2021 Mountain West Championship Odds, Picks and Preview for San Diego State vs Utah State
Brady Hoke coaching

San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke looks on during the first half of an NCAA college football game against UNLV Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Chase Stevens)

  • The Mountain West Championship game features Utah State vs San Diego State at 3:00pm EST on FOX
  • The Aztecs look to keep their hopes alive for a G5 New Year’s Six bowl bid with a win
  • Keep reading for odds, picks and our prediction

The Utah State Aggies (9-3) will take on the 19th-ranked San Diego State University Aztecs (11-1) with the Mountain West Championship on the line. This game will be played in Carson, Calif. and kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 pm on December 4.

San Diego State has an 11-1 record so far this season, a record they have obtained largely behind a dominant defense. Utah State is looking to put last year’s disastrous season behind them by winning the conference championship.

Utah State vs San Diego State Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Utah State Aggies +5 (-105) +175 Over 50 (-115)
San Diego State University Aztecs -5 (-115) -210 Under 50 (-105)

All odds as of  December 1 via DraftKings

This game will largely be strength-vs-strength: Utah State’s offense, which has averaged slightly over 32 points per game this season, will be going up against against an SDSU defense which is only allowing a shade over 17 points per game.

Utah State’s Air Attack

Logan Bonner, the Utah State quarterback, has had an extremely productive season, racking up 3,242 yards passing and 32 touchdowns. He is coming off one of his best games of the season in which he threw five touchdowns against New Mexico in a 35-10 blowout victory.

If Utah State is going to pull off the upset, they will likely have to rely on Bonner’s arm against an SDSU defense allowing 235.7 yards per game through the air. This is in stark contrast to SDSU’s rush defense, which is ranked second in the nation, only allowing a measly 78.5 rushing yards per game. SDSU has also only surrendered four touchdowns on the ground all season.

Given that Utah State is averaging 152.3 rushing yards per game and  has recorded 10 rushing touchdowns across 12 games, the likelihood that the Aggies will dominate this game on the ground are fairly slim.

SDSU’s Secret Weapon

San Diego State also has a secret weapon: Their punter, Matt Araiza, who is one of the best in the nation. Araiza has the ability to flip the field on any given punt, even when SDSU is within their own 20-yard line. This ability to consistently pin the opponent deep in their own territory means SDSU should enjoy an advantage in field position for the majority of the contest.

Offensively, SDSU is averaging 178 rushing yards per game and has recorded 24 rushing touchdowns across 12 games. SDSU should have no trouble finding success on the ground against a Utah State run defense that allowed 19 touchdowns and an average of 163.8 yards per game.

Due to their advantage in both the punting game and the running game, SDSU should control two key facets of the football game: Field position and time-of-possession.

While the Aggies may be able to find some success through the air, the best way to prevent an opposing teams’ offense from scoring, is to simply keep them off the field. If SDSU can control the clock and win the time of possession battle,  they should be able to walk away with a victory.

The biggest concern I have regarding SDSU is their passing offense. If they end up needing to rely on throwing the ball, they are below-average in terms of passing offense. SDSU is only averaging 154.2 passing yards per game, and the Aztecs have only recorded 12 passing touchdowns all season.

Controlling the Game

Whichever team can force the game to be played in their favor will win. If SDSU can control the clock and field position, running the ball at will, that will keep Utah State’s explosive offensive on the sidelines, while also opening up the play-action pass and stretching out the defense.

However, if the Aggies get an early lead, they can force SDSU into a passing game while playing from behind, something they are not entirely comfortable with.

Ultimately, I think this game will be won in the trenches. If the Aztecs can control the line of scrimmage, they can run at will and control the game. SDSU is ranked 21st in the nation in terms of time of possession, and I think they will control this game from start to finish.

The Pick: San Diego State -5 (-115)

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David Rooney

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