Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:56 AM

Fresno State at San Diego State

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Fresno State at San Diego State

Venue/Location: SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, California
Time/TV: Friday, Nov. 15 (ESPN2, 9:30 p.m. ET)
Line: Pick 'em, Total 43.5

There is a big time Mountain West showdown this Friday, as the defending conference champions (Fresno State) hope that the can go out on the road and play spoiler to a San Diego State team that hopes it's there name beside the conference champion moniker by this year's end.
A win by the Aztecs would put them in the driver's seat in the West division before their big trip to Hawaii next week, while a loss would only add more tension and pressure. Feeling tension and pressure are two things not commonly associated with touching down on the islands of Hawaii, but should San Diego State fall this week to Fresno, it might be the beginning of the end for San Diego State's conference title dreams in 2019.

And after last week's play on the 'under' in the Washington/Oregon State game brought a no-sweat winner, hopefully the move over to the Mountain West conference this week can bring the same results.

Betting Odds: Fresno State vs San Diego State (pick'em); Total set at  43

This line has already seen significant movement on the side and total, as the total's come down from it's opener of 44.5, while it appears that there aren't many in the market looking to back the Aztecs, as their opener of -2.5 has only gone against them. And given that San Diego State struggled to get by UNLV as a -10 favorite two weeks ago, and then lost outright to Nevada (17-13) as -17 home chalk, it's not hard to see the reasoning behind wanting to go against San Diego State. After all, this is a team that averages just 20.8 points per game on offense this year, and winning consistently in college is rather hard with that type of point production.
For Fresno State, this was always going to be a type of “reloading” year for the program after they had so many valuable and talented upperclassmen lead them to a conference championship a year ago. The Bulldogs came into 2019 as a very young team, and having alternated wins with losses the past six games, the inconsistency in putting together a strong 60 minutes on a weekly basis is a sign of a young team. Following that patter would suggest a win for Fresno State this week, but at 3-5-1 ATS this year, it's not like they've been world beaters against the number either.
In terms of the total, the move downwards is always going to be expected for San Diego State games given how low scoring they tend to be. The Aztecs have only cashed one 'over' ticket in eight tries this year, and that game finished with just 48 total points. Yet, given the Fresno State love, this total going low isn't exactly correlated with that side, as Fresno's 7-2 O/U on the season and has only had one total close lower then 50 on the year. With all the Fresno State love that's already come in, you'd expect to see more support for the 'over', and that's just not the case. Therefore, from a side perspective, can San Diego be trusted to get the job done given that oddsmakers do expect their style of play to be the main form of action given the lower total?
If you are going to do one thing in college football, you'd better be able to do it good, and San Diego State's defense is THAT good. Yes, the results have looked rather ugly the past two weeks, but it's three straight weeks of holding foes to just 17 points, and they've held opponents at/below that threshold in seven of their nine games this year. The Aztecs are 6-1 SU in those seven games, so clearly they are doing something right, even with an offensive unit that's hard to watch at times. 20 points per game on offense has been good enough to go 7-2 SU overall so far, and with where the line is now, you've just got to worry about picking the winner.
One of the toughest situations for young programs like Fresno is always going up against a stout defense. The college game is built on higher scoring, back-and-forth type play because of talent mismatches, coaching mismatches, and/or more schematic breakdowns by younger guys still learning the game. San Diego State's defense just doesn't have those schematic breakdowns that opponents can count on to put up points and keep themselves in the game. That puts Aztecs opponents in a tough spot if San Diego isn't mistake prone themselves on offense, and I'm not sure this 2019 Fresno State team will be able to take advantage of that scenario.
Sure, San Diego State could look awful on offense at times, but if this game does turn out to be a 20-17 or 23-20 type game, who would you rather trust in that situation: Fresno State or San Diego State?
I believe you've got to back the Aztecs defense in that scenario every time out, and coming off an embarrassing loss as three-score home favorites, I do like the Aztecs chances to bounce back offensively as well. This Fresno State team is used to playing games where the first to 35 points win, and that's quite far from the realm of how this game plays out that the lack of comfort Fresno State will have because of it will start to show up early on.
San Diego State is already 1-0 SU and ATS after their other outright loss this year, and that 24-10 win over Colorado State was arguably their most complete win of the season. The Aztecs scored points in every quarter that day, and let the defense do what they do in quarters 2, 3, and 4 while San Diego State's offense put up majors in each frame to build a 24-3 lead. A garbage time score was conceded after that, and this week's home game vs Fresno should have a very similar script when it's all said and done.

Best Bet: San Diego State

YTD Record: 5-7 ATS

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