College Football Pick: New Mexico State Aggies +17½ over Rice Owls

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

The New Mexico State Aggies may be one of the worst teams in the country, but have the Rice Owls done enough to be prohibitive road favorites like this?

One of the very worst teams in the country may actually be offering good line value at home Saturday night when the Rice Owls (4-2, 2-1 away) pay a visit to those New Mexico State Aggies (0-6, 0-3 home) at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, NM at 8:00 ET in a game available on ESPN GamePlan and ESPN3.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has New Mexico State as a large home underdog for this contest with the current line at +17½ with odds of -104.

Now we are under no misconceptions here as we totally get that we are asking one of the worst teams in the land in the 0-6 Aggies to cover a spread for us, but we think this line is set high enough at home vs. a probably disinterested Rice team that New Mexico State actually looks like a good play!

Rice enters this game on a three-game winning streak and the Owls are a perfect 3-0 inside Conference USA, leaving them tied with the Tulane Green Wave atop the West Division of the conference. That is precisely our point though as this is a fairly meaningless non-conference game for Rice in the middle of its conference schedule, and the Owls may already have their eyes set on potentially going to 4-0 inside the conference next week at home vs. 1-5 UTEP.

That would make it very easy to look past the Aggies here, who are an Independent with no conference affiliation this season, and while the Owls have the talent advantage, have they done enough to be giving this many points in a look-ahead spot regardless of the opponent? While we get that Rice is a program heading in the right direction, even beating Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl last year, it is not a team accustomed to blowing people out.

You see, the Owls rank just 84th in the country in total offense and 78th in total defense, and although they have managed to go 4-2 straight up overall, they have actually been slightly outscored by an average of -0.7 points per game with all four wins being by single-digits and their largest margin of victory being by nine points.

So in addition to not being a team that blows people out, Rice is probably simply not good enough to look past anyone and expect to win handily, not even against one of the worst teams in the country and especially on the road.

Besides, the last time New Mexico State was home it probably played its best game of the season while losing to San Diego State just 26-16 with quarterback Andrew McDonald completing 23-of-35 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. He now has a chance to at least match that effort vs. a 71st ranked Rice passing defense that is allowing 236.3 yards per game through the air on 7.1 yards per pass attempt.

Given Rice’s propensity for playing close games, a performance like that from McDonald may be all that is needed for New Mexico State to cover this inflated spread at home on Saturday.

[gameodds]6/239083/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

College Football Pick: New Mexico State +17½ (-104)