UTEP vs. New Mexico State PointsBetting Wager: BJ Cunningham’s Top Team Total for College Football Week 0

UTEP vs. New Mexico State PointsBetting Wager: BJ Cunningham’s Top Team Total for College Football Week 0 article feature image

Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jacob Cowing.

Week 0 is finally here, and yes, there are only four games between FBS opponents. But football is finally here, and that is a reason to rejoice.

While Nebraska plays Illinois and Hawaii tries to figure out Chip Kelly's offense, I will be focusing my points betting wager on the biggest game of the weekend.

That's right, I'm talking UTEP vs. New Mexico State.

Saturday, Aug. 28
9:30 p.m. ET
Bally Sports

UTEP comes into 2021 after a 3-5 season in 2020, but its three wins came against Stephen F. Austin, Louisiana Monroe, and Abilene Christian — so I guess you could call it an upgrade from going 2-34 over the previous three seasons.

The good news for UTEP on offense is it brings back 78%, according to TARP, including starting quarterback Gavin Hardison, who averaged 7.13 yards per attempt last season.

The Miners also return starting running back Deion Hankins, who averaged 4.9 yards per carry in 2020. That doesn't even mention what many are calling the best wide receiver tandem in Conference USA in Jacob Cowing and Justin Garrett, who combined for 1,201 yards and six touchdowns on 79 catches last season.

UTEP also gets all five starters back on an offensive line that allowed only a 5% Sack Rate last season, so Miner Nation may actually have a solid offense in 2021.

UTEP did lack a lot of consistency on offense, ranking 113th in Offensive Success Rate, 114th in Rushing Success Rate, and 99th in Passing Success Rate.

However, it ranked 13th overall in offensive explosiveness and seventh in passing explosiveness and will now face potentially the worst FBS defense in all of college football.

Collin Wilson's UTEP vs. New Mexico State Guide

New Mexico State was one of the three FBS teams that decided not to play football last fall, but it did play two games in the spring against Tarleton State and Dixie State.

The Aggies barely squeezed by Dixie State, winning 36-29, but their defense allowed the Trailblazers to gain 5.6 yards per rush and 9.7 yards per pass attempt.

If you thought that was bad, NMSU lost to Tarleton State, 43-17, and allowed over 500 yards of total offense to a program that was in Division II in 2019.

Since New Mexico State didn't play a season last fall and we only have two horrendous spring games against FCS opponents to go off of, it's really hard to project how good it's going to be from an analytical standpoint in 2021.

However, everyone from the Aggies' 2019 front seven is gone, and their secondary has only eight career starts. So, if the games against Tarleton State and Dixie State are any indication, UTEP might hang 50 on the Aggies in Las Cruces.

I have UTEP projected as -11.78 favorites and for 37.85 points in the opener. I don't really like laying -10 on the road with a team that is 5-39 over the past four seasons.

However, I don't know how New Mexico State is going to stop UTEP's explosive offense. The Miners play Bethune Cookman in Week 1 as well, so there will be no looking ahead.

So, I love UTEP's team total of over 34 points. Let's all enjoy watching the scoreboard light up under the beautiful New Mexico night sky.

Pick: UTEP Team Total Over 34.

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