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From obscurity to a national ESPN television audience, that’s how quickly New Mexico State has improved under second-year coach Jerry Kill.

Granted, there are only seven games on Saturday’s schedule, and only six to be staged in this country.

Still, good for the Aggies, who deserve the attention after Kill’s stirring début in Las Cruces. We would prefer to partake in games like this that reside waaaay under the national radar. C’est la vie.

This begins a quest to do something New Mexico State hasn’t achieved since 1964-67, its last post-war stretch of posting consecutive winning campaigns.

And this is the perfect season-opening foe.

Let’s take a look at UMass vs. New Mexico State odds and predictions.

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UMass vs. New Mexico State Betting Lines: Point Spread, Total, Moneyline

Here are live odds from around the betting market for UMass vs. New Mexico.

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UMass Minutemen (1-11, 5-7 ATS in ’22)

The Aggies had lost 21 road games in a row until last season when, as 1-point favorites, they won at Massachusetts, 23-13.

After a brutal beginning, that represented New Mexico State’s fifth consecutive triumph.

Overall in ’22, UMass had the second-worst points-per-play margin (-0.370) in the country. Only Colorado, at -0.385, was worse. That, too, was the order away from home. Should that sloppy trend continue, this will be a long day for UMass.

This is the second year of coach Don Brown’s second stint in Amherst, so he wasn’t responsible for the 6-point-underdog Minutemen’s 44-27 defeat to the Aggies in Las Cruces to cap 2021.

Last season, Brady Olson threw for two TDs and had eight passes picked off. Gino Campiotti had one TD pass and six interceptions.

So it came as no surprise Monday when Brown named Taisun Phommachanh (pronounced POO-muh-chahn), who spent time on Clemson and Georgia Tech’s rosters, as his starting quarterback.

Brown told the Daily Hampshire Gazette that it wasn’t as if the others had played poorly and Taisun shined.

“We just thought Taisun gave us the best shot. That’s all,” Brown said in patented coach-speak. “He’s very controlled. He’s got a nice way about him … he’s determined, there’s no question about it.

“He’s very determined to help UMass football be successful.”

Brown believes his offense is “vastly improved … we feel good about where we are, now we just gotta go out and prove it. It’s one thing to say it.”

But life on the road has been extremely difficult for UMass, as proven by the scores of its defeats: 55-10, 42-10, 62-17, 59-3, 53-3, 51-7, 45-0, 51-10, 41-0, 45-6, 63-7, 69-21, 44-0, 52-17, 66-27, 48-21, 63-24, 55-21.

And all of that occurred within the past five years.

Add this one to that rancid list.

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New Mexico State Aggies (7-6, 8-5 ATS in ’22)

New Mexico State quarterback Diego Pavia looks to throw against Bowling Green during the Quick Lane Bowl NCAA college football game, Monday, Dec. 26, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
New Mexico State quarterback Diego Pavia looks to throw against Bowling Green during the Quick Lane Bowl NCAA college football game. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

The Aggies started 0-4 last season, getting outscored 147-32. Included in that malaise was a 38-0 shutout at Minnesota, an embarrassing homecoming for Kill.

However, an astounding turnaround began at Hawaii’s expense. The Rainbow Warriors traveled to Las Cruces as four-point underdogs and went down, 45-26.

New Mexico State won six of its final eight games, then beat Bowling Green, 24-19, as a 3-point dog in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit. The Aggies went 7-2 ATS in their final nine games.

For a coach who had been 0-5 in bowl season, finally getting that elusive triumph was beyond special for Kill, who honored a pre-bowl wager with his team and had an elaborate NMSU tattoo etched into his right arm.

“A good way to honor them and a good way to remember them,” he told KTSM-Channel 9. “Believe me, I would not have made the bet if I didn’t think it was special.”

The program is no longer moribund, and others have noticed. Over on its victory total of 5.5 has been bet from -120 (risk $120 to win $100) to -160 over the past six weeks.

New Mexico State does play 13 games and is favored in seven. At Auburn on Nov. 18 is daunting. Still, the Aggies could have that sixth victory before the calendar flips to November.

They are 8-2 as home favorites over the past four seasons. And this is the catapult to a season schedule that is rated No. 132 by Phil Steele in his comprehensive annual, the lone easier slate being Liberty’s.

Gavin Frakes led the Aggies to victory over rival New Mexico last season, but Diego Pavia showed his leadership by having only two of his final 125 throws intercepted. 13 went for TDs.

In NMSU’s shock 49-14 victory at Liberty, the Aggies were 24.5-point underdogs. But Pavia threw three TD passes and ran for 125 yards and three scores. It was one of the most memorable New Mexico State football triumphs in decades.

Pavia followed that with 323 aerial yards and four TDs in a blitz of Valpo.

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UMass vs. New Mexico State Sports Betting Recommendation & Pick

UMass finds itself overmatched in yet another highway game. The independent program is 0-23 away from home over the past four years, and 6-60 since 2012. It is 7-20-1 ATS on the road since 2018.

New Mexico State is strong everywhere, and Steele pegs QB Pavia as an All-CUSA second-teamer. That Liberty game trumpeted NMSU’s arrival, and league opponents had better not take this newcomer lightly.

As for UMass, road woes continue.

Our Pick: Aggies -7.5 (-110)

Also read: Discover the best sportsbook app for you | How to bet on CFB

About the Author
Rob Miech

Rob Miech

Rob Miech is a sports betting writer at Gaming Today who covers soccer and specializes in features content. He has written about college hoops for the Las Vegas Sun, CBS SportsLine and the Pasadena Star-News. Miech is the author of four books, including Sports Betting for Winners.

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