San Diego State vs New Mexico Odds & Prediction: Bet the Underdog in MWC Title Game

San Diego State vs New Mexico Odds & Prediction: Bet the Underdog in MWC Title Game article feature image
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Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: New Mexico’s Jaelen House.

  • The San Diego State Aztecs meet the New Mexico Lobos in the Mountain West Tournament Championship on Saturday, March 15 at 6 p.m. ET on CBS.
  • SDSU enters this title game as a -2 favorite, as the over/under sits at 141.5.
  • Check out our full San Diego State vs New Mexico betting preview and prediction for the Mountain West title game below.

San Diego State Aztecs vs New Mexico Lobos Odds

Saturday, March 16
6 p.m. ET
CBS
San Diego State Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-2
-110
141.5
-110o / -110u
-130
New Mexico Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+2
-110
141.5
-110o / -110u
+110
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAB odds here.

San Diego State will try to win its third Mountain West Tournament title in four years on Saturday, as the No. 5 seed Aztecs play the No. 6 seed New Mexico Lobos.

New Mexico entered this week squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble, but consecutive wins over tournament teams in Boise State and Colorado State should alleviate any bubble concerns for Richard Pitino's squad.

If the Lobos win tonight, they'd avoid Dayton altogether and a potential play-in by being the league's automatic qualifier. A loss could put them in the First Four on Tuesday or Wednesday depending on the committee's view.

Parity has always been the defining feature in this league, but it shouldn't be a surprise that New Mexico and SDSU, the two highest-rated teams by KenPom, found their way into the title game. Its seeding suggested otherwise, but New Mexico was priced pre-tournament right near Nevada and Boise despite having to win an extra game.

There's some potential fatigue for New Mexico playing its fourth game in four days, but the Lobos generally match up well with SDSU and did have some success in the last two years against them.

The Aztecs enter as 2.5-point favorites, but the Lobos shouldn't be much worse than a coin-flip given the matchup and quality of the two teams.


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San Diego State Aztecs

San Diego State roared back from a 17-point first-half deficit against Utah State on Friday night to book its spot in the final. Immediately after conceding a 22-2 run, the Aztecs went on a 15-2 run to claw back into the game and then used a 16-3 second-half run to pull away from the Aggies.

Utah State's lack of rim defense has been a problem against teams with superior athleticism all year long, and that was evident in Friday night's SDSU win.

The Aggies were a poor matchup against SDSU because they rely on using their wings and forwards to score over and over again at the basket. When facing the best rim defense in the MWC in SDSU, it's hard to consistently score.

New Mexico's backcourt has three players who can score and get to any spot on the court, which is the best way to break down an elite Aztec defense.

These two teams played twice in the regular season, with each squad winning on its home floor.

The Lobos were dominant in transition and forced a ton of turnovers en route to their 18-point win at home, and the Aztecs smothered UNM in the rematch and won by 11 on their home floor.

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New Mexico Lobos

The biggest difference between the New Mexico team that fumbled down the stretch last year and faded in March and this year is defense. The Lobos actually have rim protection and rebounding ability this season, and while it's not necessarily the strength of the team, New Mexico ranks 48th nationally in near-proximity field-goal percentage allowed.

The Lobos' perimeter defense has improved as well because of the emergence of Donovan Dent in the backcourt. He grades out really well on the defensive end next to Jaelen House, and those two can cover up the deficiencies of Jamal Mashburn Jr. defensively.

While most of the forwards on the Lobos last season struggled to alter shots at the rim, that hasn't been the case this time around.

SDSU thrives on turning teams over and taking away the 3-point line by being one of the best perimeter defenses every year. It's also elite defensively at the rim. That's why New Mexico isn't a bad matchup.

Not only do the Lobos not turn the ball over because they have so many ball handlers, but they're not reliant on the 3. New Mexico shoots 3s at a pretty low rate nationally, which can hurt it when it falls behind, but shooting 3s to beat SDSU isn't a great strategy anyway.

The Lobos can use their midrange shot-making to hit the shots that Brian Dutcher's defense forces them to take.


San Diego State vs New Mexico

Betting Pick & Prediction

Only one team won at Viejas Arena last season when the Aztecs were national runner-up: New Mexico.

House and Mashburn scored a combined 51, and the rim defense held up just enough. Even the rematch in New Mexico was a toss-up.

The Lobos aren't overmatched physically here, and their improvements this year make them near a toss-up to win this game.

The Aztecs have started slow and trailed at halftime in both of their conference tournament games, but they won't be able to get away with that against a team closer to them in overall talent level.

I'd bet the Lobos at +2 or better in what projects as a coin-flip game on Saturday in Las Vegas.

Pick: New Mexico +2.5 (Play to +2)

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