The San Diego State Aztecs and Buffalo Bulls have taken similar paths this season and will fittingly meet in Boise on December 21. Both teams got off to slow starts early in the season but found momentum and tore through conference play before having their hot streaks broken to end the season.
Buffalo opened as a two-point choice on the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl odds menu in this battle of 7-5 teams.
Point spread: Bulls opened as two-point favorites; the total was 52 in early bowl wagering. (Line updates and matchup report)
Odds Shark computer prediction: 34.1-22.4 Bulls
Why San Diego State can cover the spread
After getting off on the wrong foot at 0-3, the Aztecs finished the season 7-2, including an impressive overtime win over Boise State. Junior running back Adam Muema leads the way for San Diego State’s offense that averages 422 yards and 28 points per game. With a field-goal point spread, a close game can be expected.
And San Diego State’s experience in close games will help it in the waning moments. The Aztecs had eight games decided by a touchdown or less, including four that went to overtime. San Diego State finished with a 6-1-1 record against the spread in those close games.
Why Buffalo can cover the spread
Buffalo sputtered to start the year as well, with losses to Ohio State and Baylor. Considering both will be playing in BCS bowls, that rough start doesn’t look nearly as bad now. The Bulls’ defense, led by star linebacker Khalil Mack, grew into a dominant force from there. Buffalo won seven straight before a loss to Toledo and covered six in a row.
During that win streak, the defense allowed an average of merely 10 points per game. The Bulls match up well with San Diego State, and Khalil Mack will be getting to know Muema early and often.
While both teams enter the game with seven wins, the difference in the quality of the wins is considerable. Buffalo’s best resume builder is Connecticut, while San Diego State has victories over Boise State and San Jose State, while taking Fresno State to overtime. The Aztecs are used to much stiffer competition and have learned to win tight contests.
Buffalo’s games were decided by an average of 26 points and only had one game decided by fewer than 10 points. If this game comes down to the wire, you can feel confident the Aztecs will find a way to edge out the win.
The past two Potato Bowls played UNDER the total, and three of seven editions of this game (formerly the Humanitarian Bowl) were decided by a single point, according to the Potato Bowl odds history at Odds Shark.
- Both prior Potato Bowls played UNDER the total
- San Diego State is 1-2-1 ATS in bowls since 1998