Week 3 NCAA Consensus Report: Rio Grande Rivalry Send Lobos Odds Upstream

Jason Lake

Friday, September 14, 2018 12:29 PM UTC

Friday, Sep. 14, 2018 12:29 PM UTC

It’s always a party when the New Mexico Lobos meet the New Mexico State Aggies – and the college football odds for Saturday’s matchup are steaming towards Las Cruces.

Jason’s 2018-19 NCAAF picks record: 4-1 ATS (plus-3.00 units), 0-1 ML (minus-1.00 units)

New Mexico vs. New Mexico StateSaturday, 8:00 p.m. ET, Las CrucesFree NCAAF Pick: LobosBest Line Offered: Pinnacle

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That was a textbook example of how to use line moves to make sharper college football picks. The UCLA Bruins opened as 25.5-point road dogs for last week’s game against the Oklahoma Sooners, then they moved all the way to +31 – even though the stat nerds projected the Sooners to win by 25-26 points. So we took the Bruins. Final score: Oklahoma 49, UCLA 21. It was what it was.

After scouring the Week 3 NCAAF odds board, we may have found another major line move worth exploiting. The New Mexico Lobos will visit the New Mexico State Aggies this Saturday, in the latest episode of the Rio Grande Rivalry, and at press time, it’s New Mexico favored by four points, with 66.5 percent consensus on the favorites. Just one thing: The Lobos opened at –7.5. Let’s investigate, shall we?

Project Management

You know the drill by now: First, we consult the projections (freely provided by ESPN’s Football Power Index) and their equivalent odds (using the SBR Odds Converter for the moneyline, and the college football stats at Wizard of Odds for the point spread):

FPI: New Mexico 69.2 percent
SBR: New Mexico –225
WIZ: New Mexico –7

That’s pretty close to the opening line – which is par for the course nowadays. But it looks like the sharps, and/or some other bettors with deep pockets, have dumped a big pile of money on the Aggies. Either that, or the sportsbooks are taking a very big risk with unbalanced action on the Lobos. Better check out the newswires to see if there’s been a major injury or something to prompt this action.

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Sheriron Jones. Go Vols. pic.twitter.com/jgmPiZo9Zv

— Mark Nagi (@MarkNagi) September 17, 2016
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New Jones Territory

These are two of the lowest-rated teams in the FBS, so there isn’t a lot of mainstream reportage surrounding Saturday’s game. The Lobos, representing the Mountain West Conference, started the season at No. 103 on the College Football News rankings. The Aggies, independent in football after a brief tour of the Sun Belt Conference, were No. 121 out of the 130 member programs.

And that’s pretty much how things have played out. New Mexico are 1-1 SU and ATS after getting pummeled 45-14 by the No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers in Week 2 – but hey, they beat the spread as 35.5-point road dogs. New Mexico State have already played three games; they’re 0-3 SU and ATS, without even sniffing a cover.

Here’s the rub: Lobos QB Tevaka Tuioti suffered a head injury during the Wisconsin game and won’t play on Saturday. Junior transfer Sheriron Jones will get the nod instead. Will he be that much of a downgrade from Tuioti? Perhaps. Jones was third on the QB depth chart in Albuquerque, after Tuioti nosed out senior redshirt Colton Gerhart (also injured) for the starting gig. And Jones got his lunch handed to him by the Badgers. But the Aggies are definitely not the Badgers, and at this new price, we’re willing to take our chances with Jones, who was a four-star recruit and a freshman at Tennessee before transferring to Mt. San Jacinto. We will live. Hold the line.

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