth cover in its last seven games at Rice-Eccles.