No. 13 Stanford looks to avenge a 20-17 loss to San Diego State last season. Both sides return a ton of experience, which should allow for another tough, competitive battle. The over/under, and not the spread, holds the most betting value. Here’s why:
San Diego State at No. 13 Stanford (-14)
Opening Line: -15.5, Cardinal
Opening Total: 51
Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET, FS1
The line has moved to two touchdowns in favor of Stanford following a -15.5 initial offer. The Cardinal is seeing the majority of action, holding close to 59 percent of tickets as of August 29, but big money behind the Aztecs is causing the adjustment. The total is also in retreat from a 51 opener, down to 49 points. Public action and dollars are in unison here.
San Diego State Aztecs
2017 SU Record: 10-3
2017 ATS Record: 8-5
2017 Avg. Line: -10.5
San Diego State is no Mountain West pushover, one of seven schools in the country to play in a bowl game in each of the last eight years. Veteran head coach Rocky Long has led the program to 10-wins or more in three consecutive seasons, also one of seven nationally.
The streak appears bound to continue, at least on paper; Long returns 16 starters: seven on offense, seven on defense, and two kickers. The entire first-team O-line is back and QB Christian Chapman is one victory shy of becoming the winningest quarterback in program history. Stud running back Rashaad Penny is graduated, however, and the majority of playmakers are comprised of new faces.
The defense will have to shine to pull off another upset. San Diego State claimed a 20-17 victory as 9-point underdogs in Week 3 last season, holding the then-No. 19 Cardinal to just 80 passing yards on 10-of-21 tosses. The Aztecs controlled the ball for a whopping 41:14 minutes.
Why the unit will have to lead Long to another victory is based on history against ranked opponents. Under the veteran leader, San Diego State averages 20.7 points per game in seven matchups. On the road, the rate dips to 15.5. The UNDER is a perfect 4-0 in the latter scenario, staying 9.9 points shy of a 55.4 average total.
— Stanford Football (@StanfordFball) August 29, 2018
2017 SU Record: 9-5
2017 ATS Record: 7-7
2017 Avg. Line: -6.4
The Cardinal return 18 starters from a team that won seven of their final eight Pac-12 games en route to a division title for the fourth time in the last six years.
The offense rolls out arguably the best O-line in the nation, blocking for the current Heisman Trophy runner-up RB Bryce Love. The senior, who bypassed entering the NFL Draft, barreled for 19 TDs and 2,118 rushing yards in 2017.
The defensive line is the lone question mark for the team, after sending a pair (DT Harrison Phillips, DL Peter Kalambayi) to the NFL. The secondary is loaded with experience and should have its way with San Diego State’s young wideouts.
Head coach David Shaw has yet to lose a game as a home favorite hosting a non-conference opponent, going a perfect 12-0 SU and 6-6 ATS since 2011. Most betting covers have come against the poorest programs. Stanford is just 2-6 ATS facing foes posting four or more victories the prior year, failing to cover a -17.9 average line 4.4 points per game. Against all others, Shaw’s men are a perfect 4-0 SU and ATS.
Pick: UNDER 49
San Diego State will be lucky to score more than two touchdowns, but will not break from it’s game plan of attempting to control play and the clock. Both sides pound the run relentlessly. Time will wilt away. Projected score: Stanford 30-14