The Liberty Flames (12-0) try to continue to stay undefeated with a win in the 2023 Conference USA Championship Game betting matchup. The Flames want to pick up the victory and then will wait to see if they get the group of five spot in either the Fiesta or the Peach Bowl.
New Mexico State (10-3) would love to play spoiler here, especially considering – like Liberty – this is the first year the Aggies have played in Conference USA. The Aggies lost to the Flames very early in the season, but have gone 9-1 since that defeat. Oddsmakers have Liberty as a -10.5 favorite in this spot with 61% of the betting public taking the points.
Why New Mexico State Has Value at +10.5
Not that the 2023 Conference USA Championship Game doesn’t have a double digit point spread, but New Mexico State is going to be the only competitive team Liberty has played in the last month. The Flames’ schedule in November featured wins over 2-6 (in conference) Louisiana Tech, a decent Old Dominion club, 3-9 UMass, and 3-9 UTEP. This is a team that may be lulled to sleep a bit.
New Mexico State comes into Friday night’s game with momentum, winners of 8 straight games. That includes a 31-10 victory at Auburn two weeks ago when the Aggies ran for 213 yards against an SEC defense. QB Diego Pavia had 3 TDs vs Auburn, throwing multiple scores for the 7th time in the last 10 games.
Liberty has a very potent offense, but New Mexico State counters that with the #1 defense in Conference USA giving up just 19.7 ppg. The Aggies sacked Auburn four times in their win a couple weeks ago, something they excel at with 31 on the season. That’s the type of pressure that can get to a good Flames QB.
Why Liberty Has Value at -10.5
Sure the Flames’ schedule last month wasn’t that daunting, but Liberty still took each opponent seriously and won each of their four games by at least two TDs and three of those contests by 24 points. If you want to say New Mexico State has momentum, you have to at least acknowledge that Liberty isn’t exactly slumping coming into the C-USA Championship Game.
New Mexico State has the #1 defense in the conference – but Liberty boasts the top scoring offense in C-USA scoring 40.1 ppg – 6th in the country. One of the reasons the Aggies were able to beat Auburn is because they held the Tigers to 65 yards rushing on 26 attempts – but Liberty has the top rushing team in the nation at 295.4 ypg on the ground.
Quinton Cooley is a 1,251 yard rusher with 13 TDs while QB Kaidon Salter has added 899 yards on the ground with another 11 TDs to go along with 2,431 yards passing with 29 TDs to just 5 INTs. That duo was dominant in week 2 when Liberty beat New Mexico State 33-17 to easily cover the -9.5 spread.
Free 2023 Conference USA Championship Betting Pick
Conference USA doesn’t play their championship game at a neutral venue, so this is a home game for Liberty. When you take that into account, the -10.5 point spread doesn’t seem too bad on the Flames. The big win that sticks out for NMSU is the victory over Auburn – but the Tigers also got caught looking ahead to rival Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Take the Flames in this spot.
Free Pick: Liberty -10.5