New Mexico Bowl: Home Field Advantage Make Lobos +10 the College Football Pick Over Wildcats

Ross Benjamin

Friday, December 11, 2015 5:55 PM GMT

Our college football analyst provides us with an early betting preview between Arizona and New Mexico. Go inside to find out what his college football pick is and the exact reasons why.

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College Football Pick: New Mexico +10
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

New Mexico Bowl Early Betting Preview
The Arizona Wildcats (6-6) will square off with the New Mexico Lobos (7-5) on Saturday 12/19. Ironically enough, it will be the New Mexico Bowl played at University Stadium in Albuquerque, and the opening kickoff is slated for 2:00 PM ET. Current college football odds has Arizona as a 10.0 point favorite, and the posted total is 63.5. This will be the first meeting between these two schools on the gridiron since 2008.

 

Home Field Advantage
In case you haven’t pickup up on it already, New Mexico will be playing this bowl game on their home field. The Lobos have gone 5-2 at home this season. Since 1996, teams playing in a bowl game on their home field have gone 20-10 straight up and 19-11 ATS. If those home teams were an underdog, they went 7-3 ATS, and won six of those games outright.

 

Inspired or Uninspired
When it comes to lower tier bowl games such as this one, and it involves a team from a power conference, versus an opponent that’s not, there’s an interesting dynamic which should be considered. The question then becomes, how motivated the power conference team is to play in a minor bowl game, against an opponent that on paper, they should be able to defeat with relative ease. Contrarily, the team from the lesser conference is rarely unmotivated. This is a classic example of the above described scenario. Arizona has played the far superior schedule, and by rights should destroy a 7-5 team from the Mountain West Conference. Obviously the opening line indicates just that, and especially so when considering they will be playing on the opponent’s home field.

 

Down Year for Cats
Arizona started the season by going 3-0, and then went 3-6 the rest of the way, including losing four of its last five. They’ve had just one win this season versus a FBS team that finished with a winning record. The Wildcats other four FBS victories came against opponents that ended with a cumulative record of 15-34 (.385).

 

Uplifting Year for Lobos
New Mexico has gone just 7-5 this season, and one of those wins came against Mississippi Valley State who plays at the FCS level. However, it was a successful year nonetheless when considering their recent past. The Lobos entered this season having gone a combined 18-67 (.212) during the previous seven years. This will be their first bowl game appearance since 2007.

 

Turnover Differential
New Mexico was a stellar +7 in the turnover department this season. On the other hand, Arizona was a -5 in the takeaway/giveaway department.

 

Final Thought and Early Lean
I just can’t envision New Mexico not being the more motivated team in this matchup. They’re playing at home, and will be participating in their first bowl game in 8 years. On the other side of the field is a more athletic and physically gifted Arizona team. I’m going to have a small early lean toward the home underdog for one of my college football picks.