I have been extremely impressed with what head coach Bob Davie has done in Albuquerque upon arriving in 2012. Davie had spent the prior ten years in the broadcast booth before returning to the collegiate ranks, and his decision to take over a New Mexico team that had compiled a 3-33 record the previous three seasons was certainly eye-opening.
However, Davie’s hire paid immediate dividends as the Lobos are once again competitive in the Mountain West Conference. Now, many will look at New Mexico’s 4-20 conference record over the last three years and question my sanity, but nine of those 20 losses were by seven points or less.
New Mexico has not had a winning season since 2007, averaging a pathetic 2.6 wins per year since that date. However, Davie welcomes back fourteen returning starters, including his best defensive front seven he’s had since arriving in 2012. New Mexico’s strength is its ground attack that is churning out 294 yards per game at 5.8 yards per rush attempt (8th nationally), and the Lobos have a perfect opponent in Nevada whose defense is yielding 188 rushing yards per game at 5.0 yards per rush play (101st nationally). Investing on college football underdogs with strong ground games like New Mexico against opponents with weak run defenses like the Wolf Pack is generally a recipe for success.
Nevada’s offense has been anemic to say the least, averaging 5.1 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow 5.9 yards per play. Being 0.8 yards per play worse than average offensively is not good enough to exploit a subpar New Mexico stop unit that is 0.2 yards per play worse than average (5.5 yards per play to teams that would combine to average 5.3 yards per play).
Nevada’s passing game is non-existent (1.5 yards per pass play worse than average) so the Wolf Pack won’t be able to take advantage of New Mexico’s defensive weakness – its secondary. In short, this game is a fundamental nightmare for Nevada and its coaching staff, and one has to wonder why the Lobos are getting points in this spot.
From a technical standpoint, Nevada is a money-burning 3-11 ATS in its last fourteen October games, 0-4 ATS in its last four home games and 3-10 ATS in its last thirteen games as a home favorite. Conversely, the Lobos are a profitable 9-3 ATS in their last twelve games as road underdogs and 12-3-1 ATS in its last sixteen conference road games, including 4-0 ATS off a win.
With New Mexico standing at 13-7-1 ATS on the road (6-1 ATS L/7), 6-1 ATS in its last seven conference games and 8-3 ATS in its last eleven games overall, take the Lobos plus the generous points as our free NCAA Football Best Bet and invest with confidence.
Oskeim Sports’ Free NCAA Football Best Bet: New Mexico (+5) (-110)