NCAAB Betting Guide for New Mexico vs. Air Force

NCAAB Betting Guide for New Mexico vs. Air Force article feature image
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Pictured: Jamal Mashburn Jr. #5 and Jaelen House #10 of the New Mexico Lobos. (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images)

New Mexico vs. Air Force Odds

Friday, Feb. 10
9 p.m. ET
FS1
New Mexico Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-7
-110
139
-110o / -110u
-320
Air Force Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+7
-110
139
-110o / -110u
+250
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

New Mexico has a chance to get back on track against an Air Force team that has been struggling in conference play.

The Lobos have lost back-to-back games for just the second time this season after falling to Utah State and Nevada last week. The Lobos dropped to 6-5 in the Mountain West standings and are a full four games back of first place San Diego State.

On the other side, Air Force hasn't won a game since it defeated Wyoming on January 17th. This drought has dropped the Falcons into a tie with Colorado State for second-to-last place in the Mountain West.

In the first matchup between these conference opponents, Jamal Mashburn Jr. scored 24 points and led the Lobos to a 81-73 victory.

SIX STRAIGHT 20-POINT GAMES FOR JAMAL MASHBURN, JR[ #GoLobos
📺 @CBSSportsNetpic.twitter.com/8grdlu8Gx2

— Lobo Basketball (@UNMLoboMBB) January 28, 2023

To see if the Lobos will extend Air Force's losing streak, let's take a look at the odds and make a prediction for New Mexico vs. Air Force.


New Mexico Lobos

After disappointing losses to Utah State and Nevada, New Mexico's hopes of winning the Mountain West are likely dashed. However, the Lobos still have a lot to play for in terms of seeding for the Mountain West Tournament.

Opportunities to improve their conference resume start Friday night when they take on an Air Force team that has been unable to find consistent success on either end of the floor.

Specifically, New Mexico's offense will have a very favorable matchup against an Air Force defense that ranks 187th in Adjusted Efficiency. The Falcons defense has fallen this low due to their inability to prevent penetration and defend without fouling.

Air Force's interior defense is giving up 56% of its baskets from 2-point range, the 30th-highest rate in the country. In addition, the Falcons allow their opponents to score 21.7% of their points from the charity stripe, which is 43rd nationally.

This poor interior defense will be tested against a New Mexico offense thriving on creating penetration. The Lobos score 57.3% of their points on the interior, and add 21.7% from the charity stripe. Both of these rates are inside the top-30 in the country.

This ability to get to the rim is orchestrated by point-guard Jaelen House, who is averaging 4.6 assists and 17.3 points per game.

Coast to Coast for Jaelen House! #GoLobos
📺@FS1pic.twitter.com/eKVofP3JdR

— Lobo Basketball (@UNMLoboMBB) February 8, 2023

Overall,  New Mexico ranks 37th nationally in near-proximity field-goal percentage, converting 64.95% of its layups, dunks and tip-ins. These high-percentage chances will come early and often against an Air Force defense that ranks 271st nationally in the same category.

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Air Force Falcons

The Falcons have lost six games in a row and show no signs of improving, particularly on the offensive end.

During this losing streak, Air Force is averaging just 57 points per game and is being outscored by an average of 15.2 points per game.

These poor offensive numbers stem from an Air Force offense that's unable to create penetration and settles for low-percentage shots from the perimeter. The Falcons attempt 46.1% of their field goals from beyond the arc (18th nationally) and are only converting 33.7% of these attempts in conference play.

Those outside shooting numbers will not see any progression against a New Mexico defense allowing the third-lowest 3-point percentage in the Mountain West (30.6%).

Head coach Joe Scott has built this Air Force offense on the concept of scoring off assists in the half court. The Falcons score 64.8% of their points off assists, the eighth-highest rate in the country. A majority of these assists come in the half court as the Falcons rank 351st nationally in adjusted tempo.

This slow and methodical offense is driven by point guard Ethan Taylor, who leads the team with 3.3 assists per game. Taylor will have his work cut out for him as he matches up with one of the Mountain West's best on-ball defenders in New Mexico's Jaelen House.

New Mexico's Jaelen House with 29, 4 steals in W at SDSU. 6-0 PG applies tons of pressure with speed in transition, quickness OTD, pesky D. Strong finisher for size (64%). Monster 5.2 STL%. Worth thinking about as change-of-pace spark. Needs to improve pullup but 48% catch-shoot. pic.twitter.com/iVTXzAmEhN

— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) January 19, 2023

New Mexico vs Air Force Betting Pick

New Mexico is coming off a crushing 77-76 loss to Nevada that likely closed the door on its Mountain West title hopes.

However, the Lobos have a perfect bounce-back opportunity against a struggling Air Force team.

I will gladly back this New Mexico offense to comfortably outpace an Air Force team that has been searching for answers on the offensive end for weeks.

Pick: New Mexico -6.5 | Play to -7.5

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