New Mexico State vs. Nevada, Odds, Pick, Preview: Can Aggies Cover Spread Against Wolf Pack?

New Mexico State vs. Nevada, Odds, Pick, Preview: Can Aggies Cover Spread Against Wolf Pack? article feature image
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  • Nevada hosts New Mexico State in a late-night, 10:30 p.m. ET game.
  • The Wolf Pack are coming off a big win over Boise State, while the Aggies have lost two straight.
  • Darin Gardner breaks down the matchup and provides his best bet.

New Mexico State vs. Nevada Odds

New Mexico State Odds +29 (-110)
Nevada Odds -29 (-110)
Moneyline N/A
Over/Under 65 (-105 / -115)
Time 10:30 p.m. ET
TV CBS Sports Network
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

New Mexico State didn’t play any games during the fall of 2020, but it did play two FCS opponents during the spring.

After getting blown out in one and winning another at the buzzer, many expected a horrible season out the Aggies during the fall of 2021.

The opener against UTEP didn’t do anything to dispel those opinions, but New Mexico State has rebounded. The Aggies have been competitive in multiple Mountain West games this season, including a six-point loss on the road at San Jose State last week as a 25-point underdog.

Meanwhile, Nevada is coming off a big road win at Boise State and is set up well in terms of the Mountain West Conference title race.

The defense still needs to improve, but the offense — led by an NFL draft prospect at quarterback in Carson Strong — has mostly played well early on in 2021.

After last week’s upset, can Nevada come back and cover this big spread at home against the Aggies?


New Mexico State vs. Nevada Betting Preview

Saturday, Oct. 9
10:30 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network

New Mexico State Aggies

New Mexico State Offense

New Mexico State’s offense got off to a slow start, but has shown improvement and actually had a good day against San Jose State last week.

Its 52% Success Rate in the game was well above the national average and it came against a defense that has been one of the best in the Mountain West this year.

In terms of expected points added, New Mexico State’s 0.249 EPA per play last Saturday ranked 16th among the 122 FBS offenses who played in Week 5.

At this point, the Aggies rank within the top 100 in terms of Success Rate on the ground and in the air.

The go-to receivers at this point have been Jared Wyatt and Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda, with Garcia-Castaneda being the more explosive option.

Wyatt has really come on over the past two weeks, hauling in 15-of-19 targets for 166 yards in those contests. Against FBS opponents, he’s received 42 targets in five games.

Garcia-Castenada provided a spark against San Jose State — seven catches for 106 yards — and is averaging over seven yards after the catch per reception, per PFF.


New Mexico State Defense

This defense has struggled overall, but it may be surprising to see that the Aggies currently rank 31st in Passing Success Rate. Allowing explosive plays in the passing game has been a problem, but just on a per-play, consistency basis, the Aggies have had some success.

Up front, the Aggies do seem to have a difference-maker in linebacker Chris Ojoh.

In six games, he’s racked up seven tackles for loss, four sacks and 14 pressures, which all lead the team. He’s just two tackles away from the team lead as well.

He plays all over the place on this defense, with 53 snaps on the defensive line, 134 in the box, plus 207 as a slot cornerback, per PFF.

He’s even performed well in coverage, as PFF has him allowing just 5.3 yards per attempt on passes thrown his way.

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Nevada Wolf Pack

Nevada Offense

The backbone of this Nevada offense is the Strong-to-Romeo Doubs connection.

However, Strong’s numbers aren’t quite as impressive as they were last year despite a schedule of opposing defenses that ranks just 72nd by my numbers. His 7.7 yards per attempt is tied for 60th in the country and his 74.0 PFF passing grade ranks 43rd.

We’ll see if his play picks up entering the bulk of the conference schedule, but the opening results haven’t been quite as good as expected.

Strong hasn’t been aided by the offensive line, though, considering its 28.6 PFF grade ranks 122nd in the nation. It allowed double-digit pressures to Cal and Kansas State, seven to Boise State and even FCS Idaho State had some success in Week 1.

The line is not getting a ton of push in the run game, either, as the Wolf Pack rank bottom-20 in EPA per carry.

Doubs has been a bright spot, though, as he’s hauled in 23 passes for 303 yards in four games. His best performance of the season came against Kansas State, where he brought in all seven of his targets for 121 yards.


Nevada Defense

Nevada’s defense has been a weakness so far, as its 2.7 points allowed per drive ranks 106th in the nation.

The unit got picked apart two games ago by Kansas State, allowing 6.5 yards per play in a game where the Wildcats started a backup quarterback and only threw 13 passes.

Defending the run game has definitely been the weak link of this unit, as it ranks 127th in the nation in yards before contact per attempt, per PFF, and 127th in Stuff Rate.

The defense had a good day last week against a Boise State team that has struggled to move the ball on the ground, but it was gashed by Kansas State and California.

It’s still a small sample since Nevada has played just three FBS games, but it’s something that could absolutely come into play in this matchup.


New Mexico State vs. Nevada Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how New Mexico State and Nevada match up statistically:

New Mexico State Offense vs. Nevada Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 93 99
Line Yards 102 3
Pass Success 62 67
Pass Blocking** 126 61
Big Play 122 61
Havoc 89
Finishing Drives 26 81
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Nevada Offense vs. New Mexico State Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 86 88
Line Yards 72 19
Pass Success 26 31
Pass Blocking** 116 129
Big Play 53 129
Havoc 20
Finishing Drives 62 120
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 128 111
PFF Coverage 129 58
Middle 8 112 21
SP+ Special Teams 113 61
Plays per Minute 34 61
Rush Rate 41.5% (123) 37.4% (127)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


New Mexico State has shown signs of life in recent weeks and is coming off a very solid offensive day against San Jose State. We can’t overreact too much to that game, but the Aggies may be able to move the ball against a defense that has struggled, especially against the run game.

Nevada’s offense sets up well against a struggling New Mexico State defense as well, but if it’s not able to get the run game going here, that will be a big-time red flag going forward. Although the passing game hasn’t quite lived up to expectations, it should have an improved day.

New Mexico State may be able to hang around for a while in this one, but Nevada should have little trouble riding this passing offense to its second straight Mountain West victory.


New Mexico State vs. Nevada Betting Pick

It all comes down to the number at the end of the day, and I see value on the underdog here. I’m not expecting Nevada to be too nervous throughout the game, but the number is high compared to my projection of Nevada -25.8.

This has been one-way action in the market this week, as New Mexico State opened as a 34.5-point underdog.  That has steadily gone down throughout the week, though.

As of now, the line currently sits at either 30.5 or 31, depending on the book. Getting this many points on the Aggies is a solid opportunity in my eyes, as New Mexico State will be trying to cover its second straight game with a big spread.

Pick: New Mexico State +31

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