Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#377 Toledo vs.
#378 San Diego State
Saturday, September 24, 2022 at 3:30pm EDT
Written by Dave Kovaleski

The San Diego State Aztecs look to get back on track Saturday when they host the Toledo Rockets. The Aztecs, of the Mountain West Conference, are off to a 1-2 start, while Toledo, of the Mid American Conference, is 2-1 on the season. The Rockets are ranked No. 88 in the college football power rankings while San Diego State is ranked No. 91. This is the first time these two programs have met. Toledo is a 3 point road favorite. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. ET at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, Calif.

Toledo faces first real test this Saturday

The Toledo Rockets have been impressive so far on this young season. They have jumped out to a 2-1 record and are ranked No. 88 in the national power rankings. Of course, they have not played the toughest opponents, at least in their first two games. They shut out Long Island 37-0 in the opener and then beat a bad UMass team 55-10 in the second game, covering as a 28 point favorite. But then last Saturday they got a dose of reality, losing 77-21 at Ohio State. Now, the Buckeyes are the No. 3 ranked team in the nation, and they were 31 point favorites over Toledo, so a big loss was expected. Where it leaves Toledo is not completely known at this point.

The Rockets beat up on a couple of cupcakes and then got pummeled by a national powerhouse. This week will truly be their first real test of the season, as they face a good San Diego State team on the road. So far this season, the Rockets average 37.7 points per game, which ranks 39th in the country. That total is padded by some lopsided wins over lesser teams. Their defense gives up 29 points per game, which ranks 88th, but that too is skewed, both ways, by some lopsided games. Against Ohio State, they could not stop the Buckeyes on any level as OSU ran for 281 yards and passed for 482 yards. Offensively, the Rockets mustered 83 yards passing and 124 yards rushing against a powerhouse defense. Quarterback Dequan Finn threw for 153 yards and 2 touchdowns and rushed for 70 yards and 1 touchdown.

Aztecs fall to Utah

The San Diego State Aztecs are 1-2 on the season and hold a national ranking of No. 91. The Mountain West Conference stalwarts have played a tougher schedule, taking on two Pac-12 teams already -- Arizona and Utah -- which were both losses. Their lone win came in week 2 when they beat Idaho State 38-7, but failed to cover as 32.5 point favorites. In fact, they haven't covered a game all season, as they lost 38-20 to Arizona as a 6 point favorite and fell last weekend to Utah 25-7 as a 22 point underdog. It shows that the Aztecs were expected to be better than they have been so far, coming off a tremendous 12-2 season in 2021 -- with a lot of talent coming back.

In the 35-7 loss to No. 13 ranked Utah last Saturday. the Aztecs offense couldn't get much going. They only gained 173 total yards with only 60 of those yards coming through the air. The big problem was their starting quarterback, Braxton Burmeister, left the game in the first quarter with an eye injury. He was just 1 of 4 for 6 yards at that point. Backup Kyle Crum came in and led the team over the final three quarters, but was just 5 of 16 for 55 yards and a touchdown with 1 interception. The running game was slightly better, but still only managed 113 yards in the game, with Jaylon Armstead gaining 31 yards and Jordan Byrd adding 29 yards on the ground. Josh Nicholson caught San Diego State's lone touchdown. As for Burmeister, he is listed as questionable for the game on Saturday.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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I kind of find it hard to believe that Toledo is favored by 3 points on the road. But I get why, given they have a better record, gaudier stats, given lopsided outcomes, and a higher national ranking. Vegas may also be factoring in the possibility that San Diego State quarterback Braxton Burmeister might not play as he is questionable. But basically, he received a bad poke in the eye that kept him from seeing straight in the game, but all indications are he will be ready to go. I really can't gauge anything off of Toledo's games thus far, but what I do know is San Diego State's defense did a pretty good job against the 13th-ranked team in the nation, and that the Aztecs would have covered if Burmeister played the whole game. So to me, this is a no-brainer. Take San Diego State at home getting the points.

Prediction: San Diego State +3

Full-Game Total Pick

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Again, I can't read too much into Toledo's numbers thus far as they routed two bad teams. But one thing I do take from the Ohio State loss is their offense can move the ball and is fairly potent, led by Finn. To score 21 points off Ohio State, and it wasn't in garbage time, is pretty impressive. The problem is the defense, which got absolutely steamrolled by the Buckeyes. With Burmeister in the fold, the Aztecs should be able to move the ball better than they did against Utah, and their strong running game should assert itself over a Toledo defense that is vulnerable to the run. The bottom line, I see a good game played in the 20s that sneaks past the total. Take the over.

Prediction: Over 45.5
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Written By Dave Kovaleski , "Dave Kovaleski"

Dave has covered every major sport with passion and expertise for national sports publications and we are very happy to have him as a part of our team here at Winners & Whiners and StaSalt. In addition to being a sportswriter and sports bettor, Dave has also worked in the financial industry and brings a critical eye for numbers to his analysis of games. Dave thoroughly researches the statistics to spot the trends and break down the matchups to successfully find the winners in the NFL, NBA, MLB, college hoops, and other sports. You will not be disappointed in following Dave on a daily basis.