San Diego State vs New Mexico Odds & Picks: The ML Bet to Make

San Diego State vs New Mexico Odds & Picks: The ML Bet to Make article feature image

Pictured: Jamal Mashburn Jr. #5 and Jaelen House #10 of the New Mexico Lobos. (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images)

San Diego State vs New Mexico Odds

Saturday, Feb. 25
10 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
San Diego State Odds
-110o / -110u
New Mexico Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

New Mexico's recent slide has left it on the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble, and a win Saturday at home against San Diego State is about the only way for it to secure a statement win between now and the end of the regular season. It's nearing Mountain West Counference tournament or bust for the Lobos, who have dealt with key injuries and bad losses and are just 7-8 in conference play.

San Diego State, with a chance to clinch the league title, has two difficult road games coming. The Aztecs travel to The Pit on Saturday and follow that up with a trip to Boise State.

The Aztecs lost the first matchup between these teams and will be seeking revenge, but their performances on the road in league play have been questionable.

New Mexico has Jaelen House back and seemingly healthy, and he'll be the key if the Lobos want to pull off the upset as a short home underdog.

San Diego State Aztecs

A quick glance at the record and you would be quite impressed by the Aztecs' road play in conference. They've won six of seven road games in the MWC, with the only loss coming at Nevada in a game that was close until the final two minutes.

However, take a deeper look and you'll see SDSU has been rather mediocre on the road and has skated by with some very close victories.

The Aztecs have had a lot of excellent close game variance go their way in these matchups, but they are absolutely playing with fire on the road and have a very difficult road trip ahead on Saturday.

The offense has improved this season compared to last, but still goes through stretches where they're incapable of scoring and often become too reliant on Matt Bradley.

In order to slow down SDSU, teams must slow down Bradley, limit the pick-and-roll and take away isolation looks. The Lobos pick-and-roll defense is quite good this season as they rank in the 72nd percentile in ball-screen defense, per Synergy.

The Lobos have problems stopping isolation scorers, which means Bradley has the potential for a great game. That's no guarantee of success for Bradley though, who is often a streaky player. He shot just 5-of-16 from the field and had 14 points in the first meeting. The Lobos don't have a great defensive matchup for him, but they can exploit some matchups on the offensive end to win this game.

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New Mexico Lobos

New Mexico's guards caused major problems for the Aztecs defense in the first meeting and I think they can do so again in this game. Jamal Mashburn and House are elite off the dribble and when attacking downhill. In past seasons, it's been really difficult to score inside against the Aztecs. However, SDSU has slipped in that regard and can be exposed.

It isn't that Nathan Mensah has gotten worse in the middle, but SDSU allows way more dribble penetration than in past years. This is how Nevada beat SDSU and New Mexico's guards are even better at using their size and quickness to generate looks inside and from the mid-range.

New Mexico is also willing to run in transition. SDSU isn't a bad transition defense, but it's not where they are most comfortable. SDSU would prefer to play in the half-court and the Synergy data says its defense is considerably worse in transition than in the half-court.

San Diego State vs New Mexico Betting Pick

New Mexico entered conference play inflated in the market with its undefeated record on the line. That was the time to sell the Lobos and they have certainly regressed toward their true mean.

But I don't think they're as bad as they were in the past month, especially when House missed games due to injury. Some of it was opponents making a ton of 3s against them — Wyoming and Nevada — and the rest was some bad close-game variance.

Now as we near March, it's time to buy back in on the Lobos, starting Saturday as a home underdog. Mashburn and House have a solid matchup here as they combined for 51 in the first meeting and both shot over 50%.

In front of a raucous crowd at The Pit, I'd bet the Lobos at anything plus money.

Pick: New Mexico ML at +100 or Better

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