Mountain West Week 4 Overview: Air Force to Fly High at Utah State

Tuesday, September 18, 2018 11:50 AM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2018 11:50 AM UTC

NCAAF handicapper Mark Lathrop is back with his preview of this week's Mountain West Conference football action. Let's see if he has found some hidden gems with this mid-major conference.

2018 NCAAF Record: 11-7, +6.92u
*Note: Record includes official Twitter selections (@mlathrop3)

MWC Spotlight: Air Force (1-1 SU) at Utah State (2-1 SU)Saturday, 10:15 p.m. ET (ESPN2)Free NCAAF Pick: Air Force +10.5Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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An important early game in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference kicks off Saturday night as the Utah State Aggies host the Air Force Falcons. Utah State was very solid in its first three games, and has taken its close loss to Michigan State as a source of confidence going forward. They went on to blow out New Mexico State and Tennessee Tech in their next two games by a combined score of 113-25. Utah State returned a ton of offensive starters from 2017, and ranked very high in adjusted pace last year. Scoring 113 points in two weeks has me thinking the trend has continued.

Air Force played Florida Atlantic very tough last week and covered as 7.5-point underdogs on the road. Their defense was not good last year, as they gave up 32.4 points per game. This early test against a very capable Utah State team will give us an indication if Air Force is a "bet on" team going forward. The defense will need it, too, as star QB Arion Worthman is dealing with an undisclosed injury and did not play against Florida Atlantic. These teams usually play competitive games, so I will grab the points with Air Force as my NCAAF pick here.

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Air Force travels to Logan, Utah, to take on Utah State - Air Force Academy https://t.co/ZJSt6v7pHQ

— Troy Garnhart (@USAFASID) September 17, 2018
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Around the Mountain West (All Games Saturday Unless Noted)

Nevada at Toledo (-10), noon ET, on CBSSN: Nevada comes off of a 37-35 win against Oregon State as a 4-point favorite, but in this game against Toledo they will face one of the more prolific offenses out there. The Rockets average 45 points per game and dropped 37 points on Nevada last season. Time of possession was also a factor in last year’s game, as Toledo held the ball for 40:14 on the road. Finding Toledo favored by under double digits is key here.

Illinois State at Colorado State (-5.5), 3 p.m. ET: Colorado State is a 5.5-point favorite at home against FCS Illinois State, but I’m looking at the total in this game sitting at 58. Illinois State is ranked 15th in the FCS and scores 47 points per game. We know of Colorado State’s defensive woes, so I’d lean toward the "over" in this one.

UNLV at Arkansas State (-7), 7 p.m. ET, on ESPN3: UNLV was projected to struggle on defense this year, but after their Week 1 whipping at the hands of USC their offense has bailed them out by scoring an average of 48 points per game. They’ll face an Arkansas State team giving up 407 yards per game this week, so the total sitting at 70 makes some sense. If it drops during the week it may make sense to take a nibble at the "over," but otherwise this game looks like a pass.

Eastern Michigan at San Diego State (-10.5), 10:30 p.m. ET, on CBSSN: San Diego State put a quick end to the hype surrounding Arizona State last week with a 28-21 outright win as a 5.5-point underdog. They’ll face an Eastern Michigan team giving up 5.9 yards per attempt on the ground this year. That will play right into San Diego State’s strengths.

Duquesne at Hawaii (-38), Sunday, 12 a.m. ET: I’ll be writing up this game later in the week, but right now Hawaii has been placed as 38-point favorites over visiting Duquesne. That side is wacky, but given the tempo Hawaii plays at I will be investigating the total for a possible "over" call.

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