Auburn vs. New Mexico State Betting Guide: Letdown for SEC Champs in NCAA Tournament?

Auburn vs. New Mexico State Betting Guide: Letdown for SEC Champs in NCAA Tournament? article feature image
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USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Auburn Tigers guard Jared Harper (1), New Mexico State Aggies guard Terrell Brown (3).

#5 Auburn vs. #12 New Mexico State NCAA Tournament Betting Odds

  • Spread: Auburn -5.5
  • Over/Under: 146
  • Time: Thursday, 1:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: TNT
  • Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

>> All odds as of Wednesday evening. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.


A tremendous run through the SEC Tournament saw Auburn (18-15-1 against the spread) defeat several NCAA Tournament teams. Both No. 10 Florida and No. 2 Tennessee had to deal with Auburn’s suffocating pressure and no fear in jacking three pointers.

The Tigers have now won eight consecutive games, including 10 of their past 11. Auburn has been nothing but impressive since a 2-4 start to their SEC conference campaign.

Speaking of streaks, New Mexico State (17-15-1 ATS) has won 19 straight of its own. The Aggies have not lost a game since a trip to California Baptist on Jan. 3 and two of New Mexico State’s victories in the WAC Tournament were by 30-plus points. With the top ranking in Bench Minutes in the nation, this is a team with depth and athleticism.

Perimeter Defense a Must vs. Auburn

Auburn made 396 3-pointers this season, which led the NCAA. For any team to have a shot at beating the Tigers, perimeter defensive is imperative. Auburn is 27th in the nation in 3-point percentage and ranks seventh in depending on the deep ball for point distribution.

Against a strength of schedule of 239th, New Mexico State is just 104th in 3-point defense. New Mexico State ranks 332nd in average height, which should mean the Tigers will have open looks all afternoon.

Auburn also ranks first in the country in defensive turnovers. New Mexico State is middle of the pack at turning the ball over, but its safe to say a slate full of WAC opponents did not prepare the Aggies for Auburn’s pressure.

Auburn ranks 54th in average offensive possession length, meaning there is haste in every Tigers possession. The Aggies might feel they are playing at warp speed with a season-long rank of 278th in adjusted tempo.

How New Mexico State Pulls Off the Upset

The Aggies have become a public darling in this game against the SEC Tournament champs. New Mexico State does have impressive metrics, ranking top 10 in offensive rebounding percentage, opponents offensive boards, and 2-point field goal percentage. This is an excellent rebounding team.

A 3-point loss to Kansas on Dec. 8 will be firmly on the minds of bettors looking to back the underdog in this game, either ATS or on the moneyline.

A rebounding advantage should be key against Auburn, but with the number of 3-pointers attempted, it will be more about the effort in chasing down lose balls as opposed to traditional boxing out.

While the Aggies are not great at shooting the 3, they rank ninth in 2-point field goal percentage. The key to this game is slowing Auburn down, pounding the blocks for high percentage shots, and fetching every single rebound from a missed 3-point attempt.

The Pick

This is a spot where a letdown could happen after an impressive four-day run in the SEC Tournament. It’s safe to say that no team New Mexico State has played in the past three months can simulate what it will see with a hyperactive Auburn team.

There are plenty of advanced metrics supporting the love for New Mexico State, but these numbers were built through one of the easiest conferences in the nation. One statistic that may come into play is free throw percentage. New Mexico State is 293rd in the country in free throws.

In a game where New Mexico State needs Auburn to lack effort and miss 3-pointers, the Aggies must also make their free throws. The advanced stats say they will not be successful in these aspects.

Collin’s Pick: Auburn -5.5 up to -7

Our Projected Odds for Auburn vs. New Mexico State

Get point spreads for this game and every possible tournament matchup with our bracket simulator built by Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, a former oddsmaker and FantasyPros’ most accurate in-season fantasy football ranker from 2015-2017.

  • Spread: Auburn -8.5
  • Total: 142
  • Proj Score: Auburn 75.5 | New Mexico State 67
  • Win Probability: Auburn 81.7% | New Mexico State 18.3%

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game is from the individual writer and are based on his research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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