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UTEP vs. UAB Odds, Picks and Predictions: Bet Underdog Miners Against Deflated Blazers Team on Friday (Nov. 26)

UTEP vs. UAB Odds, Picks and Predictions: Bet Underdog Miners Against Deflated Blazers Team on Friday (Nov. 26) article feature image

Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: UAB Blazers running back DeWayne McBride (22).

  • The UTEP Miners (7-4) and UAB Blazers (7-4) face off in Conference USA college football action on Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. ET.
  • Our college football betting analyst explains why he's betting UTEP (+13.5) to cover the point spread after UAB's Conference USA title dreams were vanquished by UTSA last weekend.
  • Below, find updated college football odds for UTEP vs. UAB, including our picks and predictions for Friday's game.

UTEP vs. UAB Odds

Friday, Nov. 26
2 p.m. ET
Spread Total Moneyline
-110o / -110u
UAB Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The most important game of UAB’s season ended in heartbreaking fashion last season as UTSA rallied late to defeat the Blazers and end their chances of a Conference USA Title.

UAB allowed a touchdown with just seconds remaining on the clock after controlling large parts of the game on the road against the undefeated Roadrunners.

Next up for UAB is a home finale against UTEP and Miner Nation, which got back to winning ways last week at home against Rice. The Miners snapped a three-game losing streak and grabbed their seventh win of the season and will look to head into bowl season with an eight-win year.

UTEP’s defense has shown some cracks in recent weeks but still maintains solid numbers across the board, and that makes it a favorable team to back as an underdog.

Even though the Miners will struggle to move the ball consistently, this is a brutal letdown spot for the Blazers after last week.

UTEP Miners

UTEP Offense 

UTEP has been running the ball less and less in recent weeks as the reality sets in for this offense: it can’t sustain drives on the ground.

The Miners rank 122nd in Rushing Success Rate and 127th in Offensive Line Yards, which is one of the biggest mismatches statistically in this game against an elite UAB run defense.

That will put a lot of pressure on quarterback Gavin Hardison to produce in passing downs, where he’s been excellent this year.

The Miners have been excellent on the scripted portions of early games this season and were yet again in the last two weeks against both North Texas and Rice.

They’ve also been good offensively later in games when they become more pass-heavy and let Hardison unleash. He’s had some mistakes of late and the interceptions have been a bit of a concern, but UTEP has an edge against UAB in Passing Success Rate and should be able to score enough both early and late to stay inside this number.

UTEP Defense

The Miners defense was exposed by the explosiveness of UTSA in that matchup a few weeks about, but holding North Texas to 20 points looks more impressive now, given how much the Mean Green have been running up the score recently.

UAB wants to run the ball early and often, but it’s unlikely to find success on the ground against a solid UTEP front. The Miners rank top-16 in both Rushing Success Rate Allowed and Defensive Line Yards.

UTEP also prevents rushing explosiveness and forces teams to drive the length of the field by converting first downs slowly through the air, and that’s not really how UAB has scored points this year.

The Blazers offense is also prone to mistakes and negative plays and UTEP’s ability to generate them should produce some turnovers and negative plays to get the Blazers behind the chains on standard downs.

UAB is bottom-20 in Havoc Allowed on offense, and those are the kinds of teams that the UTEP defense has thrived against all season long.

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UAB Blazers

UAB Offense

The Blazers’ run-heavy offense found plenty of success last week against UTSA, including 5.6 yards per carry on 39 rushing attempts and a 15-of-22 mark through the air with plenty of efficiency.

Three things doomed the Blazers. First, a cowardly punt from midfield when leading by three late in the game on fourth-and-short. The next two were penalties and one lone turnover that enabled UTSA to win the game despite losing the box score at home.

UAB runs the ball at the ninth-highest rate in the country but should have a hard time dominating a great UTEP defensive line at the point of attack. The Blazers are 41st in Rushing Success Rate and 43rd in Line Yards, both worse than UTEP’s defensive ranks.

The offense also showed a tendency to come out flat in bad spots this season, like when the Blazers lost at home to Rice after a big win earlier this year.

Even though the Miners’ strength of schedule isn’t as good as UAB’s, the Havoc, big play and Finishing Drives numbers all favor the Miners to slow down this offense and keep the game close.

UAB Defense

The Blazers defense is stout across the board and it’s hard to poke holes in the resume they’ve produced this season. The unit grades out as one of the best tackling and coverage grades in the country this season, according to PFF.

Similar to UTEP, the Blazers tackle really well and are excellent at stopping the run. The Miners typically start games conservative on the ground, but it shouldn’t take long for UTEP to be forced to open it up offensively after UAB’s elite defensive line shuts down the run game.

UAB also forces teams to be methodical to score, as it doesn’t allow big plays. That should force UTEP to sustain long, slow scoring drives in order to score points.

While this helps the under, it also helps the underdog, as it leaves less time and fewer possessions for the Blazers to rack up a big scoring advantage.

UTEP vs. UAB Matchup Analysis

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

UTEP Offense vs. UAB Defense
Rush Success 122 18
Line Yards 127 9
Pass Success 19 32
Pass Blocking** 93 4
Big Play 72 7
Havoc 60 31
Finishing Drives 105 74
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

UAB Offense vs. UTEP Defense
Rush Success 41 16
Line Yards 43 14
Pass Success 48 24
Pass Blocking** 7 41
Big Play 58 37
Havoc 113 25
Finishing Drives 44 42
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 9 21
Coverage 83 16
Middle 8 105 75
SP+ Special Teams 50 92
Plays per Minute 116 127
Rush Rate 58.% (41) 63.9% (9)

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

UTEP vs. UAB Betting Pick

You have to wonder if there’s a letdown spot for UAB with nothing to play for in this game. And it comes after not only losing to UTSA last week but losing the chance to play for a conference title in the final seconds.

Instead, UTSA goes to the conference title game and UAB settles for a middling bowl in late December.

There’s next to nothing on the line for the Blazers, who are perennially competing for conference titles and regularly make bowls.

Flip the script to UTEP, which has also secured bowl eligibility but is in the midst of a historic season in recent history. No one expected the Miners to win seven games this year, and I’m expecting a motivated Miners squad in the final game of the year to reach eight wins for the first time since 2005 and the fourth time since 1988.

When a typically bad program has a great year, it tends to show up late in the year and give all-in effort. I’m expecting that from UTEP — especially on defense — where the Miners should be able to grind the UAB offense to a halt and slow down the rushing attack.

Both teams play at a really slow pace, and while I haven’t liked backing UTEP as a favorite this year, it’s a live underdog because of the Havoc-inducing defense and solid quarterback play from Hardison all season.

UTEP finds enough points offensively in a low-scoring affair to cover this spread, and if you’re really doubting UAB’s motivation, a small sprinkle on the moneyline at +400 isn’t a bad idea.

Pick: UTEP +13.5

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