2018 New Mexico Bowl Betting Preview: North Texas Mean Green vs. Utah State Aggies – Dec. 15, 2018

by | Dec 15, 2018 | NCAA Football

Matchup at a Glance

When: Saturday, December 15, 2018, at 2:00 PM

Where: Dreamstyle Stadium in Albuquerque, NM

Point Spread: Utah State Aggies -9.5

Betting Total: 66.5

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The 2018 New Mexico Bowl will take place on Saturday, December 15, 2018, and will feature the Mountain West’s Utah State Aggies and the Conference USA’s North Texas Mean Green.  

The New Mexico Bowl is being played at Dreamstyle Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico with the kickoff scheduled to take place at 2:00 PM ET on ESPN.

WagerWeb has set the point spread for this game at Utah State Aggies -9.5 and total for the over/under plays at 66.5 points.

New Mexico Bowl History

The New Mexico Bowl is routinely one of the first bowl games played each bowl season and this year is no different.  The New Mexico Bowl features teams from the Mountain West Conference and the Conference USA.

This is the 13th rendition of the New Mexico Bowl and will feature the Utah State Aggies and the North Texas Mean Green.  Last year, we witnessed the Marshall Thundering Herd and the Colorado State Rams playing a very close and competitive game, with the Herd winning by a field goal 31-28.  

The following is the previous New Mexico Bowl game history:

  • Dec. 23, 2006 – San José State 20, New Mexico 12
  • Dec. 22, 2007 – New Mexico 23, Nevada 0
  • Dec. 20, 2008 – Colorado State 40, Fresno State 35
  • Dec. 19, 2009 – Wyoming 35, Fresno State 28 (2OT)
  • Dec. 18, 2010 – BYU 52, UTEP 24
  • Dec. 17, 2011 – Temple 37, Wyoming 15
  • Dec. 15, 2012 – Arizona 49, Nevada 48
  • Dec. 21, 2013 – Colorado State 48, Washington State 45
  • Dec. 20, 2014 – Utah State 21, UTEP 6
  • Dec. 19, 2015 – Arizona 45, New Mexico 37
  • Dec. 17, 2016 – New Mexico 23, UTSA 20
  • Dec. 16, 2017 – Marshall 31, Colorado State 28

Previous Matchups

This will be the 8th time the North Texas Mean Green and Utah State Aggies have faced each other.  The Aggies hold a very slight edge, going 4-3 SU but it is North Texas who hold the edge ATS going 4-3 ATS.  The North Texas Mean Green have won the past 2 matchups against Utah State but the most recent game came way back in 2004 when they won 31-23.  

  • 10/09/04 UNT 31 – USU 23
  • 10/18/03 USU 27 – UNT 37
  • 10/14/00 USU 17 – UNT 12
  • 11/27/99 USU 34 – UNT 7
  • 11/14/98 UNT 27 – USU 28
  • 11/22/97 USU 48 – UNT 51
  • 11/02/96 UNT 13 – USU 21

 

North Texas Mean Green

The North Texas Mean Green are going bowling for the 3rd straight season.  The Mean Green were 9-3 SU on the season but were not really a team you wanted to be riding as they went just 4-8 ATS on the season.  The Mean Green have played 10 of their 12 games this year under the posted total.

The Mean Green won their first 4 games of the season and 6 of their first 7 overall.  Their 3 losses came against La Tech, UAB and Old Dominion. Those 3 losses came by a combined 13 points.  The Mean Green were underdogs just twice this year and went 1-1 in those 2 games.

The following is the North Texas Mean Green’s complete schedule from the 2018 College Football Regular Season:

  • September 1 SMU W 46–23
  • September 8 Incarnate Word W 58–16
  • September 15 at Arkansas W 44–17
  • September 22 at Liberty W 47–7
  • September 29 Louisiana Tech L 27–29
  • October 6 at UTEP W 27–24
  • October 13 Southern Miss W 30–7
  • October 20 at UAB L 21–29
  • October 27 Rice W 41–17
  • November 10 at Old Dominion L 31–34
  • November 15 Florida Atlantic W 41–38
  • November 24 at UTSA W 24–21

 

This is the first time that the Mean Green has played in the New Mexico Bowl.  They have played in 10 bowl games in the past, going 3-7 in those bowls. Last year, the Mean Green lost to Troy in the New Orleans Bowl.  

There has been plenty of chatter among the college ranks that North Texas Head Coach Seth Littrell could be headed to Kansas State, to take over the Head Coaching vacancy left open by the retirement of Bill Snyder in Kansas State.  The Mean Green will be trying to lock down their first bowl win under Littrell, after posting back-to-back 9 win seasons in North Texas.

The Mean Green are led by Quarterback Mason Fine.  Fine is the Mean Green’s all-time passing leader, throwing for 3,734 yards, 27 touchdowns and 5 interceptions this year and 9,358 career passing yards at North Texas.  

Wide Receiver Rico Bussey Jr is Fine’s favorite target.  Bussey has caught 68 receptions to lead the team with 1017 yards and 12 touchdowns.  His 12 touchdowns are more than double the next closest receiver in touchdowns, which is Jalen Guyton with 5 touchdowns.  

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Utah State Aggies

The Utah State Aggies enter this game as one of the hottest teams in the country.  They ended the year by winning 9 of their final 10 games, with the final loss coming on the last game of the regular season to the Boise State Broncos.  

That loss cost them not only a shot at the Mountain West Conference Championship but could have potentially cost them a spot in a New Year’s 6 Bowl game.  They finished the year with a 10-2 SU record and were very strong against the number, going 9-3 ATS.

The following are the results from the Utah State Aggies complete schedule from the 2018 College Football Regular Season:

  • August 31 at No. 11 Michigan State L 31–38
  • September 8 New Mexico State W 60–13
  • September 13 Tennessee Tech W 73–12
  • September 22 Air Force W 42–32
  • October 5 at BYU W 45–20
  • October 13 UNLV W 59–28
  • October 20 at Wyoming W 24–16
  • October 27 New Mexico W 61–19
  • November 3 at Hawaii W 56–17
  • November 10 San Jose State W 62–24
  • November 17 at Colorado State W 29–24
  • November 24 at No. 21 Boise State L 24–33

 

They played 9 of their 12 games over the posted total, thanks to having one of the best offenses in the country.  Their offense ranked 3rd in Scoring Offense, 11th in total offense and have the 20th ranked passing offense. Earlier on the year, the Aggies ranked as high as #13 in the Associated Press Top 25 and #21 in the College Football Playoff.

The Aggies have gone to a bowl game in 7 of the last 8 seasons.  Last year, they lost to New Mexico State in the Arizona Bowl. Overall, they have gone 4-8 in 12 bowl games and have lost each of their last 2 bowl games.  Their last bowl victory ironically came in the 2014 New Mexico Bowl, where they beat UTEP 21-6.

The Aggies are led by Quarterback Jordan Love. Love has thrown for 3,208 yards, 28 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.  Love has also ran in 6 touchdowns for the Aggies this year.

Utah State has a pair of Running Backs in the backfield that will share carries.  Darwin Thompson and Gerold Bright have each played in 12 games and are very capable rushers out of the backfield.  Thompson has carried the ball 132 times for 951 yards and 14 touchdowns, while Bright has carried the ball 125 times for 785 yards and 8 touchdowns.

The Aggies will be playing this bowl game under interim Head Coach Frank Maile.  Former Head Coach Matt Wells resigned from the team following their last game of the regular season, to take over the Head Coaching vacancy at Texas Tech.  With that being said, the AD has said that Wells and his staff will still give “advice” to Maile and the team.

Handicapping Breakdown

This game is going to come down to what defense will step up and “slow down” the opposing offense.  The reason I say slow down is that I don’t think either team will “stop” their opponents in this game.  When it comes down to it, both teams have very similar defenses.

North Texas Defense is ranked 42nd in the FBS and Utah State is ranked 57th in the FBS.  Here is the difference. North Texas is a pass-heavy offense and Utah State’s passing defense is ranked 83rd in the country.  On the other side, Utah State is a run-heavy team and North Texas has the 15th ranked rushing defense in the FBS, only allowing 113.4 rushing yards per game.  

Their ability to stop Utah State from running the ball will force the Aggies to throw the ball with Jordan Love.  That isn’t a bad option as he is very accurate and multi-talented however that is not where they want to put emphasis on in their game planning.   

Our numbers are telling us that this game should be close, with Utah State winning the game by a field goal.  The line is currently sitting at Utah State Aggies -9.5 at WagerWeb. We never lay the half point so buy it up to 10 and roll with North Texas Mean Green to get the back door cover late in the game.

Spooky’s Bowl Pick – North Texas +10 

Update: 12/15/2018 @ 11:15 am – Nothing has swayed us off North Texas.  We feel this is a 3-star play if you got it early at +10.  If you waited and only got it +7, then make it a 2-star play. 

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