NCAAF Odds, Picks for New Mexico State vs. Liberty
Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images. Pictured: Diego Pavia (New Mexico State)
New Mexico State vs. Liberty Odds
Liberty hosts New Mexico State as both schools make their Conference USA debut.
The Jamey Chadwell era got off to a winning start last week as Liberty won — and covered the spread — against Bowling Green.
Meanwhile, the Aggies responded to their Week 0 loss to UMass with a dominating victory over Western Illinois.
These C-USA newcomers are looking to make a splash, which makes this a very important contest for both programs.
You could argue that no team had as big of a turnaround last season as New Mexico State, which is under the leadership of veteran coach Jerry Kill.
After a 1-5 start, the Aggies rattled off six wins in their final seven games, including a 49-14 victory over Liberty in late November.
That momentum came to a halt in the nationally-televised Week 0 opener, when NMSU lost at home to UMass.
With Diego Pavia back at quarterback, I expect New Mexico State to get back on track.
After Hugh Freeze's departure, everyone wondered who Liberty would hire.
Well, Chadwell was a great hire. He's been successful nearly everywhere he's been, and he built the Chanticleers into one of the top G5 programs in the country.
However, there's one trend that sticks out from the various stops in his career. His teams typically struggle in his first season.
Chadwell's teams average 4.5 wins per year in his first year at a school, but average nine wins in every other season.
New Mexico State vs Liberty
Betting Pick & Prediction
When I dive into this game, I have to start by saying I was lower than the market on Liberty coming into the season. Chadwell was a great hire, but he's still a downgrade from Freeze.
Chadwell is also tasked with replacing the team's leading rusher, three of its top-four receivers and eight of its top-11 tacklers.
With all of that change — and a spread over two scores — this number simply seems too big.
So, my best bet is to back the Aggies at +10.5. I'd play that to a flat 10.
Liberty closed as an eight-point favorite last week against Bowling Green, a team NMSU beat a year ago in its bowl game. The Flames also struggled to cover the spread in a game where they won the turnover margin by four.
Yes, Pavia and New Mexico State can be turnover prone, but I believe they'll do enough to stay inside the number here.
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