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Southern Utah Thunderbirds at San Jose State Spartans Odds & Game Pick (2021)

by August 25, 2021
Nick Starkel

Since covering the FCS last season, it’s only right we start the season with a Week 0 matchup involving an FCS squad. In what’s the late game and final of the few we’re lucky enough to get in Week 0, the Southern Utah Thunderbirds will visit the San Jose State Spartans for a 10 pm EST kick.

Let’s look at two teams that had very different 2020’s but enter the 2021 campaign looking to make a statement start.

Bet $20, Win $100 if San Jose State Wins or Loses Against Southern Utah >>


  • Opening Line: San Jose State -21.5
  • Last meeting: September 18, 2010, SJSU 16 SUU 11


For the Southern Utah Thunderbirds, 2020 was a story of close but no cigar as they finished 1-5,  losing their five games by one possession. In fact, four of their losses were by a combined five points. Led by sophomore quarterback Justin Miller, the Thunderbirds run a balanced offense that does nothing great.

On the defensive side of the ball, La’akea Kaho’ohanohano-Davis is a defensive back turned linebacker who is the star of this defense and one of the best defensive players in the entire FCS. If the Thunderbirds have any chance of competing in this one, it stops and ends with Miller and Kaho’ohanohano-Davis having monster nights.

The SJSU Spartans come into this season on a decidedly different tone than their foe in this one. Despite having two games canceled because of COVID, the Spartans finished the season 7-1, scoring more than 30 points on the way to averaging 28.9 points per game. Former Texas A&M and Arkansas quarterback Nick Starkel helmed the Spartans offense to the best season of his career, throwing for 2,714 yards and 17 touchdowns in an abbreviated season at that. Not only does Starkel return, but so does 100% of line and rushing production around him.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Spartans return 100% of their sacks and interceptions and 93% of their tackles for loss. A keystone of this Spartans’ defense is their defensive line, which returns all three starters that jumped from 102nd to 11th, allowing just 3.2 yards per carry.


  • In 2020, San Jose State was 6-1-1 ATS and 1-7 on the O/U

Bottom Line 

Though the Spartans’ success and statistics are undoubtedly padded because they avoided Fresno State and out of conference foes last season, they still ran the gauntlet against the rest of their conference, going undefeated before losing their bowl game. While their true merit won’t be tested until Week 2 at USC, I do think they use this softball to go deep on their roster and let their tw0 and three-deep guys run this one up late.

Pick: San Jose State -22

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Johnny Perun is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Johnny, check out his archive and follow him @JohnnyCovers.

College Football, Picks