UTEP vs New Mexico State Picks and Predictions: Starting the Season on the Right Track

Two programs looking to rebound face off for Week 0 college football betting. But while the Aggies have many question marks, the Miners might be ready to dig them a hole right away. Find out who to back with our UTEP vs New Mexico State picks.

Chris Euksuzian
Last Updated: Aug 24, 2021 8:31 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Gavin Hardison UTEP Miners college football
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The New Mexico State Aggies have waited a long time for this season opener. NMSU was one of many programs hampered by the cancellations and overall uncertainty last season. 

“Week Zero” is here, and Saturday night we have two teams that are drooling with anticipation to start their seasons on the right foot. New Mexico State and the UTEP Miners are looking to use this clean slate to change their directions and Saturday night’s game will give them both a huge opportunity to do so.

Our New Mexico State vs. UTEP picks and predictions preview for Saturday, August 26 is here to break down what you need to know when handicapping the return of college football betting. 

UTEP vs New Mexico State game info

Location: Aggie Memorial Stadium, Las Cruces, NM
Date: Saturday, August 28, 2021
Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports AZ, FloFootball

UTEP vs New Mexico State odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

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Check out the full line movement for this game

UTEP vs New Mexico State betting preview

Weather

Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our NCAA football weather info.

Key injuries

UTEP: None
New Mexico State: None
Find our latest NCAA football injury reports.

Betting trend to know

Each of the last six night games for New Mexico State have gone Under the total points line, while the favorite has covered the spread in each of New Mexico State’s last seven games. Find more NCAA betting trends for UTEP vs. New Mexico State.

Against the spread (ATS) pick

The Aggies have won and covered as favorites in the last three meetings against the Miners. This year will be different and the line will be completely flipped in favor of UTEP. The Miners opened up as an 8.5-point road favorite in the home opener for the Aggies. 

The UTEP Miners finished last season 3-5 with plenty of room for improvement. With the returning experience, coach Dana Dimel is excited about his offense to start the 2021 season. Gavin Hardison will be starting at QB this season and coach Dimel loves the big arm his QB possesses. Hardison has a lot to be excited about because his two favorite WRs will be back this season. Justin Garrett and Jacob Cowing combined for 1,201 yards and 6 TDs in just 8 games last year. Along with a strong duo of wide receivers, the Miners also return their entire offensive line this year with a very solid running back group, led by Deion Hankins, who led the team in rushing, averaging about five yards a carry.

New Mexico State is a gigantic mystery this year after not playing in 2020. With very little experience on both sides of the ball and a whole lot of uncertainty, the Aggies look to be in rebuild mode, as evidenced by six significant players on defense transferring at the end of the 2019 season. 

The Aggies were 5-7 ATS in 2019, and during their most recent 2021 spring results they were 1-1 ATS with an outright loss to FCS Tarleton State. Versus Tarleton State, the Aggies were only able to rush for 54 yards (2-yard avg) and the starting QB Jonah Johnson threw for 187 yards with one TD and three interceptions.

This line is not only speaking to me here, it is screaming. This appears to be an imploded line, and rightfully so. The opening line for this game is UTEP -8.5 as road favorites. UTEP has not been favored over NMSU since 2016 when the Miners rolled the Aggies 38-22.  I love me a revenge game in college football and there is triple revenge on the mind of this experienced Miners football team. 

This line tells me that UTEP will want to make sure they get their revenge by demolishing the inexperienced Aggies. I will gladly take the UTEP Miners at the current line of -8.5 to take care of the Aggies and guarantee this experienced group will start their season in the right direction.

PREDICTION: UTEP -8.5 (-110)

Over/Under pick

The Over/Under for this game opened at 57.5 points. Since then, the line has dropped significantly to 54.5.  Jonah Johnson, the starting QB for the New Mexico State Aggies, has been dreadful in what we have seen thus far. His last two games (against FCS programs), he has averaged 179 passing yards and 0.5 TDs. This is alarming for the Over, and rightfully so. 

The UTEP Miners' experience will undoubtedly improve their offense and Coach Dimel is excited and ready to get this squad scoring. UTEP will be better offensively this season, but I do not believe the Aggies will comply on the other side of the field for this game to go over the number. The Miners like to keep possession on offense through their running game. The key stat for UTEP in 2020 was the time of possession. 

The Miners averaged 32:27 minutes of possession per game while their opponents averaged 27:19 minutes.  If the Miners can take control of this game early with the run game, they can control the clock and limit the possessions the Aggies would have on offense. 

Consequently, the Aggies have allowed 186.5 rushing yards on average in their last two games and in both games they have given up an average of 5 yards per carry. This allows the chains to move and keep that clock moving. This inexperienced defensive group is going to have many problems stopping a UTEP team returning its entire offensive line.

PREDICTION: Under 54.5 (-110)

UTEP vs New Mexico State betting card

  • UTEP -8.5 (-110)
  • Under 54.5 (-110)
NCAA parlays

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