Mountain West Clash: San Diego State at San Jose State

Oct 13, 2015

Nov 8, 2014; Fresno, CA, USA; San Jose State Spartans quarterback Joe Gray (6) throws a pass against the Fresno State Bulldogs during the fourth quarter at Bulldog Stadium. The Fresno State Bulldogs defeated the San Jose State Spartans 38-24. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

I pegged San Jose State as one of the most improved teams in college football entering the 2015 campaign with sixteen returning starters and a head coach who was entering his third season on the Spartans’ sidelines.  And, the Spartans have not disappointed, going 4-2 ATS against the Vegas number and helping sports bettors make a solid return on investment through their first six games.

San Jose State is averaging 30.5 points and 440 total yards per game at 6.1 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow 6.1 yards per play to a mediocre offensive squad.  However, the Spartans are 2-0 SU and ATS at home this season where they are averaging 46.0 points per game and 625 total yards at 5.2 yards per rush attempt, 11.6 yards per pass attempt and 7.4 yards per play.

The Spartans should have success moving the ball against an under-achieving San Diego State stop unit that has been mediocre at best this season, allowing 4.9 yards per play to teams that would combine to average 4.9 yards per play.  Surprisingly, the biggest weakness facing San Diego State is its secondary that is yielding 6.9 yards per pass play to a group of quarterbacks that would combine to average just 6.4 yards per pass attempt.

I had the Aztecs’ defensive backfield ranked #1 in the Mountain West Conference entering the 2015 season, but the loss of 11-game starter Trey Lomax (knee; out 4-6 weeks) has contributed to a grossly under-achieving unit.  San Jose State quarterback Kenny Potter has completed 67.4% of his pass attempts this season and has the opportunity to improve upon those numbers against the Aztecs Saturday night. Potter was signed by the Spartans after throwing for 4,534 yards (63.7%; 40-18) and rushing for 1,027 yards in two years at a junior college.

San Jose State’s weakness is its defense that is 0.3 yards per play worse than average (5.2 yards per play to teams that would combine to average 4.9 yards per play).  The good news for San Jose State investors is the fact that the the Aztecs arrive in town with an anemic offense that has been 0.5 yards per play worse than average (4.9 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow 5.4 yards per play).

San Diego State’s offense is one-dimensional due to an inept passing game that is averaging 151 yards per game at 6.6 yards per pass play (46.4%).  However, the Aztecs’ ground attack is nothing to write home about, averaging 4.0 yards per rush attempt against teams that would combine to allow 4.3 yards per rush attempt to a group of mediocre running backs.

With the favorite standing at 7-2 ATS in this series and the Spartans covering the point spread in four of their last 5 October games, lay the points with the modest home favorite looking to avenge last year’s 38-7 loss at San Diego State.