The New Mexico State Aggies hope to qualify for a bowl game in their season finale as they host the South Alabama Jaguars. Kickoff is set for 4:30 EST on Saturday, December 2 at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Fans can watch the game on ESPN3.
Oddsmakers list the Aggies as 10-point favorites at home. However, New Mexico State opened as 7.5-point favorites, so early betting has been in their favor. The over/under for the game is set at 54 points. Click here to check out a full list of Week 14 betting odds and links to game previews.
South Alabama vs New Mexico State Vegas Odds & Game Preview
This has been a rollercoaster season for the Aggies, who have yet to win back-to-back games. But that’s exactly what they’ll need to do to get to a bowl game. NMSU beat Idaho last week to improve to 5-6 and keep their bowl hopes alive. But they need one more win to finish the job.
The Aggies haven’t been to a bowl game since 1960, the longest bowl drought of any FBS program. Needless to say, this game is massive for the program and head coach Doug Martin, who is just 15-44 as he finishes his fourth season in Las Cruces.
The Jaguars, meanwhile, are moving in the opposite direction. South Alabama had gone bowling two of the last three seasons. But there’s no hope of that this year, as their 52-0 loss to Georgia Southern dropped the Jaguars to 4-7 on the year.
After the loss to Georgia Southern, head coach Joey Jones announced he would resign following the season. Jones is the only head coach South Alabama has known, only starting play in 2009. This is definitely the end of an era for the Jaguars, who are about to enter a period of great uncertainty without Jones at the helm.
Free NCAAF Betting Prediction: South Alabama +10
New Mexico State has a lot riding on this game, but I’m going to take the team with nothing to lose. Knowing that their head coach will be coaching his final game, I expect the Jaguars to leave everything they have on the field. The South Alabama players definitely want to send Jones out with a win. Even if they don’t get it, I think they’ll at least beat the 10-point spread.
Even if you remove all the emotions, New Mexico State isn’t that much better than South Alabama. Both teams are 3-4 in Sun Belt play heading into this game. Also, the Aggies have only won one game by more than 10 points this season, and that was against a 0-12 UTEP team.
Click on the link for more free NCAA football picks against the spread and total.
The Aggies aren’t exactly a juggernaut that blows teams out. To be fair, they have one of the top passing attacks in the country. Quarterback Tyler Rogers has well over 3,000 yards and 24 touchdowns passing this season. But he’s also thrown 15 interceptions and missed last week’s game with a shoulder injury. He has his flaws and may not be fully healthy for this game.
The NMSU defense isn’t all that impressive either. Outside of UTEP and Idaho, every team has scored at least 27 points against the Aggies this season. If that trend continues, New Mexico State will have to score close to 40 points in order to cover the spread. It’s not impossible but it’s tough to expect it to happen.
For South Alabama, three of their four losses in Sun Belt play have come by single digits. The Jaguars are used to playing close games, and I’m not going to put much stock in their blowout loss against Georgia Souther’s option offense. In fact, South Alabama beat both Troy and Arkansas State, handing each of those teams their only loss in conference play, so this team’s capable of beating quality teams.
Ultimately, there’s not much to separate these two teams. With the Jaguars wanting to bid their coach a fond farewell, they’ll come to play. Meanwhile, I can see the pressure of a 57-year bowl drought getting to the Aggies. With 10 points to spare, I’ll take my chances with South Alabama.