FIU vs UTEP Odds, Picks: Are the Panthers Doomed?
Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: UTEP Miners football helmets.
FIU vs UTEP Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Despite its 4-6 record, Florida International still ranks 130th in the nation according to Collin Wilson’s Power Ratings. That’s because the Panthers’ four wins have come against an FCS opponent in Bryant and three programs that rank 122nd or worse.
UTEP opened the season with a 3-3 record, including a 17-point victory as 17-point underdogs to Boise State. However, the Miners have struggled recently and won just one of their last four matchups, which all had a spread of a field goal or shorter.
Can UTEP right the ship and extend Florida International’s streak of getting blown out?
Florida International has about hit its ceiling this season with its 4-6 record. It has beaten the four teams that it could compete with, but when the Golden Panthers have stepped up in class, they have been destroyed.
The Panthers’ six losses have all come by 20 points or more, with an average margin of defeat of 38 points. They are coming off two straight losses to North Texas and Florida Atlantic by a combined 83 points.
And despite all that, if they can pull out two more upsets, the program would be eligible for a bowl.
There’s a lot of room for improvement for the Panthers on both sides of the ball.
The offense averages just 17 points per game and 325 yards of total offense, both ranking outside the top 120. The group passes the ball on 55% of its plays but only averages 5.4 yards per attempt.
The quarterback carrousel has led to Grayson James as the starter for the remainder of the season. But over the last two games, James has completed just 28 of 61 pass attempts for 186 yards (3.0 YPA) and four interceptions–it doesn’t get much worse than that.
Defensively, the group is even worse as it is allowing 37 points per game to FBS opponents. The Panthers have allowed opposing offenses to convert 48% of their third-down attempts this season, which ranks 125th nationally.
Miner Nation isn’t out of bowl season yet. A (likely) victory in this spot would have UTEP playing UTSA for an opportunity to sneak out a sixth win.
The Miners will look to rebound off two brutal performances against Middle Tennessee and Rice. The defense remained solid against the rushing attack but was exposed through the air, allowing an average of 300 yards passing.
That’s been the common theme for the Miners this season as they rank 102nd by allowing 7.9 yards per pass attempt. But luckily for them, Florida international’s aerial assault has been nonexistent recently. The Miners have been better against the run as they have given up 4.5 yards per carry and 155 yards per game.
But the Miners offense will have an opportunity to find their groove against a lackluster Panthers defense. UTEP owns a well-balanced offensive attack that sees 50% of its plays on the ground and through the air.
Quarterback Gavin Hardison has been mediocre this season as he’s averaging 200 passing yards per contest while only completing 52% of his passes. He has tossed 11 touchdowns but thrown eight interceptions this season.
The Miners have a two-headed backfield alongside Hardison with each running back averaging above 57 rushing yards per game. Deion Hankins is averaging 4.9 yards per carry, and Ronald Awatt is rushing for 4.3 yards per carry this season.
FIU vs UTEP Matchup Analysis
FIU vs UTEP Betting Pick
Despite owning the same record, this Florida International squad isn’t at the same caliber as UTEP.
Florida International’s losses have all come in devastating fashion, with all six coming by 20 points or more, highlighted by a 73-0 loss to Western Kentucky.
Meanwhile, UTEP has shown glimpses of greatness this season. That was on full display in its 17-point victory over Boise State. The Miners own a strong rushing attack that will find chunk plays against Florida International’s awful front seven.
The Panthers offense has been horrific of late. Quarterback Grayson James has averaged 3.0 yards per pass attempt over the last two games with four interceptions. For an offense that is reliant on its passing attack, it needs to find more consistency at the position.
That will ultimately doom the Panthers in this matchup. Once the Miners gain an early lead, they will continue to march down the field through their two-headed backfield. The Panthers will attempt to throw themselves back into the game, but turnovers will ultimately doom them.
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