San Diego State vs. Arizona Odds, Pick, Prediction for Week 2: Betting Value on Aztecs Worth Monitoring
Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Gunner Cruz and Stanley Berryhill III/
San Diego State vs. Arizona Odds
|San Diego State Odds|
-115o / -105u
-115o / -105u
San Diego State takes one of the best defenses in the Mountain West on the road to Tucson to take on Arizona.
San Diego opened its season with a 28-10 over FBS bottom-feeder New Mexico State, but it wasn’t the resounding win it was hoping for to open the season.
The Aztecs trailed 10-0 at the half before putting away the Aggies in the second half behind some fantastic defensive play.
San Diego State is now under Year 2 of Brady Hoke as the head coach, but it’s his third year with the team. San Diego State has high aspirations with one of the best defenses in the conference, and a win over a Power Five school on the road could vault it up towards the Mountain West’s elite.
San Diego State’s offense is built on having a consistent rushing attack. Over the past two seasons, the Aztecs have run the ball on over 61% of their plays and this season, their rushing attack will once again be lethal.
They did struggle to establish the ground game in the first half against New Mexico State but ended up with 248 yards on the ground, averaging 5.9 yards per carry on Saturday night.
The rushing attack is led by second-team All-MWC running back Greg Bell who carried the ball for a whopping 5.6 yards per carry in 2020, but in terms of Success Rate, the Aztecs struggled, ranking just 108th.
However, the rushing attack is going to improve this season, as San Diego State gets four of its five offensive linemen back from a group that had a top-15 run-blocking grade a year ago, per PFF. It will have a big advantage against an Arizona front seven that allowed 5.9 yards per rush last season.
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The passing game has had it’s struggles with Jordan Brookshire under center in 2020. He only averaged 5.5 yards per attempt, had a 58.4 passing grade and failed to make one big-time throw in 74 pass attempts, per PFF.
He does have all his top targets back from last season, but he struggled in the opener going six of 19 for 76 yards and an interception. So, hopefully he will not be called on often on Saturday night.
The Aztecs potentially have the best defense in college football outside of the Power Five, as last season they ranked fifth nationally in terms of EPA per play.
Last season, they were the No. 1 team in the country in terms of Rushing Success Rate Allowed, Stuff Rate and Power Success Rate Allowed.
They only lost one starter from their front seven, and what takes this Aztec defense to the next level is creating Havoc, ranking 18th nationally a season ago. Arizona ranked 88th in preventing Havoc last season and ranked in the bottom 15 of college football in terms of pass blocking, per PFF.
The secondary loses three starters from a season ago, when it ranked ninth nationally in Passing Success Rate Allowed and fifth in coverage, per PFF. However, this will still be a solid group and should be able to shut down a very poor Arizona passing attack.
This is going to be rough season for the Arizona Wildcats, as they are not only going through a lot of turnover within the program but are projected to be one of the worst teams in the Power Five.
The Wildcats opened their season with a 24-16 home loss to BYU where they really struggled to move the ball offensively and couldn’t finish any drives, despite gaining 426 yards in the game and 5.5 yards per play.
They have a new head coach in Jedd Fisch, who previously was the quarterbacks coach in New England, a new offensive coordinator in Brennan Carroll (Pete Carroll’s son) — who has never been an offensive play-caller before — and a new defensive coordinator in Don Brown, who has spent a number of years running the Michigan defense.
So, with all that turnover, there are going to be some growing pains.
It was a question mark all offseason of who would be under center for the Wildcats to open the season. It ended up being Gunnar Cruz, who transferred over from Washington State.
He didn’t have much experience after attempting only seven passes a season ago, but he had a good first game, going 34-of-45 for 336 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The good news is the Wildcats have all of the top pass-catchers coming back from last season. The bad news is they ranked 108th in terms of receiving games, per PFF.
If Arizona is going to have success offensively this season, it is most likely going to have to come on the ground. The Wildcats return their entire offensive line, which was really the only bright spot on offense, ranking 56th in Rushing Success Rate.
Their top back, Gary Brightwell, is gone, so sophomore Michael Wiley now takes over. He was pretty average against BYU last Saturday night, averaging only 4.3 yards per carry on 15 attempts. So, he’s going to have a tough time running against one of best run defenses in college football.
Don Brown inherits a defense that had all sorts of issues versus both the run and the pass last season. I’m not sure Brown is the guy to help fix all of their issues because he ranked outside the top 110 defensive coordinators in EPA per play allowed last season at Michigan, per PFF.
Arizona is switching its formation this season to a four-man front with a lot of blitzing. Brown had the 14th highest blitz rate in college football, but the problem in this matchup is that San Diego State isn’t going to throw the ball at a high rate.
So, if Arizona doesn’t improve from allowing a whopping 5.9 yards per carry a season ago, while also replacing two starters, the Aztecs are going to be able to control this game from start to finish.
The secondary also had all sorts of issues last season, ranking 103rd in Passing Success Rate Allowed and 101st in coverage, per PFF. Now, with Don Brown’s new man-to-man defense, the secondary is going to get left out on an island. Even a below-average quarterback in Jordan Brookshire might be able to throw on them.
San Diego State vs. Arizona Matchup Analysis
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San Diego State Offense vs. Arizona Defense
Arizona Offense vs. San Diego State Defense
Pace of Play / Other
San Diego State’s rushing attack versus Arizona’s run defense is too massive of a mismatch to ignore. The Aztecs are one of the slowest teams in terms of second per play in college football. So, if they are able to run the ball consistently, they are going to control this game from start to finish.
Additionally, San Diego State’s defense is going to give Gunner Cruz and the rushing attack all sorts of problems, so I don’t think the Wildcats should be favored on Saturday night.
San Diego State vs. Arizona Betting Pick
This line has been moving all over the place this week. Arizona opened at -1, then on Tuesday, the line flipped toward San Diego State, making it a 1.5-point favorite. However, the line flipped back towards Arizona later in the week, and it has now settled as a 2.5-point favorite.
I have San Diego State projected as a 6.78-point favorite, and Collin Wilson’s PRO Projections have San Diego State as a 2.9-point favorite. So, I think there is tremendous value on San Diego State +2.5 and would play it all the way to San Diego State -3.