UMass vs New Mexico State Odds & Prediction | How to Bet Week 0 Matchup

UMass vs New Mexico State Odds & Prediction | How to Bet Week 0 Matchup article feature image

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyler Rudolph (left) and Gerrell Johnson (right) of the UMass Minutemen.

UMass vs New Mexico State Odds

Saturday, Aug 26
7:00 p.m. ET
UMass Odds
-115o / -105u
New Mexico State Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

For the third straight season, UMass will take on New Mexico State in a non-conference matchup with this one kicking off the season for both teams.

The Aggies have taken the first two, but there's a hint of optimism around the Minutemen for the first time in a long time. However, this is still a far cry from the team that won the FCS National Championship 25 years ago.

In order to avoid that third consecutive loss, they will need to end a current 24-game road losing streak.

Let's take a closer look at each team and then identify where I see betting value.

Massachusetts Minutemen

UMass has fielded one of the worst FBS teams since returning to this level in 2011, especially in recent years.

The Minutemen have failed to win more than one game in each of the past four seasons, compiling a total record of 3-37. Over that span, they actually have more losses against FCS teams (three) than they do FBS wins (Akron, UConn).

However, things look a bit different this year in Hadley because of the quarterback position. Head coach Don Brown brought in Taisun Phommachanh from the transfer portal after previous stops at Clemson and Georgia Tech.

The former highly-touted recruit serves as a significant upgrade in talent at quarterback — a position that UMass hasn't solved in years. In 2022, three different quarterbacks combined to only throw four touchdowns to 14 interceptions.

Additionally, Brown brought in a couple of Power 5 transfers at wide receiver, including one with previous starts at Miami. Throw in the fact that the offensive line is now full of experience after getting thrown into the fire as underclassmen, and this offense finally has signs of life.

Plus, if the offense improves even by just a little bit, that will certainly help a defense that showed improvement last year but just never got a rest from the anemic offense.

Look, UMass is still bad. Very bad. However, a talented quarterback and group of receivers can certainly help it become much more competitive this season.

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New Mexico State Aggies

You have to give head coach Jerry Kill a lot of credit for getting the Aggies to a bowl in his first season. After starting 0-4, they won six of their final eight games, capped off by a victory in that aforementioned bowl over Bowling Green.

Starting quarterback Diego Pavia, who showed progress as the season went on, returns under center to lead a run-first offense that isn't going to light up many scoreboards.

However, it's the defense that has more concerns after losing some key pieces on the back end.

That was the strength of the team last year, and there are quite a few positions I’m concerned about. With a very limited offense already in place, any drop in defensive efficiency would cause major issues.

To me, this is a bottom-three team from a power ratings perspective. Don’t be fooled by last years seven-win campaign.

UMass vs New Mexico State

Betting Pick & Prediction

Call me crazy, but I love the Minutemen here. If you look back at last year's late-October meeting, New Mexico State closed as a one-point favorite. Since that point, New Mexico State has gotten worse from a roster perspective with the loss of key defenders.

Meanwhile, UMass significantly improved its roster, specifically from an offensive perspective. I just don't see that much of a difference between these two teams overall.

Ultimately, I believe New Mexico State has received an artificial bump in the market due to the way it closed last season. However, if you take a look under the hood, the Aggies certainly got a bit fortunate. Just take a look at their seven victories:

  • Hawaii (complete rebuild)
  • New Mexico
  • UMass
  • Lamar
  • Liberty
  • Valparaiso
  • Bowling Green

That has to be the worst group of wins I've ever seen for a bowl team. To boot, they played a Liberty team that quit on the season the week after the Hugh Freeze rumors broke. As a result, the Aggies added a game with lowly Valpo to reach bowl eligibility.

Further, against the FCS teams and the corpse of Liberty, Pavia totaled nine touchdowns and no interceptions. In all other action, those numbers drop to four touchdowns and six interceptions.

This is still an extremely limited offense, especially from a passing perspective, and the defense should take a step back.

Maybe I'll end up with egg on my face, but it won't be the first or last time that happens backing UMass. I just show too much value on the road dog here to pass up.

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