College Football Odds & Picks for Utah State vs. San Diego State: Why to Bet Aztecs (December 4)

College Football Odds & Picks for Utah State vs. San Diego State: Why to Bet Aztecs (December 4) article feature image

Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jesse Matthews.

  • Utah State takes on San Diego State in Saturday's Mountain West Championship.
  • The Aztec enter as -6 favorites, according to updated odds at BetMGM.
  • Check out BJ Cunningham's betting guide for the MWC title game below.

Utah State vs. San Diego State Odds

Saturday, Dec. 4
3 p.m. ET
Utah State Odds
-110o / -110u
San Diego State Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Utah State and San Diego State square off in the Mountain West title game, with the winner earning a spot in the Los Angeles Bowl against a Pac-12 foe.

Utah State won the Mountain Division by a narrow margin over Air Force, going 6-2 with its only losses coming to Boise State and Wyoming. Blake Anderson has done a fantastic job in his first season in Logan, as he has built the program back up to where Matt Wells had it before leaving for Texas Tech.

A win would send the Aggies to Los Angeles, and it would only be their fourth 10-win season in program history.

San Diego State earned its way into the Mountain West Championship game with a gutsy come-from-behind victory over Boise State last Friday. The Aztecs are currently sitting at 11-1, with their lone loss coming to Fresno State.

Under Brady Hoke, San Diego State has one of the best defenses in the country and will be a major problem for the Aggies' explosive offense.

Utah State Aggies

Aggies Offense

Utah State's offense is built on explosive plays. The Aggies are the No. 1 team in the country in offensive explosiveness but sit outside the top 100 in terms of Success Rate.

The Aggies will have to find a way to move the ball through the air on Saturday because they can't run the ball to save their life. Utah State gains only 3.6 yards per carry, ranks 106th in Rushing Success Rate and 118th in EPA/Rush.

So, going up against the best run defense in the Mountain West that's allowing only 2.7 yards per carry will be a stiff challenge.

However, Logan Bonner has had a great season throwing the ball. The Aggies rank 10th in Passing Success Rate, and Bonner is averaging 8.6 yards per attempt with 32 touchdowns.

Bonner has an 81.8 PFF passing grade, with 28 big-time throws and 19 turnover-worthy plays.

Logan Bonner with the DIME to put @USUFootball on top 🎯🎯

— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 26, 2021

However, two of his worst three games this season came against Boise State and Wyoming. What do those two teams have in common? They're both inside the top 20 in terms of coverage grade.

You guessed it — San Diego State's secondary also sits inside the top 20, ranking 19th in coverage grade. So, it's going to be difficult for Utah State to move the ball if it can't rip off explosive plays.

Aggies Defense

Utah State's defense has been below average this season, allowing 5.7 yards per play, ranking 75th in Success Rate allowed, and 69th in EPA/Pass allowed.

That's pretty bad considering its strength of schedule was 101st this season.

Most of the Aggies' problems have come in the secondary. Utah State is allowing 7.5 yards per pass attempt, ranks 101st in Passing Success Rate allowed, and 81st in EPA/Pass allowed.

It will get a break on Saturday because San Diego State runs the ball at the 16th-highest rate in the country. With that being said, the Aztecs have been throwing the ball more recently, racking up 36 pass attempts against Boise State and 34 against Nevada.

The defensive line for Utah State has done an incredible job at stopping the run at the line of scrimmage. The Aggies are 12th in Defensive Line Yards, sixth in Stuff Rate, and ninth in Power Success Rate Allowed, which is key against a San Diego State team that runs its offense out of a lot of heavy sets.

However, Utah State's defense is very susceptible to giving up big plays on the ground, as it ranks 100th in rushing explosiveness allowed. That's bad news against a San Diego State that ranks 12th in rushing explosiveness.

Utah State’s offense goes 90 yards in 14 plays to make it a 7 point game.

Utah State’s defense takes the field and…

— Yahoo Sportsbook (@YahooSportsbook) October 2, 2021

San Diego State Aztecs

Aztecs Offense

The San Diego State offense is built on an effective rushing attack. The Aztecs run the ball on 62.4% of their plays, which, again, is the 16th-highest rate in the country.

Lucas Johnson got the start at quarterback against Boise State but was pulled in the second quarter in favor of Jordon Brookshire, who threw the ball better, going 11-of-15 for 192 yards and a touchdown.

How about that!? 4th and inches and @J_Breezy1O & @Bellinger_12 connect for 38 yards

Watch on

— San Diego State Football (@AztecFB) November 26, 2021

However, the San Diego State passing attack has been very poor no matter the signal-caller. The Aztecs rank 113th in Passing Success Rate and 117th in EPA/Pass. However, they will need the passing game to be working to exploit Utah State's defense.

The rushing attack is led by Greg Bell, who has carried the ball for 4.5 yards per carry and has the Aztecs ranked 51st in Rushing Success Rate, 12th in rushing explosiveness and 63rd in EPA/rush.

Bell has cooled off after a blistering start to the season, with only one 100-yard rushing performance in his last seven games.

The key will be whether or not the offensive line can get a push against Utah State's stout defensive line. The Aztecs are 91st in Offensive Line Yards and 97th in Stuff Rate allowed but do have the 19th-best run-blocking grade, per PFF.

So, this game may be in the hands of Brookshire or Johnson, similar to the Boise State game last weekend.

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Aztecs Defense

San Diego State has one of the best defenses in the country under Hoke. The Aztecs defense allows only 4.4 yards per play and is top-10 in both Rushing and Passing Success Rate Allowed.

San Diego State's front seven has been incredible versus the run, as it's second in the country in Rushing Success Rate Allowed, fifth in Defensive Line Yards, seventh in rushing explosiveness, and eighth in EPA/Rush allowed. So, it's going to be difficult for Utah State is going to move the ball on the ground.

The secondary for San Diego State is not allowing any passing success to opposing offenses. The Aztecs are allowing only 6.1 yards per attempt, which ranks seventh in college football.

They also are ninth in EPA/Pass allowed and 10th in Passing Success Rate Allowed, so they should be able to slow down Bonner and the Aggies' passing attack.

Aztecs Special Teams

It's very rare that a punter or kicker deserves his own section, but Matt Araiza is more than deserving.

In case you haven't heard, Araiza is averaging 51.1 yards per punt, has downed 40 of his 76 punts inside the 20-yard line, and gives the Aztec defense the best average starting field position in college football.

Bro Matt Araiza punted this from the 12 to the opposite end zone what in the

— Brett Kollmann (@BrettKollmann) November 7, 2021

Utah State vs. San Diego State Matchup Analysis

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

Utah State Offense vs. San Diego State Defense
Rush Success1182
Line Yards1065
Pass Success1010
Pass Blocking**8022
Big Play399
Finishing Drives10218
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

San Diego State Offense vs. Utah State Defense
Rush Success5156
Line Yards9112
Pass Success113101
Pass Blocking**2354
Big Play101109
Finishing Drives9538
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling5052
Middle 8396
SP+ Special Teams3111
Plays per Minute10114
Rush Rate53.4% (77)62.4% (16)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

Utah State vs. San Diego State Betting Pick

This is a bad matchup for Utah State's offense, which is reliant on explosive plays. Now, it's going up against one of the best defenses in all of college football.

If the San Diego State passing attack looks anything like it did against a top-20 Boise State secondary, it should be able to shred the Aggies secondary.

Our PRO Projections have San Diego State projected as a -7.1 favorite, so I'll back the Aztecs at -5.

Pick: San Diego State -5

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