The Aztecs are 7-2 but are slim underdogs at home against the 4-5 Bulldogs. We break down the odds with our best bets and predictions for the rivalry showdown for the Old Oil Can.
Fresno State has one of the most explosive offenses in the country putting up 34.4 points per game against FBS foes, but only 6.5 of those points come in the opening quarter. They could have a hard time getting the ball moving early against a stout Aztecs defense that gives up just 3.4 ppg in the first 15 minutes.
With the Aztecs offense averaging just 2 ppg in the first quarter at home, take the Under on the 1Q total.
PICK: First Quarter Under 10
FIRST HALF BET
The Aztecs offense averages 20.8 ppg and is coming off a real stinker at home against Nevada last week, putting up just 13 points per game. Although Fresno State allows 34 ppg to FBS foes, Nevada gives up 34.6 ppg and SDSU still couldn't score against them.
That's not the first time that the Aztecs offense has failed to show up at home against poor defensive units. They scored 17 points against Utah State on September 21 and just 6 points against FCS Weber State in their season opener. If you can't score a touchdown against an FCS team you know you're in trouble.
With SDSU averaging just 4 ppg in the first half at home, don't worry about the Bulldogs defense and take the Aztecs first-half team total Under.
PICK: San Diego State First Half Team Total Under 10
One thing you might notice about a lot of these bets (and the game total being set at a low 42.5) is that they're based on what we think will be a low-scoring game. That outlook has us looking at a somewhat related prop bet at plus money. We obviously think both sides will have a hard time scoring a touchdown in this one and will take points wherever they can.
Aztecs kicker Matt Araiza has been one of their most reliable offensive weapons, connecting on 16 of 18 field goal attempts. And while Fresno State kicker Cesar Silva is just 12 for 21 on field goals this year, he is 0-3 on attempts beyond 50 yards which suggests that the Bulldog coaches certainly have faith in his leg. Bet the first score of this game to be a field goal.
PICK: First Score Method 3-Way - Field Goal (+130)
FULL GAME TOTAL
Fresno State is the 30th highest scoring team in the country but there is plenty of reason to think they might not have that level of success against the Aztecs. When it comes to yardage they rank a less impressive 62nd and the Aztecs limit opponents to just 277.2 ypg (the eight-best figure in the nation).
In addition, the Bulldogs struggle on third downs, converting at a rate of just 38.3 percent against FBS foes which ranks 74th in the country. And they struggle in the red zone, coming away with points on just 78.7 percent of trips into the opposing 20.
The Aztecs allow opponents to convert on just 32.2 percent of third downs. With SDSU 8-1 to the Under this year, back the Under on Friday night.
PICK: Under 43
FULL GAME SIDE
SDSU holds opponents to just 69.2 rushing yards per game and 2.5 yards per carry. Although the Bulldogs rush for 181.9 yards per game against FBS foes they will likely struggle to find running room against the Aztecs which will force them to become one-dimensional and lean on quarterback Jorge Reyna and their passing game.
Unfortunately for Reyna, he has a tendency to struggle when shouldering more of the load as he did in games against Colorado State, New Mexico State and USC earlier this season.
While the Aztecs offense has struggled to implement their spread offense this season they do a good job of securing the ball with just four turnovers on the year. Back on the Aztecs to keep things close with their defense and eke out a low-scoring win at home.
PICK: ML San Diego (-105)
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