San Diego State
Stanford went from being a popular road underdog at USC to being a road favorite that will take some convincing to back. San Diego State already knocked off a Pac-12 team, but beating Arizona State doesn’t mean as much these days. And so, the Cardinal are a -9.5 point road favorites at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
There are still a lot of questions surrounding both of these teams. Stanford destroyed Rice in its opener, but still has a long way to go after the performance against USC. It’s a similar situation for the Aztecs that are trying for yet another double-digit win season. They won at Arizona State last week, but the Sun Devils are projected near the bottom of the Pac-12 standings and the week before that, SDSU failed to cover against UC Davis.
While both of these teams have been in some higher scoring Games so far, this could be much lower scoring after the under was getting pounded earlier in the week with the total being at 45.5 on Tuesday. Stanford will hope to return to its roots through defense and a run Game and SDSU kind of wants to do the same thing.
For the Cardinal, Keller Chryst remains an issue at quarterback, completing 55.8% of his passes in the first two Games. They’ll continue to run through Bryce Love, who already has 340 yards on 11.3 yards per carry. The Aztecs just held ASU to 44 yards on 31 carries (sacks included), but it’s hard to compare ASU with Stanford. Expect plenty of work for Love, but it’s worth noting he still only has 30 touches in two Games with none of them being a reception.
The Aztecs have allowed most of their points through the air in the early Games and that could work in their favor as Chryst isn’t the type of quarterback to beat up defenses. Even in the huge win over Rice, Chryst had an underwhelming performance.
On the other side, SDSU takes a similar approach with Christian Chapman as he’s attempted 13 less passes than Chryst. Chapman has been slightly more efficient, but he also hasn’t faced a defense like that of USC yet. Similar to Love, Rashaad Penny has run through the first two opponents, already with 413 yards on 10.6 yards per carry. Playing at home, expect the Aztecs to ride with Penny early and hope he continues to find success.
It won’t be easy against this Cardinal defensive line, but it’s a wonder how good they really are after allowing 307 rushing yards to the Trojans last Game. While SDSU isn’t nearly at the same level as USC, there’s a possibility that Penny has another solid Game and surpasses 100 rushing yards again.
If Penny can find room, that’ll make things extremely difficult for Stanford to cover this Game. With the line almost at 10 points, that means Stanford has to get out to a quick lead and let its defense control things from there. If SDSU can stay close early, that will likely lead to a close Game throughout because Chryst isn’t going to open this Game up with his arm. San Diego St +8.5