Air Force Falcons vs New Mexico Lobos Betting Odds and Pick ATS

You’ll notice the effects of bowl-eligibility desperation on college football point spreads throughout November. When a team has 6 losses, they’ll tend to play like animals for at least a quarter or 2, even if the opponent has a winning record and is far superior in athleticism and talent.

But what happens when each program has 6 losses?

The Air Force Falcons and New Mexico Lobos have each posted promising victories in 2018, followed by nothing but frustration and mental mistakes. With both schools on the brink of elimination from the postseason, will the game turn into a cautious defensive struggle with each side scared to make the fatal mistake? Or will it be a go-for-broke circus that comes down to the last play?

Who: New Mexico Lobos at Air Force Falcons

When: Saturday, November 10th, 3:30 PM EST

Where: Falcon Stadium, Colorado Springs, CO

Lines: UNM (+13.5) at Air Force (-13.5) / OU Total: (56)

Handicapping UNM at Air Force: Vegas Lines and Predictions

The Lobos of New Mexico have scored an average of over 50 points per game in 3 scant victories. But the offense has struggled against better competition. Former Notre Dame head coach Bob Davie’s squad ranks 97th in the nation in passing yards per game and a respectable 68th in rushing, but it hasn’t translated into wins, thanks to inopportune turnovers, penalties, and a struggling D. Junior QB Sheriron Jones only averages 4 yards per carry, actually not the greatest mark for a quarterback in Davie’s shotgun-option scheme.

Defense has been leaky and is a big part of the team’s problems this season. The Lobos rank 107th in points allowed per game, 127th in passing yards allowed, and 74th in rushing yards surrendered.

Sophomore LB Rhashaun Epting has been solid this year, sacking the QB 5 times and adding another 35 tackles to that stat line. The defense has also grabbed 9 interceptions. There’s no lack of playmakers, just a dearth of elite athleticism in the front-7.

Frosh kicker Andrew Shelley has 100% field goal percentage but has only attempted 5 field goals, which is a surprising stat for any college kicker at this point in the season. But not when you consider the game-management tendencies of Davie, who likes to go for it on 4th down. The team’s ground game is his confidence shot.

Over time, however, the prolific UNM rushing attack under Davie – not at all the problem holding the team back – has been criticized by the media and fans. Even after eye-popping offensive displays against good programs.

UNM broadcasters and beat writers seem obsessed with the team “developing” into a typical 1-back NCAA offense, I guess because the “spread triple” (as Air Force defenders are calling it) is too effective and not boring enough.

Davie has hinted that the complex ground attack will make a comeback this week. Hopefully the offense won’t hurt the program’s future development by scoring too many points and controlling the ball too long.

Air Force’s mascot – the living, breathing, real-life falcon Aurora – was recently injured by 2 horrible human beings from the Army Academy who stuffed her into a crate as a “rivalry” prank. Here’s hoping that the 2 sickos get stuffed into a locker the next time Air Force and West Point meet for a weekend. A really small locker.

Aurora has recovered and is flying fine. But the same can’t be said for the Falcons.

It’s not as if there’s no bright spots on the squad – they’re just having a hard time finishing games. The Air Force running game – built around the Flexbone but including a few modern pro-style formations – is near the top of the FBS in rushing yards. Junior QB Isaiah Sanders is tied for the team lead in rushing TDs with 6 scores, and has 844 yards through the air. RB Cole Fagan leads the Falcons in rushing yards with 523 to go along with his 4 TDs. Sophomore QB Donald Hammond III has seen action as well, and is responsible with the football.

But the Falcons’ only truly decisive and memorable win was a 35-7 victory over struggling Navy. HC Troy Calhoun has presided over a typically-inconsistent defense which has played hard against the run but given up too many explosive plays, also a product of limitations in recruiting.

What’s more, the coaches in Colorado Springs have not been able to settle on a single QB. For that matter, neither have the Lobos. More on the UNM QB situation from ABQ Journal:

Bob Davie isn’t sure who will be the starting quarterback for New Mexico in its football game at Air Force on Saturday. But the UNM coach does know he has a high amount of respect for Coltin Gerhart and the senior quarterback’s determination. Davie is impressed that Gerhart, a graduate transfer, has been doing his best to overcome a lisfranc injury since the season opener, doing all that he can to get back on the field. Gerhart played at about 70 percent on Saturday when he nearly led the Lobos (3-6, 1-4 in Mountain West Conference) to an upset against San Diego State (7-2, 4-1). “Right now it’s up in the air,” Davie said.

Predicting Air Force vs New Mexico: Best Bet ATS

This is a stunning point spread on a fairly even match-up. Davie has been fascinated with offenses like Air Force’s for years and will coach-up a defense that is not athletic enough to stop Boise State, but more than big and fast enough vs a 3-6 Academy team if only the unit can master the mental aspect.

Meanwhile, New Mexico’s offense is still underrated and should score points…unless it continues “developing” into the same generic playbook everyone else in college football uses.

Take the underdogs to cover (+13.5) for the lock of the week.

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