New Mexico +5.5 Over Fresno State for Friday NCAAF Picks

Darin Zank

Monday, September 22, 2014 9:14 PM GMT

Monday, Sep. 22, 2014 9:14 PM GMT

Two teams who just earned their first victories of this 2014 college football season meet when New Mexico hosts Fresno State Friday night in Albuquerque (8 pm ET, ESPN). Which team might have Big Mo on its side for this one? And which way should we go with our free college football pick?

The Betting Odds
Most college football odds shops opened Fresno State at right around -4 over New Mexico, then had to bump the Bulldogs to -5.5 or -6 in the early betting.

Bettors who think the Lobos might win this game outright can get a price of around +190 at many of the top online sportsbooks.

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Game Set-Up
A season after winning 11 games Fresno State is off to a 1-3 start both SU and ATS. The Bulldogs began with a 52-13 loss to USC, whiffing on the cover as 18-point dogs. They then lost at Utah 59-27, missing on the spread as 13-point dogs. They then lost at Nebraska 55-19, losing ATS at +11. But last week Fresno State got on the board with a 56-16 victory over FCS Southern Utah, covering as a 17-point favorite.

Fresno State returned 13 starters this year from a team that went 11-2 last year. Eight starters came back on defense, but only five on offense, after the losses of QB Derek Carr and last year's top two receivers.

In an attempt to replace Carr the threesome of Brian Burrell, Brandon Connette and Zach Greenlee has combined to complete just 54 percent of its throws this season, with eight TD passes and five interceptions.

New Mexico, meanwhile, is 1-2 SU, 0-3 ATS. The Lobos opened by getting upset at home by UTEP 31-24 as 10-point favorites. They then lost at home to Arizona State 58-23, missing the cover as 24-point dogs. Last week New Mexico got in the W column with a 38-35 victory over rival New Mexico State, but couldn't cover the spread as a four-point road favorite.

New Mexico returned 13 starters from a team that went 3-9 last year. Seven starters came back on offense, and six returned on defense.

Through three games the Lobos option attach ranks third in all of FBS ball in rushing at 350 yards per game. But the New Mexico defense ranks 128th in run defense, allowing 309 YPG.

 

Bulldogs-Lobos Recent History
Fresno State has beaten New Mexico the last two seasons by scores of 49-32 and 69-28, covering as favorites of 15 and 33 points. Both those games flew OVER on the totals.

Last year the Bulldogs led 35-0 at the half on their way to covering the spread as 35-point favorites. FSU outgained the Lobos that day 822-316 – yes, the 'Dogs racked up 822 yards of offense, 538 through the air, as Carr threw seven touchdown passes. But, of course, Carr is now gone, playing Sundays for the Raiders.

 

Bulldogs-Lobos Betting Trends

Fresno State is 5-2-1 ATS in its last eight spots as a favorite on the road.

New Mexico is 2-6 ATS in its last eight games as a home dog.

 

Free NCAAF Pick
C
ollege football teams often make big strides in the third seasons under new coaching regimes, and both these teams are playing their third seasons under these two head coaches. But Fresno State and Tim DeRuyter are trying to keep something going, while New Mexico and Bob Davie are trying to build something. And at the moment these two teams have a lot more in common, talent-wise, than they did last year. So we'll go with the home-dog Lobos, getting 5.5 points at Pinnacle, for our free college football pick in this spot.

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