Expect loads of running on both sides when New Mexico visits Air Force this Saturday, and time consuming drives make grabbing the double-digits with the visitor seem attractive.
Two of the top rushing teams in the nation meet in Mountain West Conference play on Saturday afternoon, and all those time consuming drive should benefit the double-digit underdogs when those New Mexico Lobos (2-4, 1-5 ATS) pay a visit to the Air Force Falcons (4-2, 3-3 ATS) at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, CO at 3:30 ET.
The posted line at Pinnacle Sports is New Mexico +10 for this contest at current odds of -112.
Both Teams off of Losses
Both of the Air Force losses have come in Mountain West action this season as they fell to 1-2 inside the conference losing at Utah State 34-16 last week. The Falcons ran for 155 yards in the defeat but they needed 51 carries to do so for a scant 3.0 yards per carry, and the end result was further proof that when the Falcons cannot run for a high average, they cannot win. That is because Air Force is 118th in the nation in passing offense.
The Lobos are still trying for their first win inside the Mountain West win this year, as they fell to 0-2 in the conference by being the losing college football picks 24-14 vs. the San Diego State Aztecs back home in Albuquerque last Friday night. Thus New Mexico was unable to build on any momentum from its 21-9 road upset of Texas-San Antonio as a 17-point underdog two weeks ago.
Typical Air Force Triple Option…
It has been a typical Air Force triple option offense this season as the Falcons are ranked 13th in the country in rushing offense with 274.2 yards per game on a good 4.7 yards per carry, although in actuality those numbers are down a touch from last season when the Falcons averaged 262.7 rushing yards on 4.9 yards per run. Still, make no mistake as Air Force is much closer to a double option with the third option of passing rarely entering the equation.
That formula does not make Air Force a team that usually blows teams out and the fact that they are only 69th in the land in scoring is a testament to that. In fact the Falcons are a poor 9-16, 36.0 percent ATS the last 25 times they have been favored by seven points or more, never mind double-digit favorites that they are here! For the record, they are 8-13, 38.1 percent giving 10 or more points during this span.
The other part of that equation has been some shoddy defense in recent years, and the Falcons are ranked just 73rd in total defense again this season.
…But New Mexico Running a Bit Better
As great as Air Force has been running the football as usual, New Mexico has been even better at it this year ranking eighth in the country with 294.8 rushing yards per contest on an impressive 5.9 YPC, an average that is over one full yard per carry higher than Air Force’s average per tote!
And New Mexico typically stays with the running game regardless of the score, which makes it difficult for the Lobos to get blown out themselves unless they are outclassed, such as in their 58-23 defeat to Arizona State out of Pac-12 this year. Take away that blowout though and the other three losses have been by an average of -9.3 points.
That is very close to this point spread but those three losses to UTEP, Fresno State and San Diego State came vs. teams that threw the ball efficiently, which is something that Air Force does not seem capable of. Thus with the Falcons mirroring the Lobos’ running style, that should make this game even closer.
Visitors’ Series ATS
The visiting teams have done very well in this head-to-head series in recent years going 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings, and Air Force has not only struggled ATS as a decided favorite, but it is actually also 7-20 ATS in its last 27 games overall.
Look for those patterns to continue for at least one more week with New Mexico seeming like the right side catching double-digits in Colorado Springs on Saturday.
College Football Pick: New Mexico +10 (-112)