MWC Championship Game Predictions 2021 | Utah State vs San Diego State CFB Pick of the Day
In a battle of two state schools, we finally have our Mountain West Conference Championship decided.
In one corner, we have the No.19 San Diego State Aztecs, who posted an 11-1 record this season. However, they could be headed into this game with Jordon Brookshire at quarterback after Lucas Johnson suffered a knee injury in their matchup against Boise State. Still, the Aztecs have had a fantastic defense all year, allowing just over 17 points per game.
On the other side, Utah State has two key contributors on offense in wide receiver Deven Thompkins and quarterback Logan Bonner. Thompkins has seen nearly 140 targets to this point this season, with over 1,500 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. His quarterback, Bonner, has tossed 32 touchdown passes.
This is poised to be a classic defense versus offense matchup.
Let’s figure out where to bet money in this championship game.
All NCAAF gameday odds are courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook. All odds and lines are accurate as of 9 a.m. ET on November 29, 2021. All statistics are courtesy of Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
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Utah State vs San Diego State Prediction
While Utah State may have the offense that could give San Diego State fits, the Aztecs’ defense should ultimately win out.
San Diego State has numerous fantastic defensive players, including cornerback Tayler Hawkins, EDGE Cameron Thomas, defensive lineman Jonah Tavai, and more. Thomas has been an absolute force this season, racking up 12 sacks, 18 hits, and 42 hurries. Hawkins also has yet to allow a touchdown.
Should he line up against Thompkins, he will have his work cut out for him. Thompkins has been targeted downfield 20 yards or more on nearly 35 percent of his targets. He has accumulated nearly 850 receiving yards from these plays and has six touchdowns. The Aggies have some other fine weapons, but nothing that is on the level of Thompkins or close to it.
Between the pass rush and the emphasis on Thompkins in their defensive game plan, the Aztecs should be able to narrowly escape.
MWC Championship Prediction: San Diego State 24, Utah State 20
MWC Championship Game Best Bets
Best Bet: Utah State +5.5 (-110) at Caesars
The Aztecs may have a fantastic defense, but the offense leaves a lot to be desired. Plus, you have to factor in the idea that Brookshire could start.
Brookshire did well in relief of Johnson, but in four starts this season, Brookshire averaged just 132 passing yards per game with a total of two touchdowns and one interception. Needless to say, he’s hasn’t been asked to do much, but going up against an offense like Utah State may put the Aztecs in a position where they need to make big plays.
Fortunately for them, the defense is strong enough to hold Thompkins and the Aggies offense at bay, but it will be plenty closer than they’d like.
The Aztecs haven’t won by more than 11 since October 9, blowing out New Mexico.
Utah State may not be able to pull off the win, but they should cover this generous 5.5 figure.
Utah State to Cover +5.5 Spread @ San Diego State (CFB MWC Championship)
Bet $20, Payout $38
Best Bet: Utah State Moneyline (+190) at Caesars
This bet may be counterintuitive to the score prediction, but this is a strategy play.
To put this +190 line in perspective, San Diego State is -230 on the moneyline at Caesars.
With Brookshire at quarterback, and overall, an offense that isn’t exactly prolific, that is putting a lot of pressure on the defense to contain a Utah State offense that is without a doubt more potent than San Diego State.
Utah State may not have the defense the Aztecs have, but they still have some solid pieces, especially in the pass rush led by EDGE Nick Heninger.
There is definitely a scenario here where Utah State wins due to them being able to get out to an early lead on stellar defense and the Aztecs not being able to move the ball successfully on offense.
Again, my prediction is for the Aztecs, but +190 is lopsided, whether Brookshire or Johnson starts.
Utah State to Win @ San Diego State (CFB MWC Championship)
Bet $20, Payout $58
Best Bet: Under 50.5 (-110) at Caesars
Considering the lack of firepower from the Aztecs, mixed with their defensive prowess, this has all the makings of an Under, even at 50.5. Whenever you see a total like this in college football, it’s tempting to take the over, but the Aztecs haven’t had a game exceeding this total since September 25 against Towson.
Of course, the possibility exists that Utah State’s offense runs the show here, leading to a mini-shootout, but the Aztecs should be able to keep a lid on the offense fairly well. At the 20-point prediction, this already exceeds the average the Aztecs have surrendered per game.
With all of these factors, 50.5 is just a tough number to take the Over on, and whoever suits up at quarterback for the Aztecs doesn’t influence that.
Expect a hard-fought battle that will finish in the 40s in terms of a total.
Utah State @ San Diego State Under 50.5 Total Points Scored (CFB MWC Championship)
Bet $20, Payout $38
Thanks for reading our MWC Championship Predictions & Best Bets! For more CFB betting tips, check out our CFB Conference Championship Predictions.