San Diego State vs Air Force Odds & Prediction: Falcons to Win Big

San Diego State vs Air Force Odds & Prediction: Falcons to Win Big article feature image

Photo by Larry Placido/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Emmanuel Michel (Air Force)

San Diego State vs Air Force Odds

Saturday, Sept. 30
8 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
San Diego State Odds
-115o / -105u
Air Force Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

Mountain West heavyweights clash on Saturday in the high altitude of Colorado Springs.

These teams have started off the 2023 season very differently, though. Air Force has rolled to a 4-0 start and already has two blowout wins in Mountain West conference play. San Diego State, on the other hand, has struggled more than it's recently accustomed to.

The Aztecs won close games over Ohio and Idaho State to begin the season, but were smashed by UCLA and Oregon State and then fell to Boise State last Friday in their conference opener.

While SDSU's 2-3 record doesn't tell the full story — because two of those losses came against good Pac-12 teams — it's still far below the program's recent winning standard.

Let's take a look at the odds for San Diego State vs. Air Force.

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San Diego State Aztecs

San Diego State is looking to avoid a four-game losing streak when it plays Air Force in its first Mountain West road game.

It's hard to know how much being on the road will even matter for the Aztecs, because they haven't been very good at home either.

SDSU enters this game with a -30 point differential and is all the way down at 97th in team EPA.

The Aztecs' defense is giving up 27.2 points per game and ranks 85th in defensive EPA, so it's not the offense weighing everything down.

Quarterback Jalen Mayden has been all over the place this season. He's thrown for 942 yards, four touchdowns, and four interceptions through five games, and while he's a good runner (278 yards on 5.0 YPC and three scores), he's just too inconsistent.

Mayden played well against Boise State in his last game, but it's hard to trust him to repeat that performance on the road against a better defense.

Another troubling sign for SDSU's offense is its lack of playmakers. Mayden's 278 rushing yards leads the team, and tight end Mark Redman is the Aztecs' receiving leader with 208 yards and two touchdowns.

Remember, SDSU has played five games already, which makes its meager offensive numbers even less impressive.

Air Force Falcons

If it weren't for conference foe Fresno State stealing all the attention, Air Force would be regarded as the best Group of Five team.

Even though the Falcons don't have two Power Five wins like Fresno State, they're still dominating teams, beating Utah State and San Jose State by a combined score of 84-41 in their first two conference games.

The advanced metrics agree, since Air Force is ranked No. 4 in team EPA and is ninth in Action Analytics' Offensive Success Rate.

It all starts on the ground for Air Force, and its triple-option attack is extremely effective once again. The Falcons' 340.5 rushing yards per game lead the FBS by a wide margin (Liberty is second with 271.3 YPG), and it's hard to pin down who the best runner on the team even is.

Fullback Emmanuel Michel leads Air Force with 322 rushing yards and six touchdowns while quarterback Zac Larrier has 259 rushing yards and three scores.

The most explosive runner has to be running back John Lee Eldridge III, who leads the team with 9.4 YPC and showed off his abilities by refusing to go down against San Jose State.


— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) September 23, 2023

The Falcons only rank 88th in Defensive Rushing Success Rate, so the Aztecs could run the ball decently.

Still, it's hard to see how SDSU effectively throws the ball against an Air Force defense that's 35th in Passing Success Rate and eighth in PFF's coverage grade.

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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
Rush Success5288
Line Yards4861
Pass Success6135
Finishing Drives9683
Quality Drives8921
Air Force Offense vs. San Diego State Defense
Rush Success14133
Line Yards5129
Pass Success1278
Finishing Drives469
Quality Drives2799
Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling1191
PFF Coverage678
Special Teams SP+849
Middle 87239
Seconds per Play29.9 (112)33.3 (133)
Rush Rate56.8% (54)95.5% (1)

San Diego State vs Air Force

Betting Pick & Prediction

Most sportsbooks are favoring Air Force by 10.5 points at home against San Diego State, and it seems like a pretty fair spread.

SDSU just isn't as good as it's been in recent seasons, and if Ohio's Kurtis Rourke didn't get injured in Week 0, the Aztecs would probably enter this game at 1-4.

Their offense has no explosiveness or rhythm, and their defense isn't much better. Ranking 133rd in Defensive Rushing Success Rate is a bad omen against a fantastic rushing team like Air Force.

Expect the Falcons to fly high in this one and cover the spread.

Don't be surprised if they flirt with 40 points once again.

Pick: Air Force -10.5 (Play to -11)

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