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San Diego State Aztecs vs. Air Force Falcons Predictions, Odds, Picks

 
Oct. 23, 2021
Thom Cunningham
VI Betting Expert
VegasInsider.com

A huge Mountain West matchup is set for Saturday evening as the Air Force Falcons host the undefeated San Diego State Aztecs. Kick off is set for 7:00 p.m. ET and will air on CBSSN from Falcon Stadium in Usaf Academy, Colorado.

Score Prediction

Air Force 24, San Diego State 23

Best Bet

San Diego State +3.5

Over

San Diego State Aztecs vs. Air Force Falcons Predictions

It's hard to stay away from the point total in this game, as the UNDER seems like a lock. Why? Well for starters, San Diego State has gone UNDER the point total in 17 of its last 25 games, while also going UNDER the point total in 11 of its last 14 games away from San Diego. The UNDER has cashed for bettors in seven of the last 10 meetings, while Air Force has gone UNDER in eight of 10 overall - including four of five games at home.

So why stay away from the UNDER when it so clearly favors these two schools? The total is very low, set under 40 which is too low to consider. While it's true that both defenses enter Saturday's game ranked Top 11 in the nation, both offenses actually average over 30 points per game. So despite the trends pointing to the UNDER as the best bet, the points per game each school averages along with the very low total set under 40 points, look at the spread.

San Diego State has covered four of its last five games, including seven of its last nine when facing Air Force. The Aztecs have also covered the spread in four of their last five games when playing in Usaf Academy. With that said, Air Force has won 13 of its last 15 games when playing inside Falcon Stadium, so I expect a close battle where Air Force wins but the Aztecs cover. Anything above a field goal seems justified in taking Brady Hoke's Aztecs.

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San Diego State Aztecs vs. Air Force Falcons Betting Odds

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San Diego State Aztecs vs. Air Force Falcons Betting Resources

  • Matchup: Mountain West
  • Date: Saturday, October 23, 2021
  • Venue: Falcon Stadium
  • Location: Usaf Academy, Colorado
  • TV-Time: CBBSN - 7:00 p.m. ET


San Diego State Aztecs Betting Analysis

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

  • SU: 6-0
  • ATS: 4-2
  • O/U: 3-3
  • ATS - Home: 3-1
  • ATS - Away: 1-1

Lucas Johnson has been named the starting quarterback for San Diego State in this contest, playing much better this season than his counterpart Jordon Brookshire. The ground game is the main offensive threat for this unit however, as the Aztecs have 15 total rushing touchdowns compared to just six aerial touchdowns.

Three backs make up a solid ground game. but Greg Bell leads the charge with five yards per carry and five touchdowns. The Aztecs don't have a wide receiver with over 200 yards this season, and only two have eclipsed the 100-total mark in the season. The defense ranks ninth nationally in points allowed per game at 16, but one has to wonder how much of that is camouflaged with weak opponents this season.

The Aztecs most impressive win came against Utah, who was then starting Charlie Brewer at quarterback - as the Utes have made a switch and are playing much better which includes a home win over ranked Arizona State. Outside of the Utah win, the Aztecs have beaten New Mexico State, Arizona, Towson, New Mexico and San Jose State.

It's safe to say that the numbers might be inflated for how good this defense actually is, now facing a triple-option offense on the road (mountains) that averages over 30 points per game. This is a tough test for the Aztec defense but based on the statistical data they are capable of slowing down a very precise offense in Air Force.

The secondary is straight nasty, recording eight interceptions already this season to go along with an insane 30 pass deflections. Tayler Hawkins and Trenton Thompson lead the charge with two interceptions each, while the secondary has three players who have returned interceptions for 16 yards or more. This defense forces takeaways through the air, and makes plays after securing them. They have no fumble recoveries however, so it's hard to justify taking a great secondary over an offense that simply doesn't throw the ball in Air Force.

If the Falcons have to play from behind then this game is over, because the San Diego State secondary is too good for Air Force to drop back and launch it. However, if Air Force can run past good pass rushers in Cameron Thomas, Michael Shawcroft and Caden McDonald then it will be a long night for San Diego State. As good as the Aztec secondary is, it will have to be the front seven that wins this battle for San Diego State's defense.

Air Force Falcons Betting Analysis

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

  • SU: 6-1
  • ATS: 5-2
  • O/U: 2-5
  • ATS - Home: 2-2
  • ATS - Away: 3-0

How often does Air Force run the ball? Well, quarterback Haaziq Daniels has only thrown the ball 48 times all season, while the team has two players with over 100 carries on the year - one of which is Daniels himself. Many are familiar with the triple option offense, a run heavy approach that requires excellent blocking and keen decision making by the quarterback.

The Falcons have over 20 rushing touchdowns this season, as Brad Roberts leads the way with 178 carries and 818 yards. He has eight touchdowns, but its actually Daniels with the most rushing touchdowns for this team with nine. Both Roberts and Daniels are clearly the focuses for this Falcon offense, while only four players have caught a pass this season.

When the Falcons do pass, it's usually Micah Davis or Brandon Lewis that are targeted. The defense is just as good as San Diego State's, but one has to wonder about the quality of opponents much like San Diego State. Air Force's best win came last week against a struggling Boise State club. But outside of a 40-point plus allowance against Utah State, the defense has allowed 17 points or fewer in six of seven games this season.

The Air Force defense has five interceptions, three of which from Corvan Taylor - who also has two of the team's five fumble recoveries. The front seven is much better at creating takeaways than San Diego State's, as Vince Sanford is a name to watch on the defense as he leads the team in sacks with 6.5. He has also forced three fumbles whil recovering one himself.


The San Diego State Aztecs have gone UNDER the point total in 11 of its last 14 road games. (AP)

Inside the Stats - San Diego State Aztecs

  • Record: 6-0
  • VI Ranking: 25
  • Points Scored: 197
  • Points Allowed: 96
  • PS/G: 32.8 (36th)
  • PA/G: 16 (9th)

Inside the Stats - Air Force Falcons

  • Record: 6-1
  • VI Ranking: 38
  • Points Scored: 220
  • Points Allowed: 114
  • PS/G: 31.4 (45th)
  • PA/G: 16.3 (11th)

Key Players to Watch

  • SDST: Greg Bell - RB (113 carries, 561 yards, 5 TD)
  • SDST: Lucas Johnson - QB (29/49, 234 yards, 4 TD, INT)
  • AF: Brad Roberts - RB (178 carries, 818 yards, 8 TD)
  • AF: Haaziq Daniels - QB (100 carries, 518 yards, 9 TD)

Injuries

  • SDST: Dallas Branch - DB (Hand-Questionable)
  • AF: David Cormier - WR (Undisclosed-Questionable)
  • AF: DeAndre Hughes - WR (Undisclosed-Questionable)
  • AF: Kyle Patterson - TE (Knee-Questionable)

San Diego State Aztecs vs. Air Force Falcons Betting Conclusion

Although both defenses rank Top 11, while thew UNDER has hit an insane amount of times for both schools for various reasons, the point total is a bit too low cosndiering each offense averages over 30 points per game. Oddsmakers are putting a lot into both defenses, both schools running the ball on offense and the trends to set a very low point total line under 40. Yes this may hit, but for how many points these offenses score by simply running the football - this might be the market to avoid on Saturday.

Both teams are very even, and mirror each other in terms of philosophy. San Diego State has the slightly more athletic players, and a bit more open playbook on the offensive side of the football. I'm not sure that will be enough to get the road win here, but it should be enough to cover anything over a field goal spread. It's unliekly either school pulls away from this game based on how good the defenses are along with a 'run-first' gameplan.

Go with the better team covering the underdog spread, although this winner is a toss up to me. If convinced on the UNDER based on team's playing style and past trends, more power to you. a 20-17 final would see the UNDER hit but anything past that goes OVER the total. Each defense only allows 16 points per game, but the offenses each score 31 or more. Taking the median of those numbers should see each team score at or above 20 points in this game, which would see the total go OVER.

San Diego State Aztecs vs. Air Force Falcons Betting Trends

  • San Diego State has gone UNDER the point total in 11 of its last 14 road games.
  • Air Force has won 13 of its last 15 home games.
  • Air Force has covered the spread in five of its last six games.
  • San Diego State has covered the spread in four of its last five games when playing in Falcon Stadium.

  
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