Ohio vs San Diego State Prediction & Picks: Back Bobcats for Road Upset?

Eddie Griffin

Written by: Eddie Griffin

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Ohio vs San Diego State Prediction & Picks: Back Bobcats for road upset? cover


College football returns on Saturday, and of the seven games on the Week Zero schedule, the most intriguing matchup sees Ohio visit San Diego State.

Last season, the Bobcats won 10 games for just the fourth time in school history, led by one of the most potent offenses in the Group of Five. With the centerpieces of that offense back, the Bobcats are expected to finish atop the Mid-American Conference’s East Division again.

But before they get into conference play, they have a challenging non-conference schedule. It begins Saturday with a tough contest at San Diego State and also features games against FAU (away) and Iowa State (home).

In each of the three seasons of Brady Hoke’s second stint as head coach, the Aztecs have had one of the nation’s better defenses. At the same time, however, offensive success has been a major challenge.

But with an experienced quarterback and former SDSU quarterback Ryan Lindley taking over as offensive coordinator, will we see results change for the Aztecs on that side of the ball this season? The opener against the Bobcats will be a good litmus test.

Ohio vs San Diego State Odds

Odds are via Bovada.

Ohio vs San Diego State Early Odds


  • Ohio +2.5 (-105)
  • San Diego State -2.5 (-115)


  • Over 49 (-110)
  • Under 49 (-110)


  • Ohio +115
  • San Diego State -135

Ohio vs San Diego State Gameday Odds


  • Ohio +2.5 (-105)
  • San Diego State -2.5 (-115)


  • Over 48 (-110)
  • Under 48 (-110)


  • Ohio +115
  • San Diego State -135

Ohio Looks to Make Early Statement in San Diego

Sieh Bangura running Ohio San Diego State odds prediction picks below H3

At the center of Ohio’s hopes and dreams for the 2023 season is senior quarterback Kurtis “The Maple Missile” Rourke.

Last season, Rourke completed 69.1% of his passes and threw for 3,256 yards and 25 touchdowns, with only four interceptions. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL in the next-to-last regular season game against Ball State.

At the time, Rourke was on track to set new single-season school records for passing yards and touchdown passes. Entering this season, he has a chance to break the school’s career records for passing yards and touchdown passes, which are 3,667 yards and 29 touchdowns away.

In addition to Rourke, the Bobcats also return leading rusher Sieh Bangura (1,078 rushing yards, 15 total touchdowns) and three receivers who combined for 165 catches and over 2,200 yards in Sam Wiglusz (73 catches, 877 yards, 11 TD), Jacoby Jones (45 catches, 776 yards, 6 TD), and Miles Cross (47 catches, 560 yards, 3 TD).

That will be a lot for the MAC to contend with this season, and it’s why they are the preseason pick to repeat in the MAC East and earn a championship game rematch with Toledo.

It will also be a lot for San Diego State to contend with, but defense has been the Aztecs’ calling card under Hoke and should continue to be.

Last season, SDSU finished 16th in FBS in total defense (322.7 YPG), 19th in scoring defense (20.5 PPG), and third in red zone defense.

They lost their three starting defensive linemen, but six starters return, including cornerbacks Dallas Branch and Dez Malone, each of whom had three interceptions last season. The Aztecs also added New Mexico transfer linebacker Cody Moon, who had 105 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks in 2022.

Will SDSU Build Off of Improved Results with Mayden?

Jalen Mayden throwing football Ohio San Diego State odds prediction picks below H3

Whether or not San Diego State can contend for the Mountain West title will depend on the offense producing enough to back up the defense’s efforts.

Last season, SDSU finished 114th in total offense (324.9 YPG), 108th in scoring offense (21.5 PPG), and tied for 118th in giveaways (25).

But with QB Jalen Mayden cementing himself as the starter after beginning the season at safety, the Aztecs went from averaging 14.3 PPG and 200.7 YPG in their first four games against FBS competition to averaging 23.0 PPG and 366.7 yards over their final eight games.

That is some positive momentum to carry into this season, with Mayden back and Lindley now offensive coordinator in addition to remaining quarterbacks coach.

They will face some tough defenses in the Mountain West, but Saturday’s season opener will be a good indication of what to expect from the Aztecs on offense this season.

In 2022, Ohio had the most porous defense in the MAC, allowing an average of 437.4 yards per game. The year prior, they allowed an average of 432.3 yards per game, which was ninth in the MAC.

Even if that unit is better, San Diego State should not struggle offensively against the Bobcats.

Ohio vs San Diego State Prediction and Picks

Ohio vs San Diego State Picks: San Diego State -2.5 & Ohio/San Diego State over 49

The Bobcats will have a great year, and it was difficult to pick against them here. But San Diego State should be able to move the ball well and put up enough points to successfully defend their home turf to open the season.

Where to Bet on College Football

Most top online sportsbooks offer a wide variety of college football odds throughout the season. In addition to being able to make weekly college football picks all the way from Week Zero to the College Football Playoff National Championship, you can also bet on Heisman Trophy odds, conference championship odds, win totals, and much more.

Along with Bovada, where the odds in this article are from, there are plenty of sports betting sites you can choose from that are good for college football betting. The above books are some of the others that we highly recommend.

If you don’t have an account at a book on this list, check out our reviews to help you determine if it is worth your interest and your betting funds.

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Eddie Griffin
Eddie Griffin

Eddie Griffin has been writing about and betting on sports for over a decade and has been with Betting News since 2021. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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