College Football Betting Odds & Pick for Utah State vs. Air Force: Grind-It Out Game Expected Between Aggies, Falcons

College Football Betting Odds & Pick for Utah State vs. Air Force: Grind-It Out Game Expected Between Aggies, Falcons article feature image

Chris Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Logan Bonner.

  • Air Force hosts Utah State on Saturday night to open up its Mountain West slate.
  • The Falcons are 2-0 after beating Navy last week and have a strong defense that could present difficulties for the Aggies.
  • Patrick Strollo breaks down the matchup and delivers his pick for bettors below.

Utah State vs. Air Force Odds

Saturday, Sept. 18
7:30 p.m. ET
Utah State Odds
-115o / -105u
Air Force Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Air Force (2-0) hosts Utah State (2-0) on Saturday night at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, in a Mountain West matchup. Last year the two teams played each other with the Falcons coming away with the victory, 31-7.

This is the 10th meeting between the two programs and the ninth as Mountain West foes. The Falcons lead the all-time series, 6-3, and are 4-1 against the Aggies as hosts.

The Falcons are 1-1 against the spread with both games hitting the under. The Aggies are 2-0 against the spread and 1-1 against the total.

Look for an exciting game in this as we continue to learn more about who these teams are as they square off in this Mountain West opener.

Utah State Aggies

Utah State has gotten off to a great start. It comes into the game, 2-0, for the first time since 2012, looking to improve to 3-0 for the first time since 1977.

Last weekend, Utah State defeated a formidable FCS opponent in North Dakota. The Aggies won the game 48-24 after trailing 21-7.

More impressively, Utah State defeated Washington State in the first game of the season, winning the game 26-23 after trailing 23-11 in the fourth quarter. This resilient team will need to muster together all it has for a tough matchup with Air Force.

Aggies Offense

The Aggies offense is led by graduate QB Logan Bonner who has passed for 533 yards, five touchdowns and two picks so far this season. Bonner’s top target in the passing game is WR Deven Thompkins. Thompkins is averaging 133 yards receiving per game and has two touchdowns.

The backfield is held down by another graduate, Calvin Tyler Jr. Tyler is averaging 5.6 yards per carry and has hit pay dirt twice. Tyler will be in for a tough day as the Air Force defense ranks first in FBS Rushing Success.

Aggies Defense

The Aggies have been victorious so far this season but much of their success is due to the offense, as the defense has been pedestrian thus far.

The Utah State defense does outweigh the Air Force offense based on Action metrics, but the triple-option offense will present a unique set of challenges.

Senior ILB Justin Rice has been a force for the Aggies behind the defensive line, recording 16 tackles and two interceptions so far this season. Behind him is safety Dominic Tatum who has 13 tackles and two pass breakups. Rice and Tatum will be busy as Air Force presents a run-heavy attack.

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Air Force Falcons

Air Force will defend its home turf after the excellent showing against Navy last weekend in an emotional matchup on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Before that, Air Force defeated Lafayette, 35-14.

Air Force looks to go 3-0 for the first time since 2016 while simultaneously snapping a four-game losing streak in conference openers. Look for the Falcons to rely on their top-ranked defensive unit to get them through this Mountain West matchup.

Falcons Offense

Air Force had 225 total yards last week, with 176 of them coming on the ground.

The offensive line has been a strength for Air Force and have paved the way for Tyler, ranking 27thin FBS Line Yards. This has also created opportunities for QB Haaziq Daniels to spearhead the rushing attack.

Behind Daniels, RB Brad Roberts was outstanding, rushing for two touchdowns on 29 carries. While Daniels is primarily a rush first QB, he does have the ability to throw the ball too.

Don’t be surprised to see him throw a little more than he did against Navy after the Falcons establish the running game.

Falcons Defense

Go on offense for show but play defense for dough. That is the Air Force modus operandi after finishing the second week of play ranked second in FBS total defense by only allowing 177.5 total yards. It ranks second to Georgia, although Air Force certainly has had an easier schedule.

The Falcons allow only 1.36 yards per carry. Given the veracity of the Air Force rush defense, look for Utah State to turn to the passing game early and often.

Based on the Action matchup analytics below, the Aggies could be in for a long evening. The Falcons get the nod in almost every category.

Utah State vs. Air Force Matchup Analysis

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

Utah State Offense vs. Air Force Defense




Rush Success901
Line Yards647
Pass Success603
Pass Blocking*626
Big Play6064
Finishing Drives9714
* Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Air Force Offense vs. Utah State Defense




Rush Success12695
Line Yards12427
Pass Success122101
Pass Blocking*110115
Big Play120114
Finishing Drives6175
* Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling729
PFF Coverage10435
Middle 8445
SP+ Special Teams24109
Plays per Minute10120
Rush Rate53.5% (74)89.4% (2)

Data via College Football Data (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF & SportSource Analytics.

Utah State vs. Air Force Betting Pick

Both teams are coming into this matchup with chips on their shoulders and perfect records to defend. The teams have questionable experience as they have FCS wins on their schedules. A lot will be distilled from this Mountain West matchup.

The clear storyline here is the Air Force defense. It has been tenacious so far this season, especially against the run. The pass defense has been excellent too. The well-balanced defense of Air Force is going to force Utah State into chasing big plays.

Utah State has been able to turn on the jets offensively when it needed to, especially when its backs were against the wall, but the Falcons defense will likely be the toughest the Aggies face all season.

The Aggies will be baited into the big play, but with big plays come big errors. Air Force will be able to capitalize on this risk/reward dynamic.

Air Force is going to grind the lockdown with its methodical triple-option offense. The laborious Falcon drives will chew a lot of clock up. Even though the Aggies will be forced to the air, they are going to be forced into turnovers as well.

Back the Air Force defense in this game as it will make things very difficult for the Aggies up front and in the secondary. I project the under to cover as the Falcons run game erases clock all night long.

Pick: Under 53.5.

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