It speaks volumes about how much depth the Mountain West Conference has that a team like Fresno State can’t even break into the top half of the league or the NCAA picture. Instead, it’s San Diego State that’s trying to hold on to its position and lock up a spot in the field, and it’s in good position to do so after winning seven of its past eight and going 5-0 ATS in its past five games. As usual, the Aztecs have been winning with defense, which means this game with Fresno projects to be something of a rock fight.
That’s because these teams are as defensive as it gets. Both rank outside the top 300 in points per game, but San Diego State brings the No. 2 defense to the table, and Fresno State counters at No. 3. When these teams played in Fresno, the Bulldogs managed a mere 44 points, and the teams combined for fewer than 100 shots for the game. Any time you get that paltry number of attempts from the field, it means either the officials were whistle-happy or the teams slowed the game down. With these teas, it’s definitely the latter.
Fresno State Bulldogs vs. San Diego State Aztecs Betting Analysis
Opening Betting Odds and Lines
Fresno State Bulldogs
San Diego State
(18-10 SU, 15-11-1 ATS)
(19-7 SU, 15-11 ATS)
When: 11 p.m., Thursday, March 3rd Where: Viejas Arena, San Diego
Betting the Total
It’s rare that you see a total this low. It’s even rarer that actually betting the under on that total might prove to be a good idea. But that’s what we’ve got here, as neither team is going to be rushed into anything in this game. There probably won’t be a ton of attempts from the free-throw line, and the only real danger to a low-scoring game would be San Diego State’s 3-point shooting.
The Aztecs rode Matt Bradley’s 3-point shooting to 30 points against Wyoming and shot 55% from behind the arc the last time they took the court. But Fresno plays better defense than Wyoming, and Bradley probably won’t get quite that hot again here.
I recommend backing Under 116 points.
Backing the Spread
A lack of offense has really made Fresno State a bad bet, as the Bulldogs have just one cover in their past six games. The only times that the Bulldogs have covered in their past 10 (3-7 ATS) saw them top 70 points, and that’s not likely to occur against San Diego State’s defense-first approach. The Aztecs have only allowed two teams — Utah State and Michigan — to hit 70 points against them all season, and those were in two of the most intimidating environments in college basketball.
This will be a friendly home crowd against a team that doesn’t score a lot under the best of circumstances. This will be far from the best of circumstances for Fresno State, which is quickly seeing its postseason hopes fade away.
San Diego State is both the more talented team and the team that needs this game more, so I recommend San Diego State -8.
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