New Mexico State vs Bowling Green odds and picks

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New Mexico State vs Bowling Green Odds

Monday afternoon’s Quick Lane Bowl features two teams making surprise bowl appearances.

Vegas set both Bowling Green and New Mexico State’s win totals below 5 at the start of the season, so I don’t think this will be a game where a team isn’t excited to be in a bowl game. Look for these two squads to bring your A-game.

They’ll want to end the season on a high note, as these bowl games are certainly not guaranteed.

New Mexico State hasn’t had a bowl game since 2017 and has been the scene of a dismal program ever since. Former TCU interim head coach Jerry Kill did an incredible job in his first season as head coach of the Aggies, taking a program that hadn’t finished better than 3-10 since 2018 to a bowl appearance.

New Mexico State has touted him as a well-respected program builder, and he has lived up to expectations this season.

Not to be outdone, Bowling Green has not had a winning record since the 2015 season, when it was knocked out of the GoDaddy Bowl by Georgia Southern.

Scot Loeffler took over the program in 2019 and is making his first bowl appearance with the Falcons this season. While his recovery wasn’t as quick, he did a great job starting to rebuild the Falcons program.

Not to be outdone, the Aggies are ranked #126 in our Action Network Power Rankings.

How are they bowl eligible? Finishing the season against two teams FCS and UMass certainly helps the record. However, give credit where credit is due – the Aggies defeated the heavily favored Liberty and secured an NCAA waiver to secure a bowl berth.

While the Falcons run a fast offense, the Aggies like to slow things down, ranking 96th in seconds per play.

They’re also a pretty brutal offense, ranking in the bottom 30 in Offensive Success Rate and Allowed Havoc, which could be a huge problem with Brooks on the other end of the line.

However, they do have one bright spot: their points per opportunity, where they rank 37th nationally.

When they get the ball inside the 40 against Bowling Green, they should cash in on touchdowns instead of settling for field goals.

The big question is, how many trips to the 40-yard line will the Aggies get? With Brooks living in his backfield, it might not be many.

On the defensive end of the ball, the Aggies rank slightly below average but respectable as a whole. They rank just below average in Allowable Success Rate, Allowed Opportunity Points, and Havoc.

However, a sub-par defense could be enough to end a potentially anemic Bowling Green offense.

If the Aggies can pressure Bowling Green quarterback Matt McDonald enough to upset him, they should be able to hold the Falcons off field goals. However, New Mexico State struggles to rush the passer, ranking 122nd in rushing passes.

McDonald has excelled in situations where he has been under pressure and, with a clean pocket, he should be able to play at a high level. Without that pressure, this Aggies defense will have trouble getting off the field.

The Falcons come into this game ranked 117th in our Action Network Power Rankings. They made this bowl game by getting some big upsets over Marshall, Central Michigan and Toledo – all 6.5 point or better favourites.

BGSU runs a fast offense, clocking in 25.19 seconds per game (34th in the nation). Unfortunately, that’s all that’s above average. This Falcons team finishes in the bottom 10 in terms of Offensive Success Rate, Offensive Points Per Opportunity, and Allowed Havoc.

However, despite these horrible advanced metrics, this offense still found ways to put points on the board with a 42-point game against Toledo and a 34-point game against Central Michigan.

McDonald played the best football of his career in both games, particularly against Toledo (not counting the FCS competition).

Keeping him clean will be crucial to the Falcons’ offensive hopes, as he has been sacked three or more times in each of the last seven games. Bowling Green’s final game of the season against Ohio was also the worst game of his career, as he threw three interceptions and finished with a PFF rating of 37.9.

If McDonald can stay off the turf, he usually tends to the ball, and this offense should be able to work his way up the field. The big question is whether or not he can score touchdowns.

Based on how the offense has performed this season, I’d be inclined to settle for field goals.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Falcons are far more respectable, where they particularly excel at creating Havoc for opposing offenses.

The reason for this is PFF All-American defensive lineman Karl Brooks, who ranks in the top 10 nationally in solo sacks. Brooks will be playing in the bowl game and will likely be living in the Aggies’ backfield, looking to cement his status as one of the most productive defensive linemen in this draft class.

Outside of that Havoc creation, Bowling Green State’s defense has struggled in other respects — especially when opposing offenses hit 40. The Falcons allow 4.1 points per opportunity, putting them in 100th place nationally.

This can be an area where the Aggies exploit the Falcons.

New Mexico State v Bowling Green matchup analysis

Toggle the dropdown menus below to hide or show how the state of New Mexico and Bowling Green compare statistically:

Bowling Green Offense vs New Mexico State Defense

New Mexico State Offense vs Bowling Green Defense

Pace of the Game / Other
Combat PFF10743
PFF coverage8780
SP+ Special Teams11396
Seconds per Play26.4 (63)28.8 (111)
peak rate48.8% (99)59.9% (20)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics

New Mexico State vs Bowling Green Picks and Prediction

Despite these two teams being ranked below average in many key categories, I think this will have enough chaos to be an extremely fun watch.

However, I will give this Bowling Green team the edge.

Brooks has been the X factor all season and I think he will cement his status as one of the best defensive linemen in this draft with an All-American performance against New Mexico State.

If Bowling Green can get ahead early and force the Aggies to get the ball in the air, I think they’ll rack up points quickly with threes and outs and turnovers.

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