College Football Odds, Picks: 2 Wednesday Bets for UTEP vs. New Mexico State, FIU vs. Sam Houston

College Football Odds, Picks: 2 Wednesday Bets for UTEP vs. New Mexico State, FIU vs. Sam Houston article feature image

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  • It's a Wednesday night in mid-October, which means we have college football action to look forward to tonight.
  • Our writers came through with betting previews and picks for UTEP vs. New Mexico State and FIU vs. Sam Houston on Wednesday night.
  • Check out both of our Wednesday night college football breakdowns below.

The second of five straight days of college football continues Wednesday with two Conference USA clashes.

Our college football writers came through with in-depth betting previews for both FIU vs. Sam Houston and New Mexico State vs. UTEP, and they each made a pick based on their analysis.

Before we know it, Wednesday nights won't be full of football. So, let's make the most of it while they are.

Take advantage of our PointsBet promo code and use your bonus for Wednesday night college football!

Wednesday College Football Betting Previews

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college football betting staff is targeting from Wednesday's slate of games. Click on the team logos for any of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

GameTime (ET)Pick
7 p.m. ET
9 p.m. ET
Specific betting recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

FIU vs. Sam Houston

Wednesday, Oct. 18
7 p.m. ET ET
CBS Sports Network
Sam Houston -5

By Cody Goggin

FIU will travel to Sam Houston for a Wednesday night CUSA matchup.

These two teams are both rated as some of the worst in FBS to this point in the season, but there's one team I believe is being undervalued due to its strength of schedule, giving us some potential value in the spread.

Let’s take a look at my preview and best bet for FIU vs. Sam Houston on Wednesday night.

Florida International Panthers

FIU has had a tough go of it this season, particularly on offense, as it's been one of the worst teams in FBS yet again. Its overall record may look OK at 3-4, but this team's two FBS wins have come over North Texas and UConn. Both of those squads rank 99th or lower in SP+ and have defenses that rank 125th or worse.

Even with a relatively easy schedule, the Panthers rank 117th in Offensive Success Rate, 125th in Finishing Drives and 127th in Havoc. Their offense is rated as the 118th-best unit in the country by SP+.

While FIU throws the ball more than it runs, it's been worse through the air. FIU sits 120th in Passing Success Rate compared to 76th on the ground. The rushing attack for FIU has been explosive this season (22nd) even if it's been disappointing on a down-to-down basis.

This offense has been a mess when it gets out of standard downs. In passing downs, the Panthers are 126th in Offensive Success Rate and 111th in PPA, compared to 97th and 88th in those two categories on standard downs.

Defensively, FIU comes in at 54th in Success Rate and 30th in Finishing Drives. It's buoyed by its passing defense, which ranks 38th in Success Rate and 59th in PPA.

Allowing explosive plays has been an issue for this unit, which ranks 93rd in explosiveness allowed and 112th in passing explosiveness allowed.

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Sam Houston Bearkats

While I thought Sam Houston would get it done last week against New Mexico State, I was very wrong. The Bearkats offense posted a higher Success Rate than NMSU, but three turnovers on downs and a missed field goal kept SHSU from hanging around.

This offense has been putrid this season, ranking 132nd in Success Rate, 126th in Finishing Drives and 112th in explosiveness. However, as I noted last week, it's played a fairly tough schedule of opposing defenses.

Sam Houston showed life against a bad NMSU defense that's comparable to FIU's, posting a Success Rate in the 53rd percentile and averaging 5.39 yards per play. While these aren’t numbers to write home about, but it was better than what it's shown most of this year, which leads me to believe it could have a similar performance this week.

The Bearkats defense has carried them to this point, ranking 61st in Success Rate and 67th in Finishing Drives. Despite their abysmal rating on offense, they have the 72nd-best defense in the country, according to SP+.

The strength of this defense has been against the run, where it ranks 47th in Success Rate. However, it still ranks a solid 76th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed.

FIU vs Sam Houston

Betting Pick & Prediction

I still believe Sam Houston is better than its season-long numbers show due to its strength of schedule. While things didn’t quite go the Bearkats' way last week, I think they'll pick up their first FBS win over FIU and cover while doing so.

SHSU has a legitimate defense that will be able to shut down FIU’s offense. On the other side of the ball, the Panthers’ 120th-ranked defense will be one of the weaker units that the Bearkats have faced this year, leading to some offensive success.

I like Sam Houston to break its losing streak and cover this five-point spread in front of its home crowd.

New Mexico State vs. UTEP

Wednesday, Oct. 18
9 p.m. ET ET
New Mexico State -3

By Eric Caselton

Week 8 brings us a Wednesday night matchup in El Paso, Texas, at Sun Bowl Stadium when the UTEP Miners welcome the New Mexico State Aggies.

New Mexico State enters this week at 4-3 overall after winning two straight weeks following a road loss at Hawaii.

UTEP enters this week with a lot of momentum after picking up its first conference win of the year last week with a victory over FIU a team New Mexico State defeated earlier in the year as well.

The Aggies sit at 2-1 in conference play, while the Miners come in at 1-2. A win here for UTEP could help it catch NMSU in the conference standings as it continues to build on the momentum from last week.

Can UTEP return home and get its first home conference win this week? Let's dive into the New Mexico State vs. UTEP odds and make a pick and prediction in this Wednesday NCAAF betting preview for Oct. 18.

New Mexico State Aggies

Head coach Jerry Kill brings this Aggie team into El Paso looking to remain competitive in Conference USA as they chase the Liberty Flames.

The Aggies joined the conference this offseason and are looking to make some waves in their first year. However, this one figures to be another tough conference road test for the Aggies after they lost to Liberty on the road earlier in the year.

New Mexico State's offense is led by dual-threat junior quarterback Diego Pavia, who does it all for this team at a very efficient rate. He has 14 touchdowns through the air with another two on the ground to go along with more than 2,000 yards of total offense.

Pavia is special and will need to be good again in this one to help his team roll.

The Aggies rank 16th in the country in Offensive Success Rate and are especially explosive through the air at eighth nationally in passing explosiveness. They should be able to put points up in a hurry if they go down early and need to pass.

This team also loves to run the ball, ranking 33rd in rush rate. It tends to capitalize on those runs as well, sitting fourth in Rushing Success Rate and third in Offensive Lone Yards. Star Thomas leads the running back room with 4.7 yards per carry on 60 rushes.

Second-year defensive coordinator Nate Dreiling has taken the reins of this New Mexico State defense that struggles to get stops defensively. The Aggies currently sit at 106th in Defensive Success Rate, and it has a better run defense than pass defense.

The bright spots for this defense are its ability to cause Havoc (37th) and prevent explosive plays (47th). The Aggie defense will need to come up big in this one and force a few turnovers to make up for its inability to get off the field.

UTEP Miners

The Miners are finally in the conference win column after a nice road victory over FIU in Miami. Now, they return home and look to pick up win No. 2 over conference newcomer New Mexico State.

Head coach Dana Dimel will look to keep this team motivated and moving in the right direction after a four-game losing streak earlier in the season.

UTEP used its fourth quarterback of the season last week with Cade McConnell getting his first career start. He looked pretty solid and threw for 262 yards and two touchdowns without any interceptions. He was later knocked out of the game, so quarterback controversy arrives again in El Paso.

First-stringer Gavin Hardison looks to start again at quarterback if he's available for this one, but he's thrown five touchdowns and seven interceptions this season, which is worrying against a team that has the ability to make big plays on the defensive side of the ball.

The Miners will need good quarterback play because they simply aren’t good enough on offense. They rank 98th in the country in Offensive Success Rate while averaging 17.7 points per game. They will need to score more than that in order to keep pace with the talented Aggies offense.

The glaring weakness for this UTEP team defensively is its struggles against the run. This does not bode well against an Aggies team that loves to run the ball — and runs the ball extremely well. The Miners rank 109th defensively against the run and cannot stop big plays on the ground, ranking 101st in defensive run explosiveness.

The pass defense is much better, but New Mexico State runs the ball on over 57% of its plays.

For the Miners to stay in this game, it will need to sell out to stop the run early and force New Mexico State into an early deficit so it has to throw against this pass defense that ranks 34th nationally.

New Mexico State vs UTEP

Betting Pick & Prediction

This game should be better than most expect given that UTEP is 1-1 against New Mexico State in their last two meetings.

The Aggies' run game and quarterback play with Pavia are just too good, and they should be able to dominate the time of possession in this one.

I don’t think the Aggies blow out the Miners with their steady run game, but they should win this one by at least a touchdown. Give me New Mexico State up to -4.

Pick: New Mexico State -3 (Play to -4)
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