The New Mexico State Aggies will play host to the Wyoming Cowboys in one of two FBS matchups slated for Saturday, August 25th. Kickoff is set for 9:00 EST at Aggie Memorial Stadium and you can catch the action on ESPN2.
Oddsmakers currently have the Cowboys listed as either a 4 or 4.5 point favorite depending on where you shop at. The over/under right now is at 46 points. This line has moved quite a bit in favor of Wyoming, as it originally opened as a pick’em.
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New Mexico State vs Wyoming Vegas Game Preview & Betting Odds
New Mexico State will be heading into their 6th season under head coach Doug Martin and looking to build on a very successful 2017 campaign. The Aggies went 6-6 in the regular season and would go on to defeat Utah State 26-20 in the Arizona Bowl to end the year at 7-6. It was New Mexico State’s first bowl appearance since 1960, snapping the longest bowl drought in the FBS (56 years).
There’s reason to be optimistic in Las Cruces, as the Aggies will get back 15 starters from last year’s team. However, the schedule does get a lot tougher, as New Mexico State left the Sun Belt to become an Independent.
Wyoming was on the radar of a lot of people last year and that was a direct result of all the hype surrounding quarterback Josh Allen, who several NFL Draft experts had going in the Top 10. Not to mention Wyoming was coming off a surprising 2016 season, where they came out of nowhere to win the Mountain Division and play in the MWC title game.
While it wasn’t quite the season that some were hoping for, Wyoming ended up a respectable 8-5. Two of those losses were against Power 5 teams (Iowa & Oregon) and two others were against the two teams who met in the MWC Championship Game (Boise St & Fresno St). The only bad loss came in the regular-season finale, where they lost at San Jose State as a 18-point favorite.
With Allen no longer in town, there’s not near the buzz around this team going into 2018. On the bright side, Wyoming be one of the most experienced teams in the entire country, as they bring back 17 starters (9 offense, 8 defense) from last year’s squad. This will be the Cowboy’s 5th season under head coach Craig Bohl.
Free College Football Betting Pick & Prediction: Under 46
If I had to take a side in this fight, I would lean towards laying the points with Wyoming, but I just don’t feel overly confident with the Cowboys laying points on the road (1-4 ATS as a road favorite last two years).
The good news is I do think there’s some decent value with the UNDER at 46, as I really like what I see on the defensive side of the ball for both teams.
New Mexico State has 9 starters back from a defense that only gave up 29.7 ppg and 401 ypg last year. It continued a remarkable turnaround under defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani. In his first year on the job (2016) he took over a defense that had just allowed 45 ppg and 522 ypg the previous year to only giving up 38.8 ppg and 497 ypg. With all the talent coming back, there’s no reason to think the numbers won’t continue to improve in 2018.
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As for Wyoming, their defense carried them in 2017. The Cowboys went from giving up 34.1 ppg in 2016 to only allowing 17.5 ppg in 2017. Not only do they have 8 starters back on this side of the ball, but are loaded with juniors and seniors, making them one of the more experienced defenses in the country.
You also have to factor in the transition that both teams are going through at quarterback. Everyone knows the kind of talent Allen was and early reports indicate that red-shirt freshman Tyler Bander Waal is the favorite to win the job. Regardless of who ends up starting, I would be shocked if they came in and tore it up on the road against a caliber a defense like New Mexico State.
As for the Aggies, they got their own hole to fill at quarterback with the departure of Tyler Rogers. He was a difference maker for that offense in 2017. He completed 62% of his passes for more than 4,000 yards with a solid 27-18 TD-INT ratio. He also had 7 rushing touchdowns. Not only does New Mexico State lose Rogers, but they also lose their top wide out and dynamic running back.
Another factor here is coaching. I have a ton of respect for both Martin and Bohl. I’m confident both of these teams will be well prepared for this contest and wouldn’t be shocked if both sides failed to reach 20 points.