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13.02.2024

New Mexico @ Nevada Game Preview and Pick: Wolf Pack Get Revenge On the Lobos

If you asked me to describe the Mountain West Conference in one word, I would say “gauntlet.” The top six teams in the conference all have at least 16 wins, and trying to get a conference win on the road can be harder than astro physics at times. Tonight’s college basketball slate brings us a few MWC games, including the Nevada Wolf Pack playing host to a New Mexico team that blew them out a few weeks ago.

Despite the blowout loss in the last meeting, with home-court advantage and a three-game win streak, it’s hard to bet against the Wolf Pack not exacting revenge on the Lobos.

Game Preview

On January 28th, the Nevada Wolf Pack went on the road to New Mexico and lost by 34 points. While some teams may have struggled to bounce back from a loss of that magnitude, the Wolf Pack have rattled three straight wins, including a 70-66 overtime victory over San Diego State over the weekend.

Nevada may not be the best offensive team in the Mountain West, in fact, they rank 7th in the MWC in adjusted offensive efficiency (112.5). Even with that ranking, though, the Wolf Pack knows how to play to their strengths on that side of the floor. Their primary strength is getting to the free throw line, as they are 7th in the country in free throw rate. In their last game alone, Nevada attempted 32 free throws and got 19 of their 70 points from the charity stripe.

The Wolf Pack won’t be racing up and down the court looking for transition opportunities very often, but instead, they will protect the ball and work for the best look possible. Only two teams in the Mountain West have a lower turnover percentage than the Wolf Pack. However, New Mexico was one of the only teams that could force Nevada into turnovers.

In the previous meeting between these teams, the Wolf Pack had 15 turnovers, as New Mexico’s second-ranked adjusted defensive rating was on full display in the game. The Lobos are the best team in the Mountain West at forcing turnovers, with a 19.5% turnover percentage.

Unlike the Wolf Pack, the Lobos love to get out and run in transition. New Mexico enters tonight with the highest adjusted tempo in the conference, and that style of play has led them to the second-best adjusted offensive rating in the MWC, according to Bart Torvik.

Pick for the Game

Most Nevada mobile betting apps have the Wolf Pack listed as a (-2) point favorite, but for my play, I’ll be taking their moneyline of (-134) on FanDuel. The Wolf Pack are 12-1 SU at home this season, and much like Saturday’s game, they are in a perfect revenge spot.

Nevada went on the road and lost to San Diego State earlier in the season, but when they got them at home, they were able to get the job done. While most teams see a spike in their offensive numbers at home, the Wolf Pack have proven they play their best defense on their home court. When playing conference teams at home, Nevada has held opponents to a 45.6% effective field goal percentage while boasting a 20.3% turnover percentage.

As for the Lobos, they go from ranking 3rd in opponent-effective field goal percentage at home to 7th when playing on the road (53.2%). In the first matchup between these teams, the Lobos also held Nevada to just 18 free throw attempts. Yet, it’s hard to imagine they can keep the Wolf Pack off the charity stripe tonight, especially since New Mexico is still 235th in the country in free throw rate on defense.

Recap

  • Nevada Wolf Pack (-134) on Fanduel

*odds subject to change

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