LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Fans knew from the start that New Mexico State University, more than most college athletic departments around the country, was one of the unfortunate casualties of recent conference realignment.
When the Aggies got stuck holding the once-proud Western Athletic Conference banner while programs like Boise State, Nevada, Fresno State, Utah State and San Jose State bolted in the past three years, they lost exposure on the national stage.
And it hasn’t only come in the form of media coverage.
Because of so many new schools being in the league this season, WAC games were taken off the betting board of many Las Vegas, Nev., sports books according to Jay Rood. Ironically, he is an NMSU graduate and the Vice President of Race and Sports Book for MGM Resorts International, which overseas 12 sport and race books, including the likes of the MGM, Mirage, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Bellagio and more in Las Vegas as well as Circus Circus and the Silver Legacy in Reno.
“I’m an Aggie fan still, absolutely,” the 45-year-old Rood said. “But they’re not on the board this year.”
Basically, as Rood explained, the Aggies are playing conference teams Vegas simply doesn’t know enough about to keep them on a regular rotation of setting betting lines —which, whether the NCAA likes to admit or not, is a huge source of attention and fan interest from around the country for programs like NMSU.
As recently as last season with Utah State still in the league, WAC games were on the board.
“They’re playing competition that is so off the grid, that we don’t keep book to them,” Rood said. “We’ll probably book the tournament, but we can’t do all the regular season games.”
NMSU is, in fact, the odds-on favorite to win this week’s WAC Tournament at the Orleans in Las Vegas, according to lines set by Rood and MGM Mirage. And their games will have betting lines in the NCAA Tournament, too, should they make it.