College Football Odds, Picks for New Mexico State vs New Mexico

College Football Odds, Picks for New Mexico State vs New Mexico article feature image

Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images. Pictured: Danny Gonzales (New Mexico)

New Mexico State vs New Mexico Odds

Saturday, Sept. 16
8 p.m. ET
Mountain West Network
New Mexico State Odds
-110o / -110u
New Mexico Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

It's not the prettiest college football slate, but fortunately for all of us, Charles McNeil once invented the point spread.

Even with a lack of marquee matchups, there's winners to be found from noon until midnight that us bettors will enjoy sweating just like every other Saturday during the college football season.

That naturally brings us to the Battle of I-25 or the Rio Grande Rivalry between New Mexico and New Mexico State. Nothing embodies this week's slate more than this matchup on Mountain West Network, but I'll be glued to whatever channel that is on my television since I fancy a side.

Let's take a closer look at each team before breaking it down from a betting perspective.

Check out our NCAAF Betting Hub for more college football previews, predictions, news and analysis.

New Mexico State Aggies

To the surprise of many, New Mexico State shockingly found its way into a bowl game last season (which it won) after a late-season surge to get to seven wins.

However, most of that success can be attributed to a very soft schedule full of cupcakes, which I'll touch on later.

While the defense did carry the Aggies throughout the 2022 campaign, New Mexico State lost an abundance of production at linebacker and in the secondary. Therefore, most predicted a pretty steep drop-off, which we've seen so far in two games against FBS competition, with Liberty and UMass putting up 33 and 41, respectively.

And it's not like those are two of the most prolific offenses in the country.

As a result of the defensive departures, head coach Jerry Kill knew he'd have to get more from his anemic offense in his second season at the helm.

Quarterback Diego Pavia has outstanding elusiveness and can get the ball downfield, but he remains far too inconsistent in the accuracy department. He's also continued to show a propensity for turning the ball over against FBS competition, which has put the Aggies in tough spots the past two seasons.

I'm not expecting much from either side of the ball for the Aggies this season in what should be a long campaign despite a very favorable schedule.

New Mexico Lobos

New Mexico head coach Danny Gonzales certainly came into this season on the hot seat, as the Lobos continue to find wins hard to come by. In what some viewed as a last ditch Hail Mary, Gonzales brought in a new offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent from UAB.

Fortunately for Gonzales, Vincent also came along with quarterback Dylan Hopkins, who's thrown for over 5,000 yards in his four-year career. Hopkins, who I've always thought highly of, serves as a massive upgrade at the quarterback position for a team that's received almost no production in the passing game over the past few seasons.

Last year, New Mexico finished with the worst passing offense in the country and has only eclipsed 20 points once in the past 22 games against FBS foes.

With Hopkins running the run-heavy spread attack he's already familiar with, this offense actually has potential, with some intriguing options on the outside to boot.

It's too hard to tell where the offense stands after two games, since one came against a clearly superior Texas A&M bunch in a blowout loss and the other came against an overmatched FCS opponent in a blowout victory.

Regardless, the offense should look much better than last season, which isn't a high bar to clear.

While the offense had eight returning starters — plus Hopkins — the defense didn't have that same luxury headed into the season. With only two returning starters, this was basically a complete rebuild under new defensive coordinator Nate Dreiling.

Dreiling did serve as an assistant under the now-departed Rocky Long, so it should at least be a smooth schematic transition with Dreiling maintaining the same 3-3-5 principles. However, there's certainly going to be some growing pains with brand new personnel.

The Lobos will need a few transfers and freshmen to step up on this side of the ball or it could get ugly quick.

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New Mexico State vs. New Mexico

Matchup Analysis

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

New Mexico State Offense vs. New Mexico Defense
Rush Success397
Line Yards393
Pass Success7195
Finishing Drives71104
Quality Drives43103
New Mexico Offense vs. New Mexico State Defense
Rush Success9180
Line Yards9472
Pass Success24121
Finishing Drives39114
Quality Drives65116
Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling13149
PFF Coverage129106
Special Teams SP+79104
Middle 810228
Seconds per Play29.2 (100)32.7 (130)
Rush Rate57.9% (28)58.6% (31)

New Mexico State vs. New Mexico

Betting Pick & Prediction

Sorry if I sound like a broken record, but we're fading New Mexico State for a third time this season.

I've talked endlessly about how I believed the Aggies came into the season with an artificially high market rating due to a mostly fraudulent late-season run to get to a bowl, which they won against an awful Bowling Green squad.

Look no further than the seven opponents they defeated:

  • Hawaii
  • New Mexico
  • UMass
  • Lamar
  • Liberty
  • Valparaiso
  • Bowling Green

That has to be the saddest group of wins I've ever seen for a bowl team. Plus, Liberty never got off the bus after the Hugh Freeze rumors broke, and we all saw how that matchup played out last week. As a result, the Aggies added a game in lowly Valpo to reach bowl eligibility.

Well, nothing has changed my tune this season so far, and I don't think the market has corrected enough yet.

New Mexico State failed to cover against UMass and Liberty while putting up big numbers against a bad FCS squad.

That should sound familiar; over the past two seasons against FCS teams and the corpse of Liberty, NMSU quarterback Diego Pavia has totaled 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. In all other games, those numbers drop to eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

This offense remains extremely limited, especially from a passing perspective. Meanwhile, the defense has taken a monumental step back after losing key pieces on the backend.

While I'm not fond of New Mexico State's quarterback play, I do love New Mexico quarterback Hopkins, who brings some actual passing prowess to Albuquerque.

It's worth mentioning that New Mexico State head coach Kill might not be on the sidelines for this game due to a medical issue. That certainly throws a wrench into the preparation in a week that also featured the Aggies traveling back across the country.

It may also take away from some of the attention offensive coordinator Tim Beck can give to the game plan on that side of the ball, since he'll be running the day-to-day operations.

Look, these are two of the worst teams in the country, but I have New Mexico power-rated higher and I remain lower than the market on New Mexico State. Plus, in what projects as a close game, New Mexico should have the edge on special teams, which could make all of the difference.

Pick: New Mexico -1 (Play to -2.5)
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