San Diego State vs. Air Force Betting Odds, Picks: Where Saturday’s Moneyline Value Lies (Oct. 23)

San Diego State vs. Air Force Betting Odds, Picks: Where Saturday’s Moneyline Value Lies (Oct. 23) article feature image
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John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: The San Diego State Aztecs.

  • The San Diego State Aztecs take on the Air Force Falcons in a Saturday night Mountain West game.
  • While the Falcons boast a dominant ground attack, they haven't faced a defense quite like San Diego State's.
  • BJ Cunningham breaks down the game below and explains why there's moneyline betting value on the Aztecs.

San Diego State vs. Air Force Odds

Saturday, Oct. 23
7 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
San Diego State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+3.5
-109
40
-108o / -113u
+143
Air Force Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-3.5
-112
40
-108o / -113u
-175
Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Undefeated San Diego State travels to Colorado Springs on Saturday night for a Mountain West battle with the 6-1 Air Force Falcons.

The Aztecs barely survived double overtime last Friday night against San Jose State, walking away with a 19-13 victory to improve to 6-0. It’s the second time this season the Aztecs have won in overtime, as they beat Utah in triple overtime back on Sept. 18.

However, this is San Diego State’s first massive road test of the season going up against Air Force’s triple-option. The Aztecs will need a win to remain in first place in the West division.

Air Force is becoming a force to reckon with after winning four straight games, including a 24-17 win over Boise State on the blue turf last weekend. The Falcons’ triple option has been incredibly effective and the defense has been elite the last four games, so this is set to be a fantastic game between two rush-heavy offenses.


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 66.7% of their plays, which is one of the highest percentages for a non-triple-option offense.

The rushing attack is led by Greg Bell, who has carried the ball for 5.0 yards per carry and has the Aztecs ranked 31st in Rushing Success Rate, fourth in rushing explosiveness and 41st in EPA/rush.

63 yards and a score for Greg Bell on SDSU’s first drive of the night. pic.twitter.com/VB3gTknHIl

— Jon Schaeffer (@jonschaeffer) October 10, 2021

San Diego State will be going up an incredibly stout front seven from Air Force that is only allowing 3.6 yards per carry and ranks eighth in Rushing Success Rate Allowed. However, Air Force is 128th in rushing explosiveness allowed, so don’t be surprised if Bell breaks off a few big runs.

The passing game has had its struggles with Jordan Brookshire under center this season. The senior is only averaging 6.2 yards per attempt and has a 59.3 passing grade, per PFF. However, since San Diego State features such a heavy rushing attack, Brookshire won’t be called on very much in this game.


San Diego State Defense

San Diego State has one of the best defenses in the country under Brady Hoke, especially against the run, which is going to be huge against Air Force’s triple-option.

San Diego State is third in the country in Rushing Success Rate Allowed, third in Defensive Line Yards, second in EPA/rush and only allowing 2.3 yards per rush. Even though the Falcons triple option has been really efficient, this is by far the best front seven they’ve seen all season long.

The secondary for San Diego State is not allowing much success to opposing offenses either. The Aztecs are only allowing 5.3 yards per attempt, which is fourth in college football. They also are seventh in EPA/Pass allowed and are graded as the fourth-best coverage unit, per PFF.

San Diego State is unlikely to see many passes against the triple option, but on the few pass attempts Air Force does attempt, it’s unlikely to have any success.

San Diego State is also the number one team in the country at creating Havoc, seventh in Finishing Drives and ninth in big plays allowed. It looks like it’ll be difficult for Air Force to put up more than 20 points against the Aztecs.


Air Force Falcons

Air Force Offense

The triple-option has been humming this season for the Falcons, who are averaging 5.0 yards per rush and rank fifth in Rushing Success Rate. However, they aren’t getting that big of a push on the offensive line because they’re only 50th in offensive line yards, which is a problem against San Diego State’s front seven.

Air Force was really successful in running the ball against Boise State last weekend, putting up over 300 yards on the ground. Lead back Brad Roberts has gone over 100 yards in his last three games, but the Falcons haven’t faced run defense even close to the level of San Diego State.

Not surprisingly, Air Force isn’t explosive at all, ranking 118th in big plays. The Falcons are going to have to sustain long drives against a top-10 defense in terms of Success Rate Allowed.


Air Force Defense

Sure, Air Force has been good against the run this season. The Falcons are only allowing only 3.6 yards per attempt and rank eighth in Rushing Success Rate Allowed. But just take a look at the FBS rushing attacks they’ve faced this season.

Not exactly what I would call a murderer’s row. This will be Air Force’s biggest challenge, and it’s likely due to regress because it ranks 90th nationally in EPA/rush allowed.

The secondary won’t be called on much, but the Falcons have been pretty solid in defending the pass ranking 25th in Passing Success Rate and 45th-best coverage grade, per PFF.

The key will be stopping the San Diego State ground game. It’s going to be a long day for Air Force if they can’t contain the Aztecs rushing attack.

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San Diego State vs. Air Force Matchup Analysis

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

San Diego State Offense vs. Air Force Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 31 8
Line Yards 87 52
Pass Success 122 25
Pass Blocking** 38 16
Big Play 110 71
Havoc 74 24
Finishing Drives 100 53
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Air Force Offense vs. San Diego State Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 5 3
Line Yards 50 3
Pass Success 100 11
Pass Blocking** 79 25
Big Play 118 9
Havoc 6 1
Finishing Drives 44 7
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 71 7
Coverage 4 45
Middle 8 23 47
SP+ Special Teams 14 112
Plays per Minute 104 126
Rush Rate 66.7% (8) 90.4% (2)

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


San Diego State vs. Air Force Betting Pick

Given how good San Diego State’s defense has been versus the run, combined with the fact that Air Force hasn’t seen a rushing attack even close to as good as what San Diego State is bringing to Colorado Springs, I think the Aztecs could win this game outright on Saturday night.

I only have Air Force projected as a -1.25 favorite at home, so I think there’s some value on San Diego State’s moneyline at +150 (BetMGM), and I would play it down to +125

Pick: San Diego State ML +150

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