The Conference USA Championship goes tonight, and the New Mexico State Aggies and Liberty Flames have done a whole lot of winning to get here.
Let’s start with the 24th-ranked Flames, who completed a perfect regular season, winning all 12 games. It’s a big reason why they’re 10-point favorites over New Mexico State in the college football odds.
The Aggies are no slouch: they’ve ripped off eight straight victories to battle their way to the championship game.
There’s plenty of intrigue for this tilt from Williams Stadium in Lynchburg. Read below for my free college football picks for New Mexico State vs. Liberty on Friday, December 1.
New Mexico State vs Liberty best odds
New Mexico State vs Liberty picks and predictions
There’s a formula for the Liberty Flames and it’s as brutish as it gets: they run, run, and run some more. The Flames boast the nation’s top rushing attack, piling up 295.4 yards per game at just under 50 carries per contest, the second-highest mark in the NCAA. Each touch averages 5.9 yards per rush (second) and is a big reason Liberty piles up a whopping 498.5 yards of offense per game, a Top-5 mark in college football.
The New Mexico State Aggies are no slouches against the run, allowing just 126.6 yards per contest, which ranks 33rd. They’re also a respectable 55th allowing 3.9 yards per carry.
They’ll definitely need to be better than the first meeting between these two sides when Liberty rang them up 33-17 in Week 3.
Liberty didn’t hit its averages but still piled up a healthy 250 yards rushing on 52 carries — 4.8 yards per tote. Flames QB Kaidon Salter was tremendous in the win, going 15-for-25 for 276 yards and two touchdowns while adding 43 yards on nine rushes and two more rushing scores. The sophomore pivot had just three games with fewer than 10 carries, and just once in the last nine. Not surprisingly, he has just one game in the last nine where he’s attempted at least 25 passes.
His line is set for 47.5 rush yards, and he has crossed that mark five times in his last six games. Last game, he carried 13 times for 76 yards, as the Flames shredded UTEP 42-28 in their season finale. Prior to that, he carried 13 times for 118 yards and punched in a pair of scores, as Liberty walloped UMass 49-25. It was Salter’s third 100+ rushing game of the season.
With so much on the line, Liberty should stick to its bread and butter and put the ball in the hands of its best player.
My best bet: Kaidon Salter Over 47.5 rushing yards (-120 at DraftKings)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.
New Mexico State vs Liberty same-game parlay
Kaidon Salter Over 47.5 rushing yards
Diego Pavia Over 167.5 passing yards
New Mexico State +10
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While Salter will be racking up yards on the ground, there's a mighty generous passing line given to Aggies QB Diego Pavia, which is set at a very reachable 167.5 yards.
That’s likely because of his 150-yard outing in the previous matchup between these two teams, but Liberty’s pass defense can be had. The Flames allow 237 yards per contest, which is a respectable 85th in the NCAA.
Six quarterbacks have gone Over this total against the Flames this season and Pavia himself has topped that passing yard mark in six of his last eight contests.
His play has helped the Aggies make some real noise in C-USA, and we can’t ignore their success against the spread. The last three weeks have been even more impressive, entering each game as an underdog and winning outright over Western Kentucky, Auburn, and Jacksonville State.
New Mexico State has covered the spread in each of its last 10 games, and while I don’t see the Aggies beating Liberty, they should be more competitive than last game.
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New Mexico State vs Liberty spread and Over/Under analysis
The Aggies have been as long as 13.5-point ‘dogs, but that line has been slowly creeping down, where almost every book has settled at 10.5 points.
After going 0-2-1 ATS to open the season, New Mexico State has ripped off a 10-0-0 ATS mark to close out the regular season.
In the second-to-last game of the season, the Aggies were a steep 25-point underdog against Auburn, and crushed them 31-10.
Liberty has been a solid bet this season, going 8-4-0 ATS, but has failed to cover the last two hefty lines of 26 points to UMass, and 17 points to UTEP.
The total has crept up during the week, starting at 52.5 and going north, where most lines are settling in at 55.5 points.
Seven of Liberty’s 12 games have gone Over, while only four of NMSU’s 13 games have gone Over.
New Mexico State vs Liberty betting trend to know
Each of Liberty's last four games against conference opponents has gone Over the total. Find more college football betting trends for New Mexico State vs Liberty.
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New Mexico State vs Liberty game info
|Williams Stadium, Lynchburg, VA
|Friday, December 1, 2023
|7:00 p.m. ET
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