New Mexico @

Air Force

Fri, Nov 20
Fox Sports 1
6:30 PM Pacific
Rotation: 329
Odds: Air Force -8, Total: 55.5

Game Analysis

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Best Bet – *New Mexico (+8)  25   AIR FORCE  24

Best Bet – *Air Force Team Total Under (32.5)

Alternate play is game Under 55 or higher.

New Mexico will likely be without starting quarterback Tevaka Tuioti and backup Trae Hall looks like a downgrade based on his sample of 73 career pass plays (5.0 yards per pass play). Hall should have pretty good success finding open receivers against an Air Force defense depleted by turnbacks (the military equivalent of opting out for the semester) that has allowed 70% completed and 9.1 yards per pass play.

The reason for this play is how New Mexico’s 3-3-5 defense matches up against the Air Force option attack. That defensive scheme that new head coach Danny Gonzales learned from Rocky Long as defensive coordinator at San Diego State has always been good defending the run, including option offenses. Air Force has lost 8 straight games to San Diego State’s 3-3-5 defense (2-6 ATS), while averaging only 20 points per game, and the architect of that consistently good Aztecs defense (Rocky Long) is the Lobos’ defensive coordinator under his former pupil. This New Mexico team is carrying on the trend of a stingy run defense that Long’s teams at New Mexico (as head coach from 1998 to 2008) and San Diego State have established using the 3-3-5 defense. The Lobos have allowed just 94 rushing yards per game at 4.0 yards per rushing play against 3 teams that have run the ball fairly well in their other games. New Mexico’s defensive woes are all due to a horrendous pass defense that’s allowed 70% completions and 401 yards per game at 8.8 yards per pass play. However, Air Force has averaged only 11 pass plays per game, so they’re not going to take advantage of New Mexico’s defensive weakness – instead playing into their strength.

Air Force faced a San Jose State defense with similar characteristics (strong against the run and bad against the pass) and managed just 6 points on 297 total yards as they ran the ball 49 times while averaging just 4.2 yards per rushing play while not being able to take advantage of the Spartans’ bad pass defense (just 92 yards at 5.4 yppp). Against two teams that have been worse than average in run defense the Falcons averaged 35 points on 440 yards at 6.5 yppl, which has their offense overrated heading into this unfavorable matchup.

New Mexico has been bad defensively overall (7.2 yppl allowed to teams that would combine to average 6.0 yppl against an average team) because they’ve faced three teams that don’t mind throwing the football against a bad secondary, as San Jose, Hawaii, and Nevada combined to average 45.3 pass plays and just 23.3 rushing plays against the Lobos. Air Force will probably throw more than usual because they’ll have to (I project 15.7 pass plays instead of 11) but a team that runs 77% of the time against New Mexico turns the Lobos’ defense from bad overall to decent.

New Mexico should be able to move the ball pretty well against an inexperienced Air Force defense and the Lobos should be able to slow down the Falcons’ option. The difference between a team running 77% of the time against New Mexico, compared to an average team that runs 51% of the time, is worth about 6.5 points in match up value. That is certainly not in this line and my math model, which takes matchups into account, favors the Lobos by 0.4 points. New Mexico is a 1-Star Best Bet at +7 or more and I’m playing 1-Star on the Air Force Team Total Under 31 or more points (alternate play is game under 55 or more).

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • New Mexico
  • Air Force


  • Run Plays 38.3 23.3
  • Run Yards 191.3 84.0
  • YPRP 5.4 4.0


  • Pass Comp 19.0 31.0
  • Pass Att 35.0 44.0
  • Comp % 54.3% 70.5%
  • Pass Yards 241.7 410.3
  • Sacks 2.3 1.3
  • Sack Yards 14.0 9.7
  • Sack % 6.2% 2.9%
  • Pass Plays 37.3 45.3
  • Net Pass Yards 227.7 400.7
  • YPPP 6.1 8.8


  • Total Plays 75.7 68.7
  • Total Yards 433.0 494.3
  • YPPL 5.7 7.2


  • Int 1.0 1.0
  • Int % 2.9% 2.3%
  • Fumbles 0.0 0.3
  • Turnovers 1.0 1.3
  • Points 24.7 34.7
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