Louisiana Tech vs. UTEP College Football Odds, Pick, Prediction: Do Miners Have Value as Underdog?

Louisiana Tech vs. UTEP College Football Odds, Pick, Prediction: Do Miners Have Value as Underdog? article feature image
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Tyler Ingham/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Gavin Hardison.

  • UTEP welcomes Louisiana Tech to El Paso on Saturday night.
  • Sitting at 5-1, the Miners are just a win away from becoming bowl eligible for the first time in seven years.
  • Check out Anthony Dabbundo's breakdown of the game and his top pick, below.

Louisiana Tech vs. UTEP Odds

Louisiana Tech Odds -6.5 (-115)
UTEP Odds +6.5 (-105) 
Moneyline -275 / +220
Over/Under 56.5 (-105 / -115)
Time 9:00 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Another week, another win for UTEP as the Miners beat Southern Mississippi, 26-13, on the road to move to 5-1 and one game away from its first bowl appearance since 2014.

The Miners have been one of the true success stories in all of FBS football after the program was one of the country’s worst a few years back.

Led by a stout and well-coached defense, the Miners will return to El Paso on Saturday as touchdown underdogs. They continue to not receive enough respect in the betting market. The statistical advantages that the Miners’ defense has against Louisiana Tech make them a live underdog to keep this game close and potentially pull off the upset.

Louisiana Tech has certainly played a tougher schedule with close losses to Mississippi State, NC State and SMU, but the Bulldogs’ inconsistencies include near losses to North Texas and SE Louisiana, a directional FCS school.

The Bulldogs defense doesn’t generate much in terms of negative plays or stopping opponent success, while the offense is one-dimensional.


Louisiana Tech vs. UTEP Betting Preview

Saturday, Oct. 16
9:00 p.m. ET
ESPN+

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

Louisiana Tech Offense

Louisiana Tech has been one of the worst run offenses in the country and the Bulldogs will not be able to run on a stout UTEP defensive line in this game.

The Miners should force the Bulldogs to go to the air, where La. Tech has been better but still not great. They rank 27th in Passing Success Rate but near the bottom of the FBS in pass blocking, so protecting the quarterback could be an issue here for them.

The Bulldogs have above-average marks at preventing Havoc and producing Big Plays themselves, which will be a key point in this game considering how poorly the Bulldogs’ defense is at producing negative plays and turnovers.

This offense will have to improve in the passing game to score points on the Miners and it’s been a very up-and-down season thus far for Louisiana Tech’s passing attack on a game-to-game basis.


Louisiana Tech Defense

The biggest challenge for the Bulldogs defensively will be stopping the UTEP run. Neither team is good at running or stopping the run, but whoever wins that battle likely dictates the flow of the game.

Louisiana Tech’s defense creates almost no Havoc, doesn’t produce negative plays and has a mediocre pass rush. All of that contributes to ball-control offense for UTEP, which lacks explosiveness.

It’s a matchup of contrasting styles, where La. Tech is more up-tempo and pass-first, and the Miners will look to run the ball and play slow, shorter games.

That kind of game state tends to favor the underdog if La. Tech’s run defense can’t get stops.

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UTEP Miners

UTEP Offense

The Miners’ offense is a run-first scheme, but they don’t run particularly effectively. UTEP ranks outside the top 100 in both Line Yards and Rushing Success Rate.

The offense seriously lacks explosiveness, but that doesn’t stop them from stringing together drives through the air. The Miners’ passing attack is pretty solid and has a huge statistical edge over a La. Tech defense that gives up a ton of success both on the ground and through the air.

The Bulldogs will offer very little resistance and create very few negative plays, meaning that UTEP is unlikely to turn the ball over and give short fields away to La. Tech’s offense.


UTEP Defense

The schedule of opponents is far from daunting, but what more does UTEP have to do to show how good its defense is?

The Miners rank 24th in Rushing Success Rate allowed and 23rd in Line Yards. They rank top-30 in getting to the passer and preventing passing success. UTEP totally smothered Jack Lange, Southern Mississippi’s walk-on starter, last week.

The Miners create a ton of negative plays through Havoc, don’t allow Big Plays and outside of one game against Boise State, UTEP has taken care of the ball and mostly forced opponents to drive the field on them.

They don’t allow teams to go for six points and often make them settle for field goals.

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Louisiana Tech vs. UTEP Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Louisiana Tech and UTEP match up statistically:

Louisiana Tech Offense vs. UTEP Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 116 24
Line Yards 114 23
Pass Success 27 23
Pass Blocking** 123 30
Big Play 59 46
Havoc 50 5
Finishing Drives 63 27
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

UTEP Offense vs. Louisiana Tech Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 112 119
Line Yards 119 121
Pass Success 31 122
Pass Blocking** 29 85
Big Play 124 125
Havoc 51 122
Finishing Drives 108 114
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 26 12
Coverage 39 79
Middle 8 118 80
SP+ Special Teams 86 63
Plays per Minute 39 127
Rush Rate 49.4% (98) 65.% (13)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


Louisiana Tech vs. UTEP Betting Pick

The line on this game has hovered between 6.5 and 7 for most of the week.

The Miners have been a covering machine this season and the market still hasn’t caught up to the improvements they have made in 2021, especially on defense.

UTEP’s ability to shut down the La. Tech run game and make them a one-dimensional offense that has to grind out long scoring drives will make this game closer than the spread indicates.

I also trust the Miners’ defense to generate negative plays and a turnover or two given its excellent Havoc rating that could produce short fields and quick scores for a UTEP offense lacking explosiveness.

The Bulldogs are the better team, but shouldn’t be 7-point road favorites against a consistent and solid UTEP team.

Pick: UTEP (+7 or better)

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