NCAA Football: Utah Utes vs San Diego State Aztecs Prediction, Odds and Preview - 09/18/2021

by James Q

NCAA Football: Utah Utes vs San Diego State Aztecs Prediction, Odds and Preview - 09/18/2021

Game Time: 7:00 pm ET, Saturday, September 18th, 2021 
Venue: Dignity Health Sports Park,  Carson, California
Where to Watch: CBSSN

Opening NCAAF Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings:  Spread:  Utah -9:  O/U: 44.5
BetMGM:  Spread:  Utah -9:  O/U:  44
Caesars:  Spread: Utah -8.5:  O/U: 44.5

Season Record

Utah: 1-1 (tied for third place, Pac-12 South)
San Diego: 2-0 (tied for 1st, Mountain West)

Utah vs San Diego State has a history that dates back to 1947.  They play intermittently, so far only 15 times.  San Diego State has Utah’s number and seemingly always has.  The series is 13-2 in San Diego State’s favor. It’s a matchup that has bizarrely found San Diego State the home underdogs according to DraftKings Sportsbook.  Odd spread indeed. .. In their last meeting in 2020 San Diego State beat the Pac-12 conference softy Utah Utes 38-7… In fact over their last 10 meetings San Diego is 9-1… even more bizarre is the last time was a Covid-19 shortened season, so the NCAA has extended an extra year of eligibility to everyone.  San Diego and Utah are both largely the same team they were with a few exceptions.  Why is Utah favored? Could it be that Utah’s two wins in the 70 year 15 non- conference games series both came on the road in San Diego?... No, this year they are in Carson Ca playing in a soccer stadium until the Aztecs new home field is finished in San Diego.  


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Utah opened their season with a win over the Weber State Wildcats 40-17.  The Utes followed that up with a loss to the Brigham Young Cougars 17-26.  They are 0-2 ATS on the young season. The BYU Cougars loss was particularly painful because of the state and religious ties to a historic rivalry.  They are in desperate need of a win. In order they had 1 Over and 1 Under.

San Diego State opened the season with a win over the New Mexico State Aggies 28-10.  The Aztecs followed that up with another win over the Arizona Wildcats, 38-14.  They are 1-1 ATS so fa, but they’ll take it to be 2-0.  In order they had 1 Under and 1 Over.

Offensive Analysis

The Utah offense is scoring 28.5 points per game and averaging 395 YPG. Utah QB Charlie Brewer is playing lights out football.  Passing for 380 yards, 34-53, 3 TD, 2 INT in 2 games.  A 135.5 RTG.  Of course most of those stats came against Weber State.  RB Micah Bernard leads a thunder and lightning rush concept with 90 yards per game, after Micah, RB Tavion Thomas hits opponents for 66 yards per game.  Utah’s leading receiver is TE Dalton Kincaid (That’s a Wild West Cowboy name) who has 5 catches for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The San Diego State offense averages 33 points a game and is getting 396.5 yards per game… oh, and they are 2-0 on the season.  QB Jordan Brookshire has a 128.3 RTG.  He has been sacked 4 times and thrown 1 interception.  He has a low 48.5 completion percentage on 16-33 passing.  His top receiver so far is Daniel Bellinger, his tight end who only has 4 catches… for an average of 30.8 per.  But he’s not the only long ball receiver. Ethan Dedeaux and Kobe Smith go deep!  The passing game is fine.  The star of SDSU has got to be running back Greg Bell, who is averaging 7.5 yards per rushing attempt.  He’s racked up 286 yards so far 143 per game!  



Defensive Analysis

The Utah Utes defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley is looking for more.  This squad looked sharp against Weber State and then got more than they could handle against BYU.  LB Devin Lloyd led the team in tackles with 25, he also leads the team in interceptions with 1. He gets help from the other LB Nephi Sewell who has 17 tackles.  CB Clark Phillips III and S Brandon McKinney each have 11 tackles.  These guys will need help from the defensive line, who has some anemic totals so far.  When the LB, CB, and S are leading the charge that means the contact is coming down the field either on the pass receiver or after a running back has broke through the line.  More pressure, more pressure, more pressure.

San Diego State’s defense gets sacks.  They have 9 in the season and they are spread around.  LB Caden McDonald leads the way with 2, but 6 other guys have 1.  They get after the quarterback. S Patrick McMorris leads the team in tackles 11, followed closely by DL Cameron Thomas who has 10 tackles and 1 sack.


Utes vs Aztecs Prediction 

Our prediction for Saturday, September 18th is…. SDSU 35 - Utah 22

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NCAAF Betting Trends

Utah lost the only other game they were the favorite this season.
The Aztecs won the only game they were the underdog this season.


Key Injuries

Utah: N/A
SDSU: Here is the answer to why Utah is favored.  Starting QB Jordan Brookshire suffered a foot injury and his availability is in question.  He will play though.  

Players to Watch

Utah:  RB Micah Bernard 90 yards per game rushing and he has caught 7 passes for 29.5 receiving yards per game.

SDSU:  RB Greg Bell, 143 yards per game.  A battle of running backs in this one.



Notable Quotes

“gotta get stops,...We did control them on most first downs and second down, but too many third-down conversions - it's as simple as it gets, we gave them too many third down conversions.'' -Devin Lloyd, Utah Linebacker, about The loss to BYU.

Starting Lineups

Utah:  QB Charlie Brewer, RB Micah Bernard, FB Joe Ludwig, WR Theo Howard, WR Solomon Enis, WR Britain Covey

SDSU: QB Jordan Brookshire, RB Greg Bell, RB Jordan Byrd, TE Daniel Bellinger, TE Jay Rudolph, WR Elijah Kothe, WR Jesse Mathews, WR BJ Busbee

Statistical Leaders 

Passing:  Charlie Brewer 380 yards
Rushing:  Micah Bernard  181 yards
Receiving:  Dalton Kincaid  112 yards
Tackles:  Devin Lloyd 25
Interceptions:  Devin Lloyd 1

Passing:  Jordan Brookshire 259 yards
Rushing:  Greg Bell 286 yards
Receiving:  Daniel Bellinger  123 yards
Tackles:  Patrick McMorris  11
Interceptions:  Tyler Hawkins



Utah:  Kyle Wittingham
SDSU:  Brady Hoke


Weather Forecast 

Partly Cloudy.  70 degrees for the high.  71% humidity.


James Q

About the Author:

James Q. has been involved with sports and gambling his entire life. A former division 1 scholarship basketball player, James understands sports (and especially basketball) inside-and-out. Following his basketball playing days, James parlayed his gambling skills into a semi-pro poker career. James resides in Los Angeles, and especially loves the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Rams, and Los Angeles Dodgers. And when he isn't betting on sports (and writing about it), James can be found performing stand-up comedy on the Sunset Strip.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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