New Mexico Bowl Predictions: BYU vs. UTEP Odds and Betting Picks
by Robert Ferringo - 12/15/2010
Those wacky Mormons are finally leaving Las Vegas.
After five straight years of playing in the Las Vegas Bowl, BYU will meet UTEP at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18 at University Stadium in Albuquerque, NM for the New Mexico Bowl. This is the sixth straight bowl game for the Cougars, but it’s their first time playing in the postseason outside of Sin City since 2001.
For UTEP, this is their first bowl game of any sort since getting demolished by Toledo back in 2005 in the GMAC Bowl.
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Both of these teams enter the game at 6-6, so the winner will at least be able to salvage a winning season. The Cougars, out of the Mountain West, are heavy favorites to achieve that seventh win over the Miners, who hail from Conference USA.
Each team was among the preseason favorites to win their respective conferences so this game is definitely a bit of an afterthought. However, both teams will want to end a somewhat disappointing season on a high and there really is no such thing as a bad bowl win.
BYU is 3-2 straight up and against the spread in its last five bowl games, beating Oregon State last year in Vegas as three-point underdogs. After a slow start to this season the Cougars enter the bowl season as one of the hotter teams in the country. They have won four of their last five games and are on a nice 6-1 ATS push. That has helped quell the discontent from a 1-4 start that reached a season low point on Oct. 1 with a loss to lowly Utah State.
UTEP has experienced the opposite results. The Miners started the season 5-1 and looked like a legit contender in CUSA. But they closed the season winning only one of their final six games. They have been subpar on both sides of the ball this season, with the No. 71 ranked offense in the country backed by the No. 83 overall defense.
Both teams have had three weeks to prepare and there are no major injuries on either side. The weather shouldn’t be a factor, with temperatures expected to be in the mid-50s.
New Mexico Bowl Betting Odds: BYU vs. UTEP
The Cougars are hefty -11.5 favorites in this contest, according to college football odds. They opened at -12 and have taken over two-thirds of all of the action in this game but the line has ducked down. The Total is a solid 50.0, up from an open of 49.0.
New Mexico Bowl Betting Trends: BYU vs. UTEP
Miners are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. MWC.
Miners are 8-21 ATS in their last 29 games following an ATS win.
Cougars are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
Cougars are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in December.
Cougars are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
Cougars are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games.
New Mexico Bowl Predictions: BYU vs. UTEP Betting Picks
It’s always tough to bet against these wacky Mormons. And I think that a lot of things are lining up for a big win for the Cougars. UTEP has been a sinking ship, shackled by poor quarterback play for the last two months. They are a team that loves to throw the ball and will be going up against one of the better secondaries (BYU is No. 21 in pass defense) in college football. The Miners are going off surface -- this game will be played on grass -- and I haven’t seen much from them that makes me think they are a live dog.
BYU has definitely had trouble scoring this year (No. 80 in points scored), and that would make the 11.5 points seem like a lot to cover. But they have averaged 40 points per game in their last four. Now that rookie QB Jake Heaps has some experience behind him the Cougars can move the football. They are the much better team from the much better conference and I think their age, experience, and overall talent will be too much for UTEP.
Robert Ferringo is a writer and a professional NFL and college football handicapper for Doc’s Sports. He picked up over $13,000 in profit for his dime bettors last weekend and will have a trio of 7-Unit Plays available this bowl season. You can sign up for his college football and NFL picks and get more information here.
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