Nevada Wolf Pack vs. San Diego State Aztecs Prediction & Game Preview -- 11/13/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 10 p.m. ET, November 13, 2021
Venue: Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, CA
Where to watch: CBS Sports Network

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: San Diego State -2.5; O/U 46.5
BetMGM: San Diego State -2.5; O/U 46.5
Caesars: San Diego State -2.5; O/U 46.5

Season record
Nevada: 7-2 (4-1 Mountain West)
San Diego State: 8-1 (4-1 Mountain West)

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UNR - SDSU preview and analysis


Last week
Nevada: won 27-24 vs. San Jose State
San Diego State: won 17-10 at Hawaii

On this week’s edition of unexpected good games in the Mountain West Conference, we find perhaps the biggest game of the West Division to date.

The door has been left wide open for the winner of this week’s matchup between the Nevada Wolf Pack and San Diego State Aztecs. The winner controls its own destiny for a spot in the Mountain West championship game because the Fresno State Bulldogs have chosen now to implode.

You would think Fresno State defeating the Wolf Pack and Aztecs in consecutive weeks would’ve proven to be inevitable for the Bulldogs to coast to a championship game appearance. However, the Boise State Broncos have chosen to be great conference goers by dominating Fresno State last week and putting this week’s matchup as the marquee.

The loser will fall behind Fresno State via tiebreaker, but this is the conference’s biggest game of the season to date.

UNR is coming off a narrow 3-point victory against the pesky San Jose State Spartans at Mackay Stadium that required a 45-yard field goal from Brandon Talton with three seconds left to preserve the victory. The Wolf Pack were 11.5-point favorites at most books, but the Spartans were valiant in their efforts to cover.

Star quarterback Carson Strong had a rough day throwing the ball, completing 36 of 54 passes for 314 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. UNR had only 53 rushing yards, as San Jose State’s offense outgained the Wolf Pack’s 449-367. The difference was SJSU turning it over one more time than UNR. Spartans quarterback Nick Starkel returned to the lineup to throw three touchdowns on 21 of 40 passing.

San Diego State has gotten this far with its defense, and it had to carry the team once again on Saturday in its one-touchdown victory over the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in the Aloha State. The Aztecs had only 227 total yards, led by running back Greg Bell’s 77 on the ground and a touchdown, but the Aztecs’ defense forced two turnovers and held Hawaii’s running attack to 2.8 yards per carry.

We’re about to find out if it’s a good thing or not that Reno doesn’t run the ball. Strong’s arm carries the majority of UNR’s offense, accounting for 376.3 passing yards per game; the Wolf Pack only run for 70.3 yards per game. San Diego State’s defense gives up 208 yards through the air per game and has been a strong unit defending the pass; not as stout as stopping the run, but good enough to win these types of games.

Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener had some success with 306 yards and a touchdown, but what decided that game was Jordan Mimms running for 186 yards and two touchdowns. The defense is beatable, but Strong is going to have to play his best game.

Prediction


I do wonder if talented quarterbacks are a problem for this San Diego State defense. Fresno State’s offense is a different animal, and Haener has a much better arm than Strong, but the UNR quarterback is no slouch. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the line move down as the week goes, but San Diego State pulls it out in the end and gets a crucial victory. Fresno State by 5

Betting trends


Nevada is 3-0 ATS as a road dog this season.

UNR is 3-0 as a road dog of seven points or less this season.

UNR is 10-3 ATS in its last 13 following a game when it gains 100 rushing yards or less.

The under is 22-7 in San Diego State’s last 29 games.

San Diego State is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 after failing to cover the previous game.

Statistical leaders


Nevada:
Passing: Carson Strong -- 3,197 yards, 25 TD, 7 INT
Rushing: Toa Taua -- 527 yards, 4 TD
Receiving: Romeo Doubs -- 726 yards, 5 TD
Defense: Daiyan Henley -- 70 tackles, 4 INT

San Diego State:
Passing: Lucas Johnson -- 625 yards, 5 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Greg Bell -- 743 yards, 7 TD
Receiving: Daniel Bellinger -- 257 yards, 1 TD
Defense: Cameron Thomas -- 6.5 sacks

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

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

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