San Diego State vs. BYU Odds & Picks: The Case for Betting the Aztecs & Cougars on Saturday

San Diego State vs. BYU Odds & Picks: The Case for Betting the Aztecs & Cougars on Saturday article feature image
Credit:

Kent Horner/Getty Images. Pictured: The San Diego State Aztecs.

  • San Diego State and BYU go at it Saturday in a key Mountain West Conference showdown.
  • The Cougars are more than two-touchdown favorites against the Aztecs.
  • Ace DeCardano and Mike Ianneillo make their respective cases for who winds up the victor below.

San Diego State vs. BYU Odds

San Diego State Odds +17.5 [BET NOW]
BYU Odds -17.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +650 / -1115 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 48 [BET NOW]
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV ESPN2
Odds updated Thursday evening and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today.

The Case For San Diego State

by Ace DeCardano

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The best laid plans of mice and men…

All last week, pundits from Bristol to Vegas (including your humble writer here) seemed to be echoing in unison, “The Chants are a great story, but give me the Cougars -10.5.”

BYU really had it all figured out, didn’t it? Duck the Power Five conference challenger, then visit an overmatched Sun Belt foe and physically overwhelm it on its own Surf Turf.

Well, that plan went about as well as Zach Wilson felt on the final play of the first half.

I kid. In all seriousness, though, I can’t truly knock BYU for last week. It most certainly got back to its “any team, any time, any place” mantra.

That trip to Coastal was about as standup a move as you get in college football. The Cougars were kind of the anti-Ohio State. On a few days notice, they took a game on the road against an undefeated team,playing at an extraordinarily high level with one of college football’s most unique, dynamic offenses. Bravo, Provo.

That being said, their dream of a perfect season was crushed in Conway. Now, they’re being asked to get up for a defense that undoubtedly had this game circled on the calendar for months. You see, San Diego State might not mean a whole lot to BYU.

However, the Aztecs consider the Cougars their biggest rival. It’s not possible to have a bigger motivation mismatch. Plus, I’m catching over two touchdowns? Yes, please.

Photo Credit: Kent Horner/Getty Images.


The Case For BYU

by Mike Ianniello

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After the thrilling Mormons vs. Mullets matchup did not disappoint last week, we now get to see the Mormons vs. Montezuma!

Now yes, the Cougars fell on the final play of the game against the undefeated Chanticleers and had their most disappointing offensive output of the season. But BYU still totaled 405 yards against a strong Coastal Carolina defense. It just needed 406 to come away with the win.

BYU had to travel 2,200 miles at the last minute to South Carolina. This week, it will be at home and have the full week to prepare for a San Diego State team that has lost its last two road games.

The case for BYU obviously starts with its quarterback. Zach Wilson has been one of the best quarterbacks in the country all year and has played his way into a first-round draft spot next year.

Pro Football Focus has Wilson as the second-highest rated quarterback only behind Alabama’s Mac Jones. Wilson sits third in the country in touchdowns (27), and yards per attempt (11.1) and is fifth with a completion percentage of 73%.

The Cougars are fifth in the nation in Passing Success Rate, but they are also 12th in Rushing Success Rate. Running back Tyler Allgeier is averaging an incredible 7.3 yards per carry and has gone for 95.7 yards per game. He has rushed for 12 touchdowns this year and has a score in nine out of 10 games this season.

The Cougars played a bad game last week, but I am not going to overreact to that too much. They still rank seventh in scoring, seventh in total offense, and fifth in Offensive Success Rate in the country. SP+ has the BYU offense ranked No. 8 in the FBS.

BYU can move the ball on everybody, even on a very good San Diego State defense.

Photo Credit: Tim Warner/Getty Images.

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Aztecs Counterargument

Ace: I’ve heard all year about this BYU offensive line. To be fair, earlier this season I even cited both Phil Steele and PFF’s reasoning behind it being one of the best in college football. Then came time for the Cougars to show what all the fuss was about, and they were not overly impressive.

Take out Tyler Allgeier’s 42-yard run last week, and you only have 121 ground yards on 25 carries. This week, the Cougars run into the seventh-best run defense in college football in terms of yards per rush against (3.0).  Allgeier may have padded his stats against the cupcakes on BYU’s schedule, but that isn’t the defense showing up on Saturday.  

In fact, as has been the case for a number of years now, the Aztecs’ 3-3-5 defense does almost everything well. Mike says BYU can move the ball on everybody? A hungry Aztec side is going to put that theory to the test. How does 5.2 yards per pass against sound? That ranks the San Diego State defense second in FBS.

I’ve already talked about the opposition being unable to gain yards against the Aztecs. Add in the fact they also rank 22nd in FBS in yards per point (16.6). My favorite combination is when the other team has trouble gaining yards and also takes lots of yards to score points.


Cougars Secondary Argument

Mike: Yes, Ace is correct — the San Diego State defense is awesome. The defense was great under Rocky Long, and it’s been great under Brady Hoke.

When BYU has the ball, we will see a great offense versus a great defense. But what about when San Diego State has the ball?

Don’t sleep on the BYU defense. The Cougars defense ranks seventh in total defense and fourth in the country in scoring defense. It’s allowed just 14.7 points per game this year. 

The BYU defense will be tasked with shutting down a San Diego State defense that ranks scrolls down 113th in Pffensive Success Rate.

The Aztecs sit 119th in passing offense this season and have started three different quarterbacks through their first seven games. Carson Baker started the first four games and was bad. Lucas Johnson started against Nevada and was…bad. And Jordan Brookshire has played the last two and been…bad.

Brookshire will start again against BYU and hopes to fare better than his 130 yards and 58.3 completion percentage against Colorado State and its 89th-ranked pass defense.

BYU should have no problem completely shutting down the San Diego State passing attack and forcing it to run the ball, which is what it wants to do anyway, running the ball 61% of the time, 12th-most in the country.

That plays right into the Cougar’s hands, as their defense, while good against the pass, ranks 10th in the country in Success Rate against the run.


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San Diego State Rejoinder

Ace: Mike sure does like his blended numbers, doesn’t he? I didn’t see 10th-best in the country last week. On the contrary, it was proven that sticking to the run might just be the way to beat BYU. After watching Coastal dominate time of possession (37:51 to 22:08) and rush for 281 yards, we all know the Aztecs will try to copy this blueprint.

As luck would have it, this is what the Aztec offense does best. Its 4.6 yards per rush attempt ranks a solid 49th in FBS, and it runs for 203.7 yards per game. Although, it hasn’t been as effective in recent weeks, look for Brady Hoke to get back to basics and wear down the Cougars.

The reason this game plan is possible is the reason I stated earlier. That SDSU pass defense is nasty. Against many opponents this year, Wilson and the Cougars were able to pile on points early and make the opponent play catch-up.

Make no mistake, this is not a place this Aztec team wants to be. In fact, it would prefer a game just like last year when SDSU beat BYU, 13-3.


BYU Rebuttal

Mike: San Diego State will try to control the time of possession. But BYU doesn’t need to have the ball for long to put up points. When it has the ball, it scores quickly and often.

The Cougars offense ranks 21st in the country in explosiveness on offense. They sit eighth in points per opportunity, notching 4.9 points per trip past the opponent’s 40-yard line.

San Diego State, meanwhile, ranks 53rd in explosiveness and 92nd in points per opportunity. What this means is San Diego State will run the ball, pick up a couple of first downs, and then punt it back to the Cougars.


Closing Arguments

Why You Should Bet the Aztecs

Ace: I’ve got the situational advantage. The opponents’ biggest weakness was exposed last week. It’s what the Aztecs want to do anyway, and I’m getting lots of points.

Take San Diego State +17.5.


Why You Should Bet the Cougars

Mike: The Cougars let one get away from them last week in a last-minute game across the country.

Let’s not overreact too much to one game. BYU is one of the best teams in the country with one of the best quarterbacks in the country.

Take BYU -16.5.


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