Air Force vs Utah State Odds, Picks and Predictions: Aggies Keep Falcons Grounded

Utah State faces a big spread to cover tonight, but our college basketball picks have doubts if Air Force can catch the conference's best team off guard tonight.

Mar 1, 2024 • 12:39 ET • 4 min read
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The Air Force Falcons take on the Utah State Aggies in Mountain West action on Friday night. The Mountain West is the best conference outside the Power Six in the country and Utah State has been the cream of the crop.

The Aggies have gone 12-1 at home, and with the struggling Falcons coming to town, college basketball odds have them installed as 16-point favorites. Will the Aggies cruise to victory, or can the Falcons play spoiler like they did on the road against New Mexico last weekend? I let you know with my best free college basketball picks and predictions for Air Force vs. Utah State on March 1. 

Air Force vs Utah State best odds

Air Force vs Utah State picks and predictions

This is a huge spread, but it's completely justified when you justify the massive disparity between these squads. The Utah State Aggies are tied for first place in the Mountain West with an 11-4 mark and boast an overall record of 23-5. The Air Force Falcons have gone just 2-16 straight up and 4-14 against the spread in their last 18 games.  

The Falcons were already crushed by the earlier Aggies this season, losing 88-60 at home. They've also lost by 18+ points to other conference foes like New Mexico, UNLV, and Boise State (twice). That said, since they're the worst team in the conference, opponents tend to overlook them, which occasionally leads to some surprising results. 

Even though they got clobbered by the Lobos and Rebels at home, they upset New Mexico as 18.5-point underdogs in The Pit last week, and shockingly beat UNLV by 32 points on the road. Will they be able to catch a superior team napping again today? Survey says: no. Keep in mind that the Aggies are coming off a road trip to Fresno State where they were pushed into overtime as 10.5-point road faves. Almost getting upset on Tuesday should ensure that they are dialed-in tonight. 

Air Force plays at an extremely slow tempo, but isn't able to slow down foes, ranking 111th in the country in average possession length on defense. The Falcons are 309th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency and rank 320th in opponent field goal percentage (46.8%). They should get torched by a Utah State squad that's 14th in the country with a 48.8 FG%, with that number bumping up to 52% at home.

The Aggies also don't attempt many shots from the perimeter (294th in the country in 3-point rate), which makes their offensive production less volatile. An offense like Utah State — which is extremely efficient in transition (fourth in efficiency per ShotQualityBets) and at attacking the rim (11th) while getting to the free throw line at a high rate — is less likely to get into scoring droughts. 

On the other side of the court, the Falcons shoot the ball well, but they're just 291st in the country in offensive rebounding rate and sit outside the Top 300 in turnover rate. The Aggies are first in the country in opponent 3-point percentage (28%) while ranking 29th in defensive rebounding rate, so expect them to pull away once the Falcons fall behind and resort to chucking threes to catch up. 

My best bet: Utah State -15.5 (-110 at FanDuel)

Air Force vs Utah State same-game parlay

Utah State -16

Over 138

Great Osobor Over 16.5 points

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The Aggies defend the 3-point line extremely well, but they're just 285th in opponent 2-point percentage (52.7%). If there's one thing the Falcons do well, it's shoot the ball inside the arc, ranking 68th in the country in 2PT% (53.4%). 

They also don't have a drop-off in offensive production in away games, which makes sense since they aren't affected by the high elevation of road venues at Albuquerque, Fort Collins, Laramie, or Logan. With a decent offense and a brutal defense, the Over is an incredible 16-3 in the Falcons' last 19 games. 

I'm expecting the Falcons defense to once again get torched tonight, which should mean plenty of points from Utah State's Great Osobor. Osobor leads the team with 17.9 points per game on 58.7% shooting, and he scored 32 points when these teams faced off earlier this season. The 6-foot-8, 250-pound big man is a mismatch for an Air Force frontcourt, whose biggest starter is just 6-foot-7 and 210 pounds.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Air Force vs Utah State spread and Over/Under analysis

This spread opened with Utah State at -16 with the Over at 139. As of 11 a.m. ET, the spread hasn't moved, but the total has ticked down to 138.

The Aggies are in the Top 50 in both adjusted offensive efficiency and adjusted defensive efficiency per KenPom. They're fresh off an overtime win against Fresno State but didn't come close to covering as double-digit favorites in that contest and are 2-4-1 ATS in their last seven games.

The Falcons are coming off a 31-point loss to Boise State on Tuesday, and they are just 1-8 SU and ATS in their last nine.

Air Force vs Utah State betting trend to know

The Aggies are 8-1 SU and ATS in the last nine meetings between these conference foes, with seven of those victories coming by at least 15 points. Find more college basketball betting trends for Air Force vs. Utah State.

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Air Force vs Utah State game info

Location: Dee Glen Smith Stadium, Logan, UT
Date: Friday, March 1, 2024
Tip-off: 11:00 p.m. ET
TV: FS1

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