Fresno State Bulldogs (7-4) -13, 66.5 O/U at New Mexico State Aggies (4-8) +13, 66.5 O/U, Aggie Memorial Stadium, 8 PM Eastern, Friday
by Badger of Predictem.com
A Western Athletic Conference showdown between Fresno State and New Mexico State, which on paper doesnt look like much of a showdown at all, will be the feature game on this weeks ESPN Friday night NCAA football telecast.
Fresno State (7-4, 5-2 WAC) has been playing strong football lately, beating Kansas State 45-29 in a non-conference game last weekend, one week after taking undefeated and WAC leader Hawaii to the edge in a solid 37-30 loss.
New Mexico State (4-8, 1-6) is in the midst of a four game losing streak, with the latest loss being a 35-17 defeat at the hands of Utah State back on November 17th. If not for a victory at lowly Idaho back on October 20th, the Aggies would be on a longer losing streak as they have lost six of their last seven games on the schedule.
Oddsmakers opened the game with the Bulldogs as a 13-point favorite, with an over/under total of 66.5.
Offensively this game looks to be one of contrasting styles. Fresno State features one of the NCAAs best running attacks, while New Mexico State spreads the field for a little pitch-n-catch as one of the top passing offenses in the land.
Fresno State ranks 25th in the NCAA with 199.4 yards rushing per game, 57th in total yards at 411.1 per, and 35th overall by scoring 32.5 points per contest. The Bulldogs share the load too, as both Ryan Mathews (767 yards, 13 TDs) and Lonyae Miller (571 yards, 7 TD) get plenty of carries.
New Mexicos wide-open pass attack is 6th in the land with a whopping 347 yards per game, led by quarterback Chase Holbrook who has thrown for over 3,500 yards but just a 25-to-18 TD-to-Interception ratio. The Aggies are fairly one dimensional too, as their 438.2 yard total (37th) and 91.2 yards rushing per game (110th) would indicate. They also have trouble putting points on the board when the passing lanes close down near the end zone, as they only average 24.1 points a game (72nd).
Both teams are defensively challenged. Fresno State is ranked 77th overall and gives up 408.3 yards per game and 27.3 points per game (61st). New Mexico State is 95th overall giving up 426.8 yards per game and 36.8 points a game (109th). These stats are why the total is such a high number, as neither team really plays a lot of defense.
The Bulldogs are a decent 6-4 ATS this year, including covering the number two games in a row and four out of five times on the road. Fresno State has also gone over the total four out of five times on the road as well, with the only time they didn’t go over ironically being at Hawaii against the Rainbows high-powered offense.
The Aggies are 4-6 ATS this season, including failing to cover in three of the last four. They do seem to cover at home though, as they are 3-1 versus the number at home. As far as totals go, New Mexico State is right down the middle, going 5-5 overall and 2-2 in Aggie Memorial Stadium.
Fresno State has owned the head-to-head series too, beating the Aggies nine straight times SU, including a 23-18 decision last year and a 37-7 victory in 2005.
The line hasn’t moved at all from where it opened at (Fresno -13, 66.5 O/U), which is more of an indication that nobody is really interested in betting this game, than the fact that the numbers are correct.
Badgers Pick: My opinion of this game appears to be just like the public opinion on this game – who cares. Neither team is a strong moneymaker this year, and both struggle on defense, which means they are very unpredictable. If you must bet, take the hot team in Fresno State. The Bulldogs beat up on Kansas State last week and should be able to pour it on versus the Aggies. Go with Fresno minus the points.