Fresno State Bulldogs vs. San Jose State Spartans Predictions, Odds, Picks

Nov. 25, 2021
Jonathan Willis
VI Betting Expert

The Fresno State Bulldogs are going to be huge fans of Boise State this week.

Fresno State can clinch the West Division of the Mountain West Conference with a victory over the San Jose State Spartans on Thanksgiving coupled with a Boise State win over San Diego State on Black Friday.

San Jose State won the Mountain West last year, but the Spartans have backtracked after their miracle season in 2020.

Score Prediction

  • Fresno State 34 San Jose State 24

Best Bets

  1. Fresno State -7
  2. Over 52.5

Fresno State Bulldogs vs. San Jose State Spartans Predictions

Both these schools have had two weeks to prepare for this matchup that kicks off the holiday afternoon action in college football on Thursday.

Fresno State has won four of its last five and hammered New Mexico 34-7 two weeks ago, while San Jose State was crushed 48-17 at home by Utah State its last time out.

The Bulldogs have largely dominated this series over the last three decades, and they will establish their in-state supremacy once more on Thanksgiving.

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Fresno State Bulldogs vs. San Jose State Spartans Betting Odds

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Fresno State Bulldogs vs. San Jose State Spartans Betting Resources

  • Matchup: Mountain West
  • Date: Thursday, November 25, 2021
  • Venue: CEFCU Stadium
  • Location: San Jose, California
  • TV-Time: FS1 - 3:30 p.m. ET
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Fresno State Bulldogs Betting Analysis

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

  • SU: 8-3
  • ATS: 7-4
  • O/U: 5-6
  • SU - Away: 3-2
  • ATS - Away: 3-2

Jake Haener has made Fresno State into one of the better offenses in the nation. The Bulldogs rank 34th in Offensive SP+, and Haener has been a huge part of that success. He has been gritty, and the Bulldogs have won as long as he didn’t make mistakes. Haener threw four interceptions against Hawaii and three picks against Boise State in Fresno State’s two conference losses.

His two top receivers have been Jalen Cropper and Josh Kelly. Cropper is the team’s leading receiver with 69 receptions for 10.9 YPR with 10 touchdowns, while Kelly has been more of a deep threat (15.5 YPR). Seniors Zane Pope and Keric Wheatfall could be targeted on a few deep passes too.

The Bulldogs have had some success on the ground. Seniors Ronnie Rivers (4.9 YPC) and Jordan Mims (5.7 YPC) have good averages, but they have struggled against top run defenses.

Fresno State was known for its defense for years under former coach Pat Hill. The Bulldogs are giving up 22.4 PPG and 351.3 YPG, ranking in the top 40 nationally in total defense and scoring defense. Their secondary has been largely good with opponents completing just 54% of their passes against this team.

San Jose State Spartans Betting Analysis

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

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

Nick Starkel has not been as sharp as he was during his breakout 2020 campaign. Starkel has been hampered by a left arm injury that left him sidelined for six weeks. He has thrown at least one interception in all six of his starts this season, and Starkel has tossed five touchdowns and six interceptions against FBS opponents.

That could lead to the Spartans playing Nick Nash more often. Nash isn’t as polished of a passer, but he is San Jose State’s second leading rusher and is averaging 5.8 YPC.

Tight end Derrick Deese Jr. is the top receiver on SJSU. The son of former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Derrick Deese has shown himself to have an enviable mix of size and athleticism and could be a draft pick next year.

Tyler Nevens has been the best weapon on this offense. He is averaging 4.6 YPC and has found the end zone seven times. Nevens hasn’t really been used in the passing game though, coming into this game with just eight receptions.

San Jose State’s offense ranks 114th in scoring offense (18.6 PPG) and 112th in total offense (322.6 YPG). The Spartans rank 97th on offense in SP+, but they have been much better on defense.

This defense ranks just outside the top 50 in SP+. San Jose State is conceding 3.5 YPC and 6.9 YPA, and they rank 24th nationally in yards per play allowed. Bobby Brown II is the leader in the secondary, and Viliami Fehoko is a rising star on the defensive line.


Inside the Stats - Fresno State Bulldogs

  • Record: 8-3
  • Points Scored: 330
  • Points Allowed: 247
  • PS/G: 30 PPG
  • PA/G: 22.4 PPG

Inside the Stats - San Jose State Spartans

  • Record: 5-6
  • Points Scored: 205
  • Points Allowed: 291
  • PS/G: 18.6
  • PA/G: 26.4

Key Players to Watch

  • FRES: QB Jake Haener (3,647 passing yards, 28 TDs)
  • FRES: RB Ronnie Rivers (723 yards, 5 TDs)
  • SJST: TE Derrick Deese Jr. (44 receptions, 687 yards, 4 TDs)
  • SJST: RB Tyler Nevens (711 rushing yards, 7 TDs)

Fresno State Bulldogs vs. San Jose State Spartans Betting Conclusion

Starkel and Nash might make a few things happen for San Jose State, but Haener and the Bulldogs will be too much for the Spartans. That will deprive SJSU of bowl eligibility, but it will give Fresno State a shot at the MWC Championship Game.

Fresno State Bulldogs vs. San Jose State Spartans Betting Trends

  • The Underdog has gone 3-0-1 ATS in the last four encounters
  • The 'under' is on a 4-0 run in this series
  • Fresno State just 1-3-1 ATS in last five visits to San Jose
  • San Jose State is 5-0 ATS in its last five games as a home underdog