Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#205 Louisiana Tech vs.
#206 UTEP
Saturday, October 16, 2021 at 9:00pm EDT
Written by Chris King

A pair of teams from Conference USA lock up on the gridiron in a West Division matchup down in the Lone Star State. The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs are on the road as they make the trip to face the UTEP Miners Saturday night. Louisiana Tech was off last week: they were beaten 34-27 on the road by #23 NC State but covered as a 17.5-point underdog back on October 2 in their most recent game. UTEP went on the road and beat Southern Miss 26-13 as a one-point favorite in their most recent contest last Saturday. The Bulldogs own a commanding 12-1 advantage in the all-time series between the teams and have taken the last eight matchups. That includes a 21-17 victory at home in the most recent matchup on October 10, 2020, though the Miners covered as a 10.5-point underdog.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Looking to Earn Road Victory

Louisiana Tech has had two weeks to prepare after having an off week last week. The Bulldogs gave NC State all they wanted and then some before falling in their previous game. That leaves the Bulldogs 2-3 overall and 1-0 in Conference USA action on the year. Against NC State, Louisiana Tech found itself tied at 10 late in the first half before giving up a field goal with two seconds to play before intermission. The Bulldogs, despite hanging around, never got even again and ended up a touchdown short on the scoreboard. Louisiana Tech held a 480-418 edge in total offense, picked up 26 first downs while allowing 23 and held a 30:41 to 29:19 edge in time of possession in the loss. They did turn the ball over twice while failing to record a takeaway in the game.

For the season, the Bulldogs are 27th in the nation in passing offense with an average of 283.4 yards per contest while they stand 94th in the nation in rushing offense with 129.8 yards per game. Louisiana Tech is 38th in the FBS in scoring offense with an average of 33.4 points per contest while they are a dismal 111th in scoring defense by allowing 33.4 points per game. Austin Kendall is 89 of 145 passing for 1,178 yards with 10 touchdowns against five interceptions while ranking second on the team with 169 rushing yards plus three scores. Aaron Allen (15 of 20, 136 yards) and JD Head (five of 10, 70 yards, TD) have seen limited action under center. Marcus Williams Jr. is the lead back in the ground game with 77 carries for 317 yards and two scores. Smoke Harris leads the team with 27 receptions for 244 yards plus a score on the year. Tre Harris (18 receptions, team-high 267 yards, three TD), Bub Means (14 grabs, 254 yards, two TD) and Samuel Emilus (13 catches, 215 yards, two TD) are each over 200 receiving yards on the season. Jacob Barnes has hit all 20 extra-point attempts and seven of eight field-goal attempts with a long of 47.

UTEP Miners Seek Fourth Straight Win

UTEP has been a pleasant surprise this season as they rang up their third straight win by beating Southern Miss on the road last week. The Miners improved to 5-1 overall and are 2-0 in Conference USA play: by way of comparison, the team was 5-39 combined between 2017 and 2020. Against Southern Miss, UTEP was even after one quarter but kept Southern Miss off the scoreboard again until just over two minutes remained in the game. The Miners reeled off 19 unanswered points in between to take a 26-7 advantage en route to the win. UTEP owned a 392-254 advantage in total offense, held a 30:48 to 29:12 edge in time of possession and forced two turnovers while committing one. They also recorded a safety, helping overshadow being edged 17-16 in first downs.

The Miners are 88th in the nation in passing offense with an average of 212.5 yards per game this season. UTEP was 51st in rushing offense as they pick up an average of 175.3 yards per contest on the year. The Miners are 86th of 130 FBS teams to see action this season in scoring offense as they muster up 25.8 points a game. UTEP is 41st in scoring defense by allowing 22 points a contest. Gavin Hardison is 72 of 129 passing for 1,266 yards with eight touchdowns and six interceptions this season. Calvin Brownholtz is one of six for nine yards with an interception plus 66 rushing yards along with a score on the year. Ronald Awatt leads the team in rushing with 78 carries for 445 yards and three scores. Deion Hankins (60 carries, 196 yards, three TD), Willie Eldridge (23 carries, 123 yards) and Reynaldo Flores (19 carries, 103 yards) have each cracked the century mark on the ground. Jacob Cowing (26 receptions, 609 yards, four TD) leads the team in receptions and receiving yards on the year. Justin Garrett (18 catches, 305 yards, two TD) is next in line and Tyrin Smith (10 catches, 172 yards, TD) is a solid third option. Gavin Baechle is 16 of 16 on extra points and 11 of 14 on field goals with a long of 44 this season.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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Louisiana Tech is 2-3 on the season but they’ve hung tough in all of their games. The Bulldogs lost by one against Mississippi State as they melted down in the fourth quarter, by two against SMU and then by seven to NC State. With that said, you have to be concerned about Louisiana Tech actually closing out a game when it’s hanging in the balance. UTEP has as many wins in six games this season as they had in the last four seasons combined. Dana Dimel has gotten the most out of his team so far and they are tough on both sides of the ball. Louisiana Tech may come up with the victory in this contest but it’s one that goes down to the wire. Give the edge to the Miners with the points at home in a tight game.

Prediction: UTEP Miners +6.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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Louisiana Tech likes high-scoring affairs as the numbers bear out this season. The Bulldogs have gone over the mark in four of their five games on the year with three of those games exceeding the mark by double figures. Louisiana Tech has seen the over go 6-1 in Bulldogs last 7 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game and 6-1 in their last seven against teams with a winning record. The over has hit in three of the last four meetings between the teams entering this one and in four of the last five meetings in El Paso. Look for this one to wind up going over the mark with an entertaining contest.

Prediction: Over 56.5
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Written By Chris King , "Chris King"

Chris King has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO.  If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well, as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career.  Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.