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New Mexico State vs. Fresno State 2023 New Mexico Bowl Odds, Preview & Pick

By Hank Blaine

Conference USA runner-up New Mexico State won’t have to travel far to play in Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl against Fresno State of the Mountain West with the Aggies as favorites on the NCAAF odds.

New Mexico State Aggies vs. Fresno State Bulldogs 2023 New Mexico Bowl Game Information

  • When: Saturday, December 16th, 2023, 5:45 PM ET
  • Where: University Stadium, Albuquerque, NM
  • TV: ESPN
  • Radio: Zia Country 99.5 FM (New Mexico State) // FOX Sports AM 1340 (Fresno State)
  • Live Stream: ESPN+
  • College Football Odds: New Mexico State (-3.5) // Fresno State (+3.5)

Why Bet on the New Mexico State Aggies?

New Mexico State (10-4) lost to unbeaten Liberty 49-35 in the Conference USA title game. QB Kaidon Salter proved to be too much as the Flames posted 712 yards of total offense. NM State’s offense was almost equally as potent as it concluded the game just one yard shy of 500 total yards. This attack was led by Diego Pavia who threw for 188 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for a team high 45 yards and one touchdown before exiting the game early.

Pavia will play in the bowl game and was named the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year after accounting for 34 total touchdowns while leading NMSU with 2,915 passing yards and 851 rushing. The Albuquerque native was also named second team All-CUSA despite playing the last “four of five” games of the Aggies’ regular season with an injured shoulder, Coach Jerry Kill said.

The Aggies might need more help than usual on offense as eight players have announced their intentions to enter the portal — including wide receiver Trent Hudson, NMSU’s leader in receiving touchdowns (10) with 35 receptions for 551 yards.

The trip to Albuquerque will represent the Aggies’ sixth appearance in a bowl game and will mark the first time since the 1959 and 1960 seasons that the Aggies will compete in bowl games in consecutive years. NMSU has a bowl record of 4-0-1 — making it the only FBS program without a bowl game loss and at least one bowl game appearance.

Why Bet on the Fresno State Bulldogs?

Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford has stepped away due to health concerns. The Bulldogs will be led by assistant head coach and linebackers coach Tim Skipper in their bowl game after posting an 8-4 (4-4 Mountain West) record in the second season of Tedford’s second stint with the school. Skipper is a well-traveled college football assistant who played for the Bulldogs from 1997-2000. He’s on his second assistant coaching stint with the program. This marks the fourth time the Bulldogs have reached a bowl under Tedford, who posted 10-win seasons in 2017, 2018 and 2022.

With no first-team All-Mountain West selections, the Bulldogs saw their first season without a first team pick since 2016. Both of Fresno State’s preseason All-Mountain West picks in defensive lineman Devo Bridges and offensive lineman Mose Vavao picked up second team All-MW honors. Bridges is the most versatile defensive lineman in the Mountain West, the only one who has played more than 300 snaps at defensive end and more than 100 snaps as a tackle. He leads the team with 7.0 tackles for loss and the defensive line with 49 tackles, a single-season career-high for the senior.

Vavao has been Fresno State’s starting right guard in each game this season and has played 760 offensive snaps without being called for a penalty. Vavao is the only offensive guard in the Mountain West and one of four in the Group of Five to play 650 or more snaps without a penalty. He has a 98.2 pass blocking efficiency grade by Pro Football Focus, second among offensive guards in the Mountain West with 400 or more pass blocking snaps.

QB Mikey Keene was named honorable mention All-Mountain West. Despite seeing significant action in only 10 games this season, Keene ranks No. 3 in the MW in passing yards (2,596) and passing yards per game (236.00). Keene has three games with four passing touchdowns, the most by any QB in the conference. No other QB has more than one. His three games with four passing touchdowns is already enough for fourth most in a career by any Bulldog QB in program history. Keene threw at least one touchdown in each game started. Erik Stokes led the Bulldogs in receiving yards with a single-season career-best 711 yards on 55 catches. Malik Sherrod ranked No. 6 in the MW and led the team in rushing yards with a single season career-high 876 yards rushing on 152 carries.

Fresno State will participate in its third bowl game in the past three seasons, and its 32nd bowl game in program history. This is Fresno State’s fourth trip to the New Mexico Bowl with its last being a 31-24 defeat of UTEP in 2021. Fresno State is 16-15 all-time in bowl games and has won its last four dating back to 2017.

Fresno State leads the all-time series with the Aggies, 18-1. The lone loss came in a 48-45 loss on the road in 2011.The last meeting between the teams was in 2019 with Fresno State earning a 34-17 win in Las Cruces.

New Mexico State vs. Fresno State Betting Trends

  • New Mexico State is 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games.
  • Aggies are 8-1 SU in their last 9 games.
  • The total went under in 9 of New Mexico State’s last 12 games.
  • Fresno State is 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games.
  • Bulldogs are 16-4 SU in their last 20 games.
  • The total went over in 4 of Fresno State’s last 6 games.

New Mexico State vs. Fresno State 2023 New Mexico Bowl Expert Betting Predictions

Fresno State takes the win.

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