College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for UTEP vs. Southern Miss: How To Bet This Conference USA Matchup

College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for UTEP vs. Southern Miss: How To Bet This Conference USA Matchup article feature image
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Tyler Ingham/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Gavin Hardison (No. 12).

  • Two teams heading in the opposite directions face off on Saturday in a Conference USA matchup.
  • UTEP has won two games in a row and is 4-1 overall, while Southern Miss has lost three in a row, including last week's matchup vs. Rice.
  • Anthony Dabbundo breaks down the game and provides his best bet.

UTEP vs. Southern Miss Odds

UTEP Odds -1 (-110)
Southern Miss Odds +1 (-110)
Moneyline -120 / +100
Over/Under 46 (-110 / -110)
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN3
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

UTEP went from one of the worst — if not the worst — team in all of FBS a few years ago to a team that has a legitimate chance to make a bowl game.

The turnaround for the Miners has been led by fourth-year head coach Dana Dimel, whose team is a legitimate 4-1 this season with FBS wins against New Mexico, Old Dominion and New Mexico State.

A win on Saturday at Southern Miss would leave Miner Nation within one game of its first bowl appearance since 2014 and a chance at its first bowl win since the 1960s.

UTEP has statistical advantages on both sides of the ball in this matchup but struggled mightily with turnovers in its last road trip to Boise State in a 54-13 defeat.

If the Miners protect the ball on Saturday night in Hattiesburg, the Miners will win and cover as small road favorites.


UTEP vs. Southern Miss Betting Preview

Saturday, Oct. 9
7 p.m. ET
ESPN3

UTEP Miners

UTEP Offense

The Miners run a well-balanced offensive attack, even if the rushing numbers are less than impressive. UTEP is 125th in Rushing Success Rate and 120th in Offensive Line Yards, so it might be difficult for the Miners to establish a strong running game against a solid Southern Miss run defense.

It’s the only area where Southern Miss has the edge, though, as the Golden Eagles have one of the worst passing defenses in the country.

UTEP is 24th in Passing Success Rate and the Southern Miss pass defense is 129th in completion percentage allowed.

The Miners may not be able to run the ball too well, but they’ll be able to move the ball methodically down the field with quick and short passes. The Golden Eagles offer very little resistance to short passes and the Miners don’t hit a ton of big plays to move the ball quickly.

That leads to a lot of short third downs, easy conversions and first downs for UTEP. The Miners have been solid at turning drives into points and have the edge against USM here too, which will be extra important in a game with a total of just 44.5 where scoring drives are not to be expected often.


UTEP Defense

The improvements for UTEP this season have come from its stout defense that has really shined both to the eye test and in the advanced box score. The Miners allowed a ton of points to Boise State but much of that came from turnovers on offense and short fields for the Broncos.

UTEP doesn’t allow many big plays, doesn’t allow teams to run the ball and is excellent at creating Havoc. All of that is a recipe to shut down a very questionable USM offense that might be down to its third-string QB, a walk-on, this weekend.

The Miners rank 22nd in preventing Big Plays and top 10 in Finishing Drives, so it will be tough for the Golden Eagles to turn yards into points in this game without explosive plays or an ability to convert touchdowns in the red zone.

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Southern Miss Golden Eagles

Southern Miss Offense

Jack Lange’s debut in relief couldn’t have gone worse for USM last week, as he threw three interceptions. The walk-on is expected to make his first start on Saturday for the Golden Eagles.

It’s difficult to see how USM moves the ball both down the field and into the end zone against an underrated Miners defense. The Golden Eagles are down to their fourth quarterback and while Lange also had some success through the air, the Rice defense is significantly worse than the UTEP one he’ll face on Saturday.

The USM offense has a lot of issues preventing Havoc and generating big plays, which means a lot of the high leverage moments of this game that’s expected to be a close tilt toward the Miners.

USM ranks 113th in Rushing Success Rate and won’t be able to establish the run against a solid Miners run defense, which will put added pressure on Lange in passing down situations where he’s prone to mistakes.


Southern Miss Defense

The Golden Eagles’ defense is pretty solid at preventing the run, but they are susceptible to passing success and short throws that UTEP should be able to feast on. USM ranks 17th in Rushing Success Rate but just 80th against the pass, so there’s a path for UTEP to get first downs via the pass.

Two major weaknesses for the Golden Eagles defense is in Big Plays allowed and Finishing Drives defense, which could make it easier for the Miners to score via explosiveness or when they drive down into the red zone.

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UTEP vs. Southern Miss Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how UTEP and Southern Miss match up statistically:

UTEP Offense vs. Southern Miss Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 125 17
Line Yards 120 99
Pass Success 24 80
Pass Blocking** 43 90
Big Play 87 108
Havoc 79 46
Finishing Drives 45 107
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Southern Miss Offense vs. UTEP Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 113 28
Line Yards 118 101
Pass Success 61 83
Pass Blocking** 115 91
Big Play 103 46
Havoc 126 22
Finishing Drives 92 10
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 47 75
PFF Coverage 115 96
Middle 8 94 127
SP+ Special Teams 50 83
Plays per Minute 126 73
Rush Rate 64.2% (16) 57.3% (51)

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


UTEP vs. Southern Miss Betting Pick

The market has been consistently too low on the Miners all year, as they could be 5-0 against the spread if not for all of the turnovers against Boise State.

UTEP still isn’t getting enough respect here on the road against an anemic Southern Miss offense that has question marks at quarterback.

With a line of 2.5, this game is expected to be relatively close throughout, but UTEP has the edge in all of the highest leverage point scoring areas.

UTEP is better in both red zones on offense and defense.

UTEP is much better in the eight minutes surrounding halftime this season, which is especially important in a low-totaled game.

The Miners have more explosiveness on both sides of the ball, more experience at the quarterback position and have a moderate special teams edge.

I wouldn’t lay anything more than a field goal on the road in a low-totaled, low-variance game here, but anything -2.5 or better is worth a play on the Miners to get to 5-1 and continue the program’s turnaround.

Pick: UTEP (-2.5 or better)

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