Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:48 AM

BYU vs. San Diego State Predictions, Odds

  • December 18, 2020
  • By Thom Cunningham

The BYU Cougars travel to San Diego and take on the AP-ranked San Diego State Aztecs in a tough road game on Friday night. Tip-off between the west schools is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. (ET) and will air on CBSSN.



BYU-San Diego State Betting Odds

Line Movements

  • Spread: San Diego State -8
  • Money-Line: TBD
  • Total: 135.5

Odds Subject to Change

The Aztecs enter this game as the home favorites, given an -8-point spread against a team that has covered in five of seven games. The spread does seem a bit high for the talent BYU possesses, but the Aztecs' are one of the nation's top defensive teams (especially when playing at home).

The point total is a bit tough to gauge, opening at 135.5 while the two schools have a combined 4-7 O/U record this season. Both of these schools present great defenses, so its not surprise too see the UNDER hit between the two more times than not.


Betting Analysis – BYU Cougars

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 6-2
  • ATS: 5-2
  • SU - Home: 5-2
  • SU - Away: 1-0
  • O/U: 2-5

BYU is led by senior Alex Barcello, who is averaging almost 20 points er game and leading the team in assists per game with 3.9. This team is loaded with experience, as Connor Harding, Brandon Averette and Matt Haarms are all upperclassmen who average 8.3 points per game or more.

There's really nothing to hate about the Cougars, a solid bet to make the March Madness tournament this season. The issue with BYU is that they live and die by the three-point shot, making them a difficult team to wager on. BYU ranks 32nd nationally in three-pointers made (10 per game), 69th nationally in three-point percentage (37%) and 82nd in field goals made (28.8 per game).

With all of these solid offensive numbers, the Cougars actually rank 239th in two-pointers attempted (34 per game) and 281st in free throws made (10.3 per game). When you see that BYU actually has the 23rd most two-pointers made in the country, it seems that BYU settles for the long ball.

If one or more players are feeling it, the Cougars can win any game by launching the three-pointer. The issue in this particular game is the defense they are facing (we'll get to in a minute) is very good at defending almost every shot, so BYU will have to be smart and selective on offense.

The Cougars also rank within the top 10 nationally in both total assists and total rebounds, but a lot of that is also attributed to the amount of games played compared to the rest of the country. Regardless, the BYU formula works, but against San Diego State they will have to attack the rim more and not settle for three-pointers (unless they are hitting them).

Betting Analysis – San Diego State Aztecs

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 5-0
  • ATS: 3-1
  • SU - Home: 4-0
  • SU - Away: 1-0
  • O/U: 2-2

What a job Brian Dutcher has done with this program, as the school is still playing with a chip on its shoulder despite winning 32 of its last 33 games. Yes, you read that correctly. San Diego State has dropped one game in over 30-plus straight, and is still having most of the national media questioning if they're still legit.

For starters, this team saw one of the more impressive wins this season when it took care of UCLA at home to open the season. Also, the defense that led San Diego State to 25-plus wins a season ago has gone absolutely nowhere. The Aztecs allow 57 points per game which ranks 15th in the nation, while also holding an 82.1 defensive rating which ranks 23rd nationally.

The Aztecs will still need other players to step up that aren't named Jordan Schakel or Matt Mitchell, as those two do most of the work for San Diego State. Nathan Mensah, Terell Gomez and Agues Arop are a few names you may not heard of, but contribute heavily to the solid San Diego State defense.

Unless BYU is having a lights out night beyond the arc, which they might, San Diego State's defensive blueprint should matchup nicely with the Cougars. Mensah, Gomez and Arop will need to continue having good defensive performances (each average 0.8 steals per game), because BYU will be testing them early and often from long range.

Inside the Stats – BYU Cougars

  • PS/G: 77.8 (102nd)
  • PA/G: 66.1 (117th)
  • Off Rtg: 106 (113th)
  • Def Rtg: 90.1 (87th)

Inside the Stats – San Diego State Aztecs

  • PS/G: 75.6 (136th)
  • PA/G: 57 (15th)
  • Off Rtg: 108.9 (88th)
  • Def Rtg: 82.1 (23rd)

Key Players to Watch

  • BYU - Alex Barcello (17.8 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 3.9 APG)
  • SDST - Jordan Schakel (15.2 PPG)
  • SDST - Matt Mitchell (12.6 PPG)

BYU-San Diego State Predictions

It's difficult to take San Diego State at a near double-digit favorite, facing a team that scores a lot of points. The question becomes whether or not BYU will struggle enough from three-point range to lost San Diego State run away with the game? It seems unlikely, despite the stifling defense that San Diego State has.

Live betting the Aztecs when BYU is up seems to be the smartest strategy, or at least the safest. San Diego State should win the game, but the moneyline isn't worth considering unless BYU keeps it close or takes a lead at some point. So before the game starts look at the point total first.

Both defenses are good, which is why the point total is a low 135.5. Assuming BYU is able to shoot above average beyond the arc, they should touch 70 points. San Diego State, a good defense, just gave up 68 to a pretty good offense in Arizona State. One can argue Arizona State is actually struggling, having just lost with another 60-point performance to UTEP.

Assuming BYU doesn't struggle as much as Arizona State did, and San Diego State will play good enough defense to keep this game close, consider the point total going OVER 135.5 Again, the best bet may be a live bet on the Aztecs if/when they trail to BYU. Also consider the Aztecs winning the second half, which can be hedged with BYU covering the somewhat large spread.

  • Score Prediction: San Diego State 71 BYU 68
  • Best Bets: OVER 135.5

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