New Mexico State vs. Liberty Prediction, Odds, Trends and Key Players for Conference USA Championship

College football betting preview, prediction and best bet for New Mexico State vs. Liberty in the Conference USA title game.

NMSU quarterback Diego Pavia throws the ball during a NMSU football game on Wednesday, May 22, 2023,
NMSU quarterback Diego Pavia throws the ball during a NMSU football game on Wednesday, May 22, 2023, / Meg Potter/Sun-News / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Conference USA Championship pits two incredibly compelling teams with a surging New Mexico State team taking on undefeated Liberty.

The Flames have ran the table this season under first year head coach Jamey Chadwell in the team's first season in Conference USA, but now face a stiff test against New Mexico State, who has a dynamic offense around quarterback Diego Pavia that has sparked an eight game winning streak with a win over Auburn included.

Liberty has been rarely challenged this season, but can New Mexico State give it a run on the Flames home turf?

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New Mexico State vs. Liberty Odds, Spread and Total

Liberty vs. New Mexico State Betting Trends

  • New Mexico State is 11-2 against the spread (ATS) this season
  • Liberty is 8-4 ATS this season
  • New Mexico State is 6-1 ATS as an underdog
  • New Mexico State has gone UNDER in nine of 13 games this season

New Mexico State vs. Liberty How to Watch

  • Date: Friday, Dec. 1
  • Game Time: 7:00 PM EST
  • Venue: Williams Stadium
  • How to Watch (TV): CBS Sports Network
  • New Mexico State Record: 10-3
  • Liberty Record: 12-0

New Mexico State vs. Liberty Key Players to Watch

New Mexico State

Diego Pavia: The Aggies are top 20 in success rate this season behind the dual-threat capabilities of Pavia, who is the team's leading rusher in addition to passing for over 2,600 yards. Overall, he has combined for 3,561 yards with 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions. NMSU has plenty of weapons but it all stems from Pavia's ability to make plays as a passer and runner.


Kaidon Salter: Salter has been a monster for the undefeated Flames, putting up similar numbers to Pavia, combining for 3,373 yards with 40 total touchdowns and five interceptions. In Chadwell's unique offense, we have seen Salter take center stage as the unit is top 10 in the likes of EPA/Play and success rate this season.

New Mexico State vs. Liberty Prediction and Pick

New Mexico State has been underrated since a Week 0 loss at home to Umass. Since then, the team has taken off offensively as the running game has emerged around Paiva with the likes of Star Thomas (nearly six yards per carry) flanking him in the backfield.

The Aggies play a bend, don't break style of defense, ranking right around the national average in terms of yards per play allowed, but top 30 in terms of points per drive allowed, letting up less than two points per drive on defense. The unit is top half of the nation in explosive run and pass rate and is top 20 in red zone touchdown percentage.

While not as talented as last year, the unit has done a good job of giving the offense opportunities to take advantage, which it has in Conference USA play.

The offense is 10th in yards per play behind its run game that is fourth in yards per carry. The passing game isn't consistent, but it hunts for big plays, top 20 in explosive pass rate.

Liberty's defense grades out nicely as an above average unit, but it hasn't faced an offense this dynamic. The team beat New Mexico State by 16 in Week 2, closing as 9.5-point favorites, the only time the Flames have played a top 35 offense in terms of EPA/Play.

However, it's fair to note that while Liberty is still undefeated and hasn't gotten worse, New Mexico State has gotten significantly better. It's worth noting those teams were even on a yards per play basis and NMSU lost the turnover margin by two.

I'm not saying Liberty is overrated, the team has had a special season, but New Mexico State is simply far better than they were earlier this season. The team is off of beating Auburn as a three touchdown underdog and a bowl eligible Jacksonville State team as a home dog. The market can't catch up to the Aggies, I'm happy to grab double digits with the dog in a title game.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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