Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#177 Utah vs.
#178 San Diego State
Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 7:00pm EDT
Written by David Delano

The San Diego State Aztecs will host the Utah Utes in a Mountain West versus Pac-12 showdown on Saturday. According to CBS Sports, the Aztecs come into this match-up ranked No. 55 in the nation with a 2-0 overall record and 1-1 against the spread. The Utes are ranked No. 31, with a 1-1 record overall, but 0-2 against the spread.

Utah looks to bounce back from upset loss to BYU

Utah went 3-2 last season in a brief Pac-12-only schedule with losses to USC and Washington to open the season, followed by wins over Oregon State, Colorado, and Washington State. The Utes brought back 10 offensive and eight defensive starters and were picked to finish second behind USC on Pac-12 Football Media Day in the North Division.

Utah opened this season with a 40-17 win as a 29.5 point home favorite against the Weber State Wildcats. The Utes outgained the Wildcats 450 to 270 in total yardage for the game. Baylor graduate transfer Charlie Brewer led the offense with 233 passing yards, with two touchdowns and an interception in the win over Weber State. Last week, Utah was defeated in the Holy War by archrival BYU 26-17 as a seven-point favorite and outgained 380 to 340 in total yardage. Brewer threw for 147 yards with one touchdown and one pick on 15 of 26 passing in the loss.

Brewer offers a long resume of experience at the quarterback position. He has now played in 46 collegiate games, after playing in 44 games for Baylor from 2017-200, and has thrown for 10,080 yards with 68 career touchdown passes against 28 interceptions.

Utah's running game is led by Michad Bernard, who has 181 rushing yards, and Tavion Thomas, who has total of 133 rushing yards through the first two games.

San Diego State goes for back-to-back wins against the Pac-12

San Diego State went 4-4 last season and 4-2 in the Mountain West. According to the 2021 reason poll, the Aztecs are expected to finish third in the West Division behind Nevada and San Jose State and were rated sixth out of 12 teams in the conference, also behind Boise State, Wyoming, and Air Force. The passing offense was expected to be the biggest weakness for San Diego State, after welcoming back only five starters for the team that ranked 93rd in the country, scoring 24.6 ppg, and 97th picking up 350.8 total yards per game. The defense was 11th in the nation, holding opponents to 17.8 ppg, and third allowing just 283.5 total yards per contest.

The Aztecs opened up the season with a 28-10 home win as a 31.5-point favorite against New Mexico State and beat Pac-12 opponent Arizona 38-14 as a one-point road dog last weekend. San Diego State is averaging 261.5 rushing per game and 149 passing yards throughout the first two games. Leading the way is senior running back Greg Bell, who rushed for 161 yards on 21 carries against NMSU, and 125 yards on 17 carries against Arizona. Senior quarterback Jordan Brookshire is the only Aztecs player who has attempted a pass this season. Brookshire completed 7 of 20 passes against NMSU with an interception and went 10 for 15 with two touchdowns against Arizona.

The Aztec defense has allowed 252.5 passing yards but just 48.5 rushing yards per game so far.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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Neither of these teams has looked explosive on offense and will look for their defenses to lead the way. San Diego State is outstanding running the football and will be able to control a lot of the clock in this contest offensively. Defensively, the Aztecs have been close to impossible to run against and are coming off of holding the Arizona Wildcats to just 2.6 yards per attempt last Saturday. Utah came into the season with higher expectations and plays in the tougher conference, but this line is disrespectful to San Diego State. The Aztecs' efficient ground attack and stifling defense will keep this close, even if they don't get the win.

Prediction: San Diego State +9

Full-Game Total Pick

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Rating:

The way both of these teams play, I don't foresee a lot of points. The Utes likely will not have much success running against San Diego State, and San Diego State will likely have a tough time throwing on Utah.

The trends also favor a low-scoring game. San Diego  State has played to the under in four of its last five games as a home dog and in five of its previous seven games against the Pac-12.  Utah has played to the under in nine of its last 12 road games and in four of its previous five games against a winning team. I will take the under here.

Prediction: Under 45
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Written By David Marotta , "David Delano"

David Delano is a Bowling Green State University graduate with a passion for sports, traveling, and music. David loves to handicap MLB, NFL, NCAAF, NCAAB, NBA, WNBA, and is also a big fan of boxing and track and field. Over the years, David has worn several hats in the sports world, from being behind the camera to writing, filming, editing, scouting, and coaching, along with servicing his clients as a sports handicapper.  He is also an expert sports bettor. We are glad to have David on our Winners & Whiners team, and we recommend that you follow along with him every day.