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Ohio-San Diego State Pick & Prediction: Kurtis Rourke is Back, Baby (August 26)

In what should be one of the closer Week 0 games, the San Diego State Aztecs will host the Ohio Bobcats on Saturday. I’m expecting some fireworks from Ohio quarterback Kurtis Rourke. Every week, I’ll post my top college football picks by Monday and provide an update before each game — you can check out all of my college football Week 0 picks here. Let’s dig into today’s Ohio-San Diego State betting odds as we make our predictions and pick the best college football Week 0 bet!

Looking for more 2023 college football predictions? OddsShopper’s experts are here to break down this college football season — make sure to check out the rest of our college football articles, including our best bets for Week 0. If you still need more picks, our market-based betting model might just be for you– or try it out now!

Ohio-San Diego State Pick & Week 0 Betting Prediction

Ohio-San Diego State Betting Odds

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Ohio: +114 | San Diego State: -137
Ohio +2.5: -110 | San Diego State -2.5: -110
Over 48.5: -115 | Under 48.5: -105

Ohio-San Diego State Pick & Prediction

Although most games in the college football Week 0 slate feature a heavy favorite, two do not. One of them, Ohio-San Diego State, is one of my top college football betting targets on the board. We locked in a moneyline bet on the underdog in the early week column at an ever-so-slightly better price than the best one you’ll find now, which is why you should keep an eye on OddsShopper early in the week — or why you should subscribe to Insider Access, which gets you real-time access to my picks.

Saturday’s Ohio-San Diego State game will probably end up being the slate’s best contest. These teams are relatively evenly matched, which the spread suggests, but have quite different philosophies. The Ohio Bobcats have leaned on the passing game and the Rourke family, first Nathan Rourke (of CFL and preseason fame), now Kurtis Rourke. The younger Rourke ranked sixth in the FBS in passing efficiency last year before his season was cut short by an ACL tear. Ohio ended the season ranked 29th in yards per pass attempt (8.1) largely because of Rourke’s efforts.

While Ohio has been effective at passing the ball, the San Diego State Aztecs have been effective at shutting down opposing offenses. The Aztecs ranked 28th in passing yards allowed per game (204.8) and 23rd in yards allowed per pass attempt (6.5) last year. They also ranked a stingy 15th in yards allowed per play (4.8). But while the defense ranked a solid 45th in the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI), the offense was a putrid 123rd. The offense was so bad that defensive back Jalen Mayden had to take over at quarterback. SDSU ended the year ranked 100th in yards per play (4.9), but its run-heavy, slow-paced play was enough to help out the defense.

San Diego State’s offseason did some damage to the defense. Last year’s leading pass rusher, Jonah Tovai, is off for the NFL. He racked up 10.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss to go with a fumble. Linebacker Michael Shawcroft, who finished runner-up to Tovai in both metrics with 6.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss, is gone, too. Safety Patrick McMorris, who led the team in passes defended, left for Cal. He had intercepted five passes over the last two seasons and even scored a defensive touchdown. Shawcroft led the team in tackles last season, one spot ahead of McMorris. McMorris led the team in tackles in 2021.

There are some concerns surrounding Rourke’s availability and mobility, considering he tore his ACL last November, but he has officially been named the starter for Saturday’s game. The Bobcats were a 2.5-point to 3.5-point dog on Monday morning, but the market had settled at 2.5 before the early week column went up, which is precisely where it’s trading now. Trusting the Bobcats to pull off the upset at odds of +120 (45.5%) or better is my top college football Week 0 prediction — we got this at +125 (44.4%) then, but the current number at BetMGM is still a good wager.

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Ohio-San Diego State Week 0 Pick: Ohio Moneyline +120 at BetMGM

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Isaiah Sirois

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Isaiah Sirois

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