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New Mexico Lobos vs. Boise State Broncos Point Spread - Pick

New Mexico Lobos (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS) vs. Boise State Broncos (1-1 SU, 2-0 ATS)
College Football Week 3
Date/Time: Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 8PM EST
Where: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho
TV: ESPN

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: UNM +16.5/BSU -16.5
Over/Under Total: 58.5

The New Mexico Lobos come to Albertsons Stadium on Thursday to face the Boise State Broncos in week three Mountain West action. New Mexico enters this matchup 1-1, following a demoralizing loss to in-state rival New Mexico State on Saturday, 30-28. Things don't get a lot easier this week against a Boise State bunch. But Boise St. had an even tougher time of it Saturday, squandering a 21-point lead to Washington State with 8 minutes to go, losing in triple overtime, 47-44. If there were ever a time to not face a short week, it would be now for Boise State. Not only was it draining physically, but the loss itself was probably the most-painful of all losses suffered so far in the young college football season.

On one hand, losing to New Mexico State was a bad development for the 2017 Lobos. But down 30-5 in the 4th quarter, New Mexico staged a furious comeback and with a little over a minute left, they scored a touchdown to make it 30-28 and could have tied the game with a 2-point conversion, which failed. It says something that they could mount such a furious late-assault when the game appeared out of hand, but to come up short after the two-pointer failed is a tough pill to swallow and they'll have to recover quick with this early-week matchup.

New Mexico quarterback Lamar Jordan has experience, but after a couple picks, they went with Tekava Tuioti, who almost commandeered the unlikely comeback. The Lobos were the top-rushing team in the nation last season and we haven't quite seen that production this season. Tuioti connected well with receiver Jay Griffin IV, who caught a TD pass and also ran one in from 61 yards out. Richard McQuarley is still in the mix and they're waiting for Romell Jordan to find his way back into the offensive flow.

Last season, the New Mexico defense made a lot of strides, cutting over 120 yards off their per game allowance. But this season has them returning only three starters and so far, there have been some bad signs. It was impressive how they suddenly clamped down on New Mexico State late, as the offense attempted to stage an improbable rally. At least they did their part late. Garrett Hughes returns to the line with Cody Baker and Kene Okonkwo, who offer some menace up front. Alex Hart is a factor in the middle and youngster Rhashaun Epting has been showing good signs. Bijon Parker and Elijah Lilly are key parts of a secondary that will remain a question mark until proven otherwise.

Boise is coming off an exceptionally difficult Saturday game that was a battle-royal and about as draining a game as you could play. It lasted multiple overtime periods, after Boise had a 21-point lead midway through the 4th quarter. In the fickle world of covering spreads, you look for every possible edge to exact to get an edge. Not that this will necessarily manifest, but it's quirky for a team to be the last game on the schedule one week, only to be the first game on the schedule the following week. Boise State played the late game on Saturday and here they are in the first game on this week's schedule. It's still early in the season and a handful of hours don't make a ton of difference. Plus, they're at home. But after a demanding road game against a good Pac-12 team in Washington State where they experienced the full spectrum of emotions, could we see Boise fade late and put the cover in jeopardy?

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Last season, Boise covered a measly three spreads all season. Once was against this Lobos bunch in a road beating, 49-21. Brett Rypien (questionable) almost threw for 400 yards, but some of the guys who helped him get that much are now gone. The last time these two teams met in Boise in 2015, Rypien and the Broncos lost by 7 to the Lobos as 31-point favorites! Seems like this matchup is either feast or famine depending on who you take recently.

Boise saw Rypien knocked out of the game on Saturday, but they had already been working Montell Cozart into the mix and he gave the offense a spark, the late collapse notwithstanding. Sure, the offense didn't really keep it rolling late. But a lot of that falls on a defense that melted completely. Offensively, there might be some hope with Cozart, who was giving 3rd-year starter Rypien a run for his money even before Rypien went down. Cozart gives the offense another run-option to go along with RB Alexander Mattison, as Boise still tries to fill the void left by Jeremy McNichols. And although it was in a losing effort, Cedrick Wilson showed what he can do as a go-to receiver with 147 yards and two touchdowns. After all, it was the offense that put the Broncos up by 21 with half a quarter to go.

It's going to be hard to say anything good about the Boise State defense after they gave the game away in the 4th quarter and then weren't able to come up with a play in OT. What made it extra painful was they did it after Washington State QB Luke Falk was taken out of the game with a suspected concussion. For most of the game, the defense thrived, allowing just ten points for almost 3-and-a-half quarters. And when Falk went down, it was looking like an absolute nightmare for Washington State, with the Broncos defense being a huge part of that equation. You can talk about what a team does well or not so well, but it's really all for naught when a team can't even maintain a 21-point lead almost halfway through the 4th quarter in a game that meant a lot to the team. For them to fall apart so dramatically and suddenly at the most inopportune time was a tremendous letdown.

Despite all the damning evidence against Boise for the purposes of covering the spread this week, one should temper the negativity. Boise has shown character and the ability to overcome adversity. New Mexico on the road is a far less-dangerous opponent than a home Cougars team. Be that as it may, it's hard to sign off on Boise State this week. We're going to anyway. We're taking the Broncos.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Boise State Broncos minus 16.5 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the New Mexico vs. Boise State game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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