College Football Odds & Preview -- New Mexico favored in Battle of I-25

  • In Charles Jay
  • Sat, Sep 16th, 2023 1:49:39 pm
  • By Charles Jay - Exclusive to OSGA

There are some very interesting storylines as the New Mexico Lobos play host to the New Mexico State Aggies in their annual rivalry game.

The New Mexico Lobos and New Mexico State Aggies have been playing football against each other since 1894. And they've been doing it ever since. BetOnline customers might know this now as the Battle of I-25, although admittedly there is not a lot of luster involved here.

On Saturday night they will play again, at University Stadium in Albuquerque. Kickoff time is 8 PM ET, and Live Betting is available on this game while it is in progress,.

New Mexico would love to get its program going back in the right direction under coach Danny Gonzalez. That is not going to be an easy undertaking, as the Lobos scored a total of 41 points over their last six games of the 2022 season. This included a 21-9 loss to the Aggies, who were on their way to playing in a bowl game for the second time since 1950.

New Mexico has not had a winning season since 2015. But the Aggies have gone in an opposite direction; they surged with five wins in their last six games in 2022 and were chosen to play in the Quick Lane Bowl, where they defeated Bowling Green 24-19.

So far the Lobos have scored a 56-10 victory over Tennessee Tech and lost 52-10 to Texas A&M, in which the weaknesses in the secondary were exploited.

Jerry Kill, the head coach for NMSU, who had previously been a head coach at Northern Illinois and Minnesota, had missed a lot of practice this week with a medical-related issue and it was feared that he might miss the game. But a couple of days ago he returned to practice, and it was expected that he would be on the sidelines.

Kill's career has been distinguished, but it's been marked by many health concerns. He has epilepsy, and has suffered seizures on the sidelines. He's also had kidney cancer, battling it into remission.

Here are the college football odds on this game, as they have been posted by the folks at BetOnline:

New Mexico Lobos -3 (-105)
New Mexico State Aggies +3 (-115)

Over 52 points -115
Under 52 points -105

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New Mexico uses UAB transfer Dylan Hopkins as its quarterback. Another transfer is supplying the offense with any pop that it has been able to muster. That's running back Jacory Croskey-Merritt, who has averaged 9.2 yards a carry. Croskey-Merritt is spending his first season as a Lobo after four years at Alabama State.

But is this enough?

The Aggies dropped their season opener by a 41-30 count to UMass, and then after coming back with a 58-21 win over FCS entry Western Illinois, lost 33-17 to Liberty.

Quarterback Diego Pavia has averaged 10.5 yards per pass attempt, and perhaps the difference between him and Hopkins is that the Aggie quarterback probably has more explosive people in the passing attack. Jonathan Brady is tallying over 20 yards a catch, with Ahmonte Watkins not very far behind. As a team, NMSU is averaging 6.3 yards per rushing attempt.

All told, the Aggies have better players, and more of them. So we'll take points.

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