By Greg Dempson
Arizona Wildcats vs. New Mexico Los Lobos
The Gildan New Mexico Bowl
University Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico
This games kicks-off at 2:00 ET Saturday and it is a neutral site contest in name only as the Lobos are playing at home and getting 8.5 points. After going 10–04 straight up last year, the 2015 season was a struggle for Arizona. Graduation as well as injuries plus 12 consecutive weeks without a bye played a great part in the Wildcats’ demise as they finished this season at 6–6 straight up losing four out of their last five contests.
The Wildcats have allowed 30 or more points in eight of their nine PAC–12 games plus they were torched for 45 or more points in five contests this season. The Wildcats are 99% certain to have Scooby Wright back but they will still be without three starters on defense and the Wildcats were that ranked in the bottom half of the PAC–12 against the run. Quarterback Anu Solomon is questionable as of this report as he suffered a concussion at Arizona State in their seasons finale.
The Lobos finished strong winning three out of their last four contests with three outright double-digit dogs winners. The Lobos are ranked 9th in the nation in running averaging close to 247 yards per game. The Lobos were 5–2 at home this season while the Wildcats went 2–4 away from home. New Mexico is basically one dimensional as they run and then run some more so to be successful they will have to control the time of possession and put points on the board as Arizona has a balanced attack whether they are running or passing. Arizona and New Mexico faced two common opponents this season and the Wildcats had a huge edge in points scored and allowed as well as yards gained.
The unknown factor in this game should be obvious, New Mexico hasn’t appeared in a Bowl game since 2007 while the Wildcats certainly expected to finish higher than 6 – 6 after last season’s 10–4 mark.
View From the 50 Yard Line
· The Lobos are 5–0 ATS vs. the Wildcats winning the last two games straight up in 2007/2008 as underdogs of 9 or more points.
· Arizona is 19–35 ATS as a favorite of 3.5 to 10 points.
· New Mexico is 10–02 ATS off an upset win vs. a conference rival as a home underdog.
· The Wildcats are 10–23 ATS in road games after scoring 37 or more points in their last game.
· The Lobos are 33–16 ATS vs. good offensive teams that average 31 or more points per game.
· Arizona’s head coach Rodriguez is 01–14 ATS after covering the spread in two out of their last three games.
· Play on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points after a win by 10 or more points vs. a conference rival when playing against an opponent that’s off a road game where both teams score 31or more points. This system is 44–18 = 71% ATS since 1992.
Arizona vs New Mexico Pick
My Every Edge Bowl game for opening day is on the New Mexico Lobos at +8 or more.