A pair of Conference USA West Division foes will tangle in primetime Saturday night when Southern Mississippi travels to take on UTEP. The following betting preview has Southern Miss vs UTEP predictions, college football picks and odds.
Southern Miss vs UTEP Predictions
Odds courtesy of Bovada Sportsbook
There has been plenty of line movement surrounding this contest already, some of which I agree with and some of which I think has gone too far. The total on this game opened at 62.5 and the under on that number has been a favorite Week 7 College Football picks choice for many sharps. It has been bet down a full 8 points to the current over/under of 54.5.
The Golden Eagles come into the week riding high after their first win of the season, a 41-31 triumph over North Texas in their last game two weeks ago. Winners of five straight in the head-to-head series against the Miners, interim coach Scotty Walden will undoubtedly have his team fired up to earn another W this week. Golden Eagles quarterback Jack Abraham has already surpassed 1,100 yards passing on the season. He also comes into the game with a 64.4% completion percentage. With Frank Gore Jr. leading the way on the ground, Southern Miss brings an electric offense to the table. On the flip side, the defense is very bad, giving up roughly 40 points per game. Needless to say, Southern Mississippi doesn’t possess many traits of a team one would back to go under the total.
College Football Picks: Under 54.5
That’s where UTEP comes into play. Defense and special teams are the name of the game in El Paso, Texas. Of the 76 FBS teams who have begun their 2020 seasons thus far, UTEP ranks 70th scoring just 17.0 points per game. With quarterback Gavin Hardison and the passing attack leaving a bit to be desired, expect the Miners to lean on the rushing attack. This is where Deion Hankins should be able to wear down the USM front. What the Miners do well is play defense. I was a bit skeptical of just how good the unit was given that their three wins came against Stephen F. Austin, Abilene Christian, and Louisiana-Monroe. But after they held Louisiana Tech to just 21 points in a narrow defeat last week, I am convinced. The sharp betting market clearly is as well, given the massive movement on the over/under line.
Bonus Pick: UTEP +6.5
And now for the portion of this contest where I think the line movement has gone too far. After the opening spread gave Southern Miss but a single point, the line has not only blown past the key number of 3 but is now closing in on a full touchdown in favor of the Golden Eagles. The Miners will be looking to control the clock and limit the chances that the explosive USM offense gets. With the Golden Eagles defense leaking points in bunches, especially in the second half of games, look for the Miners to get stronger as the game goes on. A solid defensive effort and victories in the tranches on both sides of the ball will keep UTEP within a touchdown and cover as a College Football picks home underdog.