College Football Odds, Picks, Prediction | Ohio vs. San Diego State Betting Guide

College Football Odds, Picks, Prediction | Ohio vs. San Diego State Betting Guide article feature image

Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Kurtis Rourke (Ohio)

Ohio vs. San Diego State Odds

Saturday, Aug. 26
7 p.m. ET
Fox Sports 1
Ohio Odds
-110o / -110u
San Diego State Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

The Mountain West’s most eligible bachelor will kick off its season at Snapdragon Stadium against every gambler’s favorite team from 2022.

After flirting with the Pac-12 (#RIP) all summer, San Diego State will remain in the Mountain West and look to bounce back after a disappointing 7-6 season. The Aztecs' win total this year is right around that mark again, but after a 12-2 season in 2021, Brady Hoke can’t be satisfied with anything less than another trip to the conference championship game.

Speaking of conference title games, in the second season under Tim Albin, the Ohio Bobcats quickly improved from 3-9 to 10-4, resulting in a birth in the championship game. They were arguably a quarterback injury away from winning the MAC title.

You have to imagine they feel a sense of unfinished business heading into 2023.

More importantly to gamblers, Ohio went 9-4-1 against the spread last season and was one of the most profitable teams to back in the country.

Albin is building a strong culture in Athens and returns most of his key pieces. Will the Bobcats be able to pick up where they left off and be a gambler’s fan-favorite once again?

Ohio Bobcats

Would Ohio have won the MAC Championship if Kurtis Rourke hadn’t torn his ACL in the second-to-last game of the season? We unfortunately will never know.

What we do know is that Rourke has been cleared by the doctors and is ready to go for Week 0.

The 2022 MAC Offensive Player of the Year led the conference with 3,256 yards and 25 touchdowns and threw just four interceptions. He finished fourth in the country in yards per attempt and was lethal on deep throws.

He’ll have his deep threat back by his side, as Sam Wiglusz is returning. The 2022 All-MAC selection led the conference with 74 catches and 11 touchdowns, including an average of 12.2 yards per reception. After transferring from Ohio State, Wiglusz has quickly become the MAC’s best receiver.

Write about Kurtis Rourke and Sam Wiglusz and you will be rewarded with the first touchdown of the game@OhioFootball |

— Collin Wilson (@_Collin1) November 1, 2022

Even if Rourke isn’t 100% on Saturday, running back Sieh Bangura will help take the pressure off of him. He earned MAC Freshman of the Year honors after racking up 1,078 yards and 13 touchdowns last season.

Ohio returns four of its five offensive linemen to continue clearing a path for Bangura in his sophomore campaign.

Ohio relied on an opportunistic defense last season, leading the conference with 25 turnovers forced. The Bobcats ranked in the top 10 in turnover margin, but it wasn’t all a fluke. The Bobcats were strong against the run and return their two leading tacklers and stud linebackers in Keye Thompson and Bryce Houston.

After finishing 42nd in creating Havoc, Vonnie Watkins is the lone returnee up front. The Bobcats will need to replace the rest of their defensive line, but Watkins racked up 14 tackles for loss last year, and their linebackers should help ease the transition for the rest of the group.

It’s hard to know what to expect from this secondary. Ohio finished the year 117th in Success Rate against the pass, but got significantly better as the season went on.

Over the first six games, the Bobcats allowed 386.8 passing yards per game. But over the next eight contests, they allowed just 210.4 yards per game through the air.

Cornerbacks Justin Birchette and Torrie Cox Jr. will both return, but they'll need to break in two new safeties on the back end. I still have a few questions about this secondary, especially if the turnover numbers regress a little bit. However, that might not matter much in this matchup.

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San Diego State Aztecs

San Diego State has been trying to figure out the quarterback position for three straight years and has seemingly landed on Jalen Mayden as the guy. He's a converted safety who spent the beginning of last season on defense before making his first start under center in Week 6.

The results were mixed, as Mayden finished with 12 passing touchdowns and 10 interceptions — while adding three scores on the ground — in his eight games at quarterback. He also made nine tackles before he switched to offense.

Perhaps a full offseason as a quarterback will allow Mayden to take big strides as a passer. He had just six big-time throws last year compared to 16 turnover-worthy plays. The Aztecs are hopeful that hiring former star quarterback Ryan Lindley will help Mayden’s development, but I'm not overly optimistic.

Running the ball had been San Diego State’s bread and butter for years, but it took a massive step back in that area last year. The Aztecs finished just 122nd in rushing success rate last season and managed just 11 total scores on the ground. They averaged just 3.9 yards per carry, the first time posting under 4.0 yards per carry since 2009.

Nobody emerged in a crowded backfield, as Jordan Byrd, Jaylon Armstead and Kenan Christon all shared carries throughout the year. Byrd is gone, but Armstead and Christon are back and should share the backfield again.

Defense has been a consistent strength in San Diego, and while I don’t expect the Aztecs to fall off a cliff, this is the first time in a while I'm not overly confident in this unit. Guys like Jonah Tavai, Caden McDonald, Keshawn Banks, Michael Shawcroft and Patrick McMorris are massive losses. The Aztecs are 115th in returning production on defense.

Returning production aside, this unit was elite against the run last season. The Aztecs finished ninth in the country in success rate against the rush and still have a few good pieces in Cooper McDonald and Dallas Branch.

While not bad by any stretch, they were clearly worse against the pass compared to the run. They took advantage of some of the weak passing attacks in the conference, but the secondary will be relied upon more with the losses up front.

Ohio vs. San Diego State

Betting Pick & Prediction

This line sat around Ohio +3.5 or +4 for the majority of the summer since the initial lines opened. Then on Monday, it was confirmed Rourke would officially start coming off his torn ACL last November. The line immediately moved inside of three.

Rourke was elite last year and showed an excellent ability to connect on the deep ball and protect the football. Pro Football Focus gave him the third-highest passing grade in the country last season, tied with Drake Maye.

He had an adjusted completion percentage of 78% and only one player (Hendon Hooker) had at least 25 touchdown passes with fewer interceptions than Rourke. He returns all his key weapons and a strong offensive line to keep him on his feet.

The defending MAC Player of the Year will also get to face a San Diego State defense with an entirely new defensive line. If this new group is not able to immediately replicate the pressure last year’s team was able to put on opposing quarterbacks, that will give Rourke plenty of time to find the speedy Wiglusz streaking behind the secondary.

I expect the Ohio offense to pick up right where it left off last season, with Rourke, Bangura and Wiglusz attacking all aspects of an Aztecs defense with just 36% returning production.

The biggest question I have with this Ohio team is its back end, but San Diego State is not built to exploit that. The Aztecs have a converted safety playing quarterback, and he finished the year with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions on passes more than 10 yards down the field.

On top of that, his two leading receivers Tyrell Shavers and Jesse Matthews are both gone, leaving the Aztecs without the weapons on the outside to attack Ohio where it could be most vulnerable.

Instead, the Aztecs will be forced to run the ball — with a rushing attack that was inefficient last year — into the teeth of an Ohio defense that owns two great linebackers.

Given my concerns about the Mayden and the Aztecs' offense, I like the Bobcats to go into San Diego and get a big win to start their season. Rourke and Ohio have unfinished business after their disappointing end to last year.

Rourke should have plenty of time to throw on Saturday, allowing the weapons on this offense to get the job done.

I’ll take the points with Ohio, but I fully endorse a sprinkle on the moneyline, as well.

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