The last game scheduled to be played tonight will feature a Mountain West showdown between the SDSU Aztecs and Colorado State Rams. The Aztecs will be looking to avenge their first conference loss of the season, and we’ll break down the game before going over why I’m targeting a first-half bet.
Colorado State got off to a slow start in conference play, but in their last game, they were able to pick up a much-needed overtime victory on the road against UNLV. The lackluster start to conference play can’t be attributed to their offense, as the Rams are one of the better shooting teams in the country.
Entering tonight, they have the 17th-best effective field goal percentage in the country at 55.6%, and in the win, over UNLV, they shot 55% from the field and 44% from three. Much of their offensive success has stemmed from leading scorer Isaiah Stevens, averaging 18.8 points per game this season and coming off a 33-point performance in the Rams' last game.
Defense has been a much different story this season for the Rams and has led to them being ranked 217th in defensive efficiency rating according to KenPom, while also allowing opponents to shoot 36.3% from three this season. Their opponent tonight will pose another challenge, as the SDSU Aztecs are ranked 66th in offensive efficiency rating.
The Aztecs sit in second place in the conference, but their overall record this season is 13-4. Up until their first conference loss, the lowest shooting percentage the Aztecs had in a conference game was 48%, and leading scorer Matt Bradley has managed to shoot 40% and above from three-point range in four of the Aztecs' five conference games.
The strength of this SDSU team is ultimately still defense, as they currently have a defensive efficiency rating of 93.4, which is the 24th best in the country according to KenPom. They’ve managed to create an average of 15.2 turnovers per game, leading to an interesting match-up tonight against a Rams team that is only averaging 10.7 turnovers per game.
Despite their impressive start to the season, the Aztecs have been one of the worst ATS teams in the conference this season. However, there is still an angle in this game where they have value, and that is on the first-half spread. Currently, the Aztecs are -2 point favorites in the first half, and I’ll be taking that as my best bet for the game.
The Aztecs have played their best offense in the first half this season, averaging 36.2 points per game, which ranks 59th in the country. They also hold opponents to an average of 30.4 points in the first half this season.
Colorado State has been the opposite, as they have played consistently better in the second half of games this season and struggled in the first half. In fact, the Rams' first-half scoring average ranks 209th in the country this season.
In three of the five conference games the Aztecs have played so far, they have held a double-digit lead going into halftime, and I think their fast starts will continue tonight against the Rams.
San Diego State 1H (-2)