On Wednesday (10/18/23), New Mexico State faces UTEP in a Conference USA matchup. In this article, find a full matchup preview and the latest betting odds for the game. In addition, find our best bet which is New Mexico State -2.5.
New Mexico State Vs. UTEP Prediction
These two C-USA teams will look to build on last week’s success, and while it will be tough to catch Liberty atop the conference, New Mexico State needs just two more wins for bowl eligibility with a current 4-3 record. I believe they get one of those two wins here against UTEP.
New Mexico State’s biggest strength is its run game, specifically with quarterback Diego Pavia. Pavia leads the team with 523 rushing yards at an impressive 7.5 YPC clip, and that will play here – UTEP ranks 115th in rushing EPA per play allowed. Star Thomas has also been a big factor with 20 missed tackles forced on just 59 rushing attempts.
Staying ahead of the sticks will be important for the Aggies here. UTEP’s pass rush was very impressive last week as they registered a whopping 31 pressures and ten sacks against FIU per PFF. FIU’s offensive line has been terrible, but New Mexico State’s hasn’t been much better – they’re 115th in PFF pass blocking grades.
UTEP quarterback Gavin Hardison remains sidelined, and it sounds like Cade McConnell will get another start here. McConnell’s downfield passing came as a surprise last week – he completed 4 of 7 20+ yard throws for 197 yards and two touchdowns. That’s a week after completing just 4 of 11 passes for 48 yards against Louisiana Tech.
The unknown with McConnell creates some variance in this game, but New Mexico State’s offense is the far more known quantity. I like New Mexico State at anything under a field goal in this game, and I’ll be looking for live trading opportunities to get UTEP at +6.5 or better depending on how McConnell looks in his second start.
New Mexico State Vs. UTEP Prediction: New Mexico State -2.5
New Mexico State Vs. UTEP Best Odds
The odds for this game have jumped around, with New Mexico State now favored by 2.5 points after opening as 1.5-point favorites. Keep in mind that the number 3 is crucial for football spreads as more games land on that number than any other.
New Mexico State Vs. UTEP Key Matchups
When New Mexico State faces UTEP in this C-USA game, there will be some individual matchups carrying a ton of weight in determining the final score. Let’s take a look at New Mexico State quarterback Diego Pavia, who I believe will lead his team to a win.
Diego Pavia Vs. UTEP’s Defense
When he isn’t doing unsavory things off the field, Diego Pavia is capable of making big plays both through the air and on the ground. He’ll create issues for a UTEP defense ranked outside the top 100 in explosiveness allowed on the ground and through the air.
Pavia is coming off an electric game against Sam Houston State where he completed 3 passes of 20+ yards, all of which were deemed big-time throws by PFF. He also ran for 129 yards and a score in that game, forcing six missed tackles in the process. UTEP will need to constantly account for him in this game or he will torch their vulnerable defense.
Diego Pavia’s got the wheels 💨💨 pic.twitter.com/KAB87Lbz5W
— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) October 12, 2023