The consensus point spread of Nevada -9 for this College Football Week 0 clash has been shaved from a DraftKings early-summer opener of Wolf Pack -16.
Maybe a Jerry Kill factor? The former Northern Illinois and Minnesota boss (and briefly TCU) begins a new chapter in Las Cruces. Here’s a look at the betting odds and a pick for his New Mexico State debut.
College Football Week 0 Odds: Nevada vs. New Mexico State Point Spread, Total, Moneyline
NCAAF · Sat (8/27) @ 10:06pm ET
|Aggie Memorial Stadium, University Park, New Mexico|
It will take a while to jack-hammer away a porous, rotten football foundation in this border town. State has only one winning campaign over its past 19 seasons. In their past four years, the Aggies are 8-30, winning only one of 21 away games. Since 1960, they’ve played in a single bowl game.
There are many new parts at Nevada, but giving fewer than double digits to such a bottom-feeding program is a magnificent edge. We expect a blowout by the Wolf Pack.
Nevada Wolf Pack
Coach Jay Norvell shuffled off to Colorado State, remaining in the Mountain West Conference, and quarterback Carson Strong is gone, too.
Other departures contribute to Nevada being the nation’s most inexperienced team, according to Phil Steele.
However, Toa Taua and Devonte Lee return as the team’s top two tailbacks, and we see them dictating a runaway triumph.
Taua has scampered for 3,086 yards and 22 touchdowns in four seasons, and he also has 897 receiving yards with three aerial TDs. In 760 career touches, he has fumbled the ball only eight times, with no turnovers last season.
The native of Lompoc, Calif., calls himself “Toe Toe” on Twitter, where he re-tweeted last week being named to the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year preseason watch list.
Lee is a fine complement. Both are 5-feet-9, and Lee carries about 15 more pounds than the 218-pound Taua. Lee has run for 1,253 yards, averaging nearly four yards per dash, and 21 TDs over four years.
Taua also re-tweeted a TV spot for the local station that spotlights the two tailbacks’ tight bond and the fact that both are fathers of infant sons.
Calling the signals, 6-foot-6, 230-pound Shane Illingworth isn’t exactly a greenhorn. In six games over two seasons for Oklahoma State, he was 69-for-120, for 939 yards, seven TDs, and two interceptions.
But there’s more to like at Nevada, including Dom Peterson on the defensive line and Aaron Prost on the offensive line. And new boss Ken Wilson has 19 previous seasons of experience on the Pack staff.
Of the players on both rosters who rate, to any degree, on a national scale, they are all on Nevada’s side, and we expect the Wolf Pack to shine on the national ESPN2 telecast.
Also read: Nebraska vs. Northwestern Odds
New Mexico State Aggies
There is no “Jerry Kill Factor.” In eight-plus FBS seasons, he barely has a winning record, and he’s 0-5 in bowl games.
His teams are 36-15 at home, but this project is on a far different level of re-build than anything else he’s ever tackled.
The Aggies’ entire quarterback group has a total of 84 D-I pass attempts, and their top tailback from last season and best three receivers are gone.
State’s average yard differential of -139 per game last season was the seventh-worst rate in the country, one of a dirty dozen squads that yielded an average of triple-figure yardage to opponents.
What’s daunting about this game is what’s next, a short-week Thursday tilt at Minnesota, at UTEP, and at Wisconsin. For a program that has won only seven of 63 games on the highway over the past 10 years, looking ahead is catastrophic.
Nevada vs. New Mexico State Pick
New Mexico State has lost recent home openers 30-3, 43-17, 31-10, and 29-7. What’s more, since 2010, it has covered the spread only 43.1% of the time, ninth worst in the country.
Almost every signpost to which we have access points to this line, from Nevada -16 to Nevada -9, shifting the wrong way.
We thank the steam, for taking the Wolf Pack. Giving only single digits to Nevada represents Christmas in August.
As we did with Vandy vs. Hawaii, though, we suggest a half-unit play due to these being the first games out of the gate.
Our Pick: Nevada -8.5 (FanDuel)
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