UMass vs. New Mexico State kickoffs this Saturday at 7:00pm EST in New Mexico as a home game for the Aggies. New Mexico State is currently a -6.5 point favorite and -235 on the moneyline while the total is set at 45. Read on for more UMass vs. New Mexico State best bets and predictions as this may be a slow-paced slugfest.
UMass Vs. New Mexico State Prediction & Best Bet
Largely thought of as one of the worst teams in football heading into last season, the Aggies proved their doubters wrong by going 6-6 and finishing out their year with a bowl win over Bowling Green. Thanks in large part to their defense, a unit that ranked average in Def Success Rate and well above average in Def Explosiveness.
Head coach Jerry Kill made it his mission to carve out a nasty defense to match their hard nose offensive philosophy when he entered the program, and that same success will be on his mind heading into this year. Even after losing starters at all three levels of the defense, they get the fortunate opportunity of playing against an anemic UMass offense to help get a read of what they are working with.
Speaking of the UMass offense, it can’t be overstated how truly awful this unit was last season. Consistency woes and havoc plagued this unit, ranking near dead last in both Off Success Rate and Havoc Allowed. Any sort of deep gain plays was also practically nonexistent, ranking 114th in Off Explosiveness as well.
Because of the Minutemen’s inability to field any sort of competitive offense, I have zero worries of them exploiting this inexperienced Aggies defense. Couple that theory with head coach Jerry Kill’s tendency to play at the slowest pace possible and we have a recipe for a slow burning slug fest. New Mexico State ranked last in plays per game last season, running 59.1 PPG per TeamRankings. UMass clocked in at 82nd, running 69 plays per game.
UMass Vs. New Mexico State Odds
New Mexico State will be fooling no one going into this year as oddsmakers opened the Aggies as a -8 favorite over the Minutemen. Shockingly, bettors are not in the same sentiment as they have been backing UMass since the open. That number has since come crashing down, currently residing at -6.5.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a moderate pace as oddsmakers have opened the number at 44.5. Bettors have slightly leaned toward the over, taking the number up to 45 in some shops as of writing. While the total of 45 serves as a secondary football number, it will be interesting to see how the new clock rules affect total scoring throughout the course of this season.
UMass Vs. New Mexico State Key Matchups
Can the Aggies quarterback Diego Pavia continue to find success? Can UMass keep NMSU out of the endzone when they cross the 40-yard line?
Diego Pavia vs UMass secondary
While the defense carried the brunt of the Aggies success last year, it was quarterback Diego Pavia who got things done on the offensive end. He finished last year throwing for 1,450 yards, 13 touchdowns, and six interceptions. He serves as a dynamic threat as well, adding 508 yards on the ground as well as six rushing touchdowns.
His accuracy will need to improve as he threw for a lowly 53.2% on his limited sample size should he want to take a leap in his development. UMass serves as an interesting first test as they did a good job at limiting passing consistency, yet are susceptible to getting beat deep. They ranked 29th in Def Pass Success Rate yet a lowly 132nd in Def Pass Explosiveness.
UMass Finishing Drives
Potentially one of the biggest deciding factors towards the total in this matchup is the Minutemen’s ability to keep points off the board when the Aggies cross the 40-yard line. That was a major area of weakness for this unit last season, ranking near dead last in Def Finishing Drives.
While Returning Production isn’t necessarily a measure of a unit turning it around after ranking near dead last in this area, it is a good indicator for a slight improvement. Any sort of improvement will go a long way as any stalled-out drive drains precious time off the clock, especially since the Aggies slow paced philosophy already limits their quantity of red zone chances. This creates a massive swing towards the under when they have to restart deep in their own territory.