North Texas vs. UTEP Odds, Picks, Predictions (8/27/22)

North Texas travels out to the West Texas town of EL Paso to face Miner Nation in this second-tier C-USA matchup. There are major questions for both teams, but both fanbases are pumped up considering the upside for both programs.

North Texas has won five straight games against UTEP, including two at Sun Bowl Stadium. The Miners stormed out to a 6-1 start in 2021 but couldn’t get past their Mean Green boogie monster.

Can the Miners do it this year? Or will the Mean Green continue to roll?

Read on for the North Texas vs UTEP betting odds, alongside our picks and predictions for the matchup.

North Texas vs. UTEP Odds

The North Texas-UTEP lines opened at the same spot they closed for last year’s matchup. As we know, North Texas pulled out a low-scoring, three-point victory to cash UNT and the under.

Sharp money is pouring in on the under, while UTEP has seen some reverse line movement.

Let’s dissect this matchup a bit deeper before throwing money at it.

North Texas vs. UTEP Prediction & Pick

Both teams lose key contributors on offense.

North Texas was one of the dominant ground attacks in the nation last season, finishing fifth in total rushing with over 230 yards per game. But DeAndre Torrey is gone, and he finished last season with over 1200 yards on five yards per carry and as PFF’s 80th-ranked halfback.

UTEP loses an explosive-play machine in WR Jacob Cowing, who totaled over 1300 yards on less than 70 catches last season.

But there’s a difference.

The Mean Green return four starters on the offensive line with 106 career starts after finishing in the top-30 in Offensive Line Yards last season. While Torrey is gone, the next five rushing yard leaders on the team return. Those guys combined for close to 1400 yards on the ground last season and they will be led by the top offensive line in C-USA.

UTEP returns QB Gavin Hardison, but he didn’t just lose Cowing. Second-leading receiver Justin Garrett is gone, too, and his 700 yards and 50 receptions will be missed.

But North Texas is putting its ground attack up against a UTEP defense that returns eight starters, eight of its top-10 tacklers, and the best front seven in the C-USA.

After the last five games, I lean North Texas. But I think the much stronger play is the under. North Texas will continue to establish the run, but they’ll have a tough time doing so against the UTEP front. Conversely, the Miners have zero explosiveness anymore.

North Texas vs. UTEP Key Matchups

Key Matchup No. 1: North Texas Backfield vs UTEP Linebackers

This is the only matchup that matters in this game.

Torrey was an electric factory, having picked up 650 yards after contact last season (31st among HBs) and producing 27 rushes of 10+ yards (30th among HBs). He could elude second-level tacklers with the best of them.

Now, I expect the trenches to be a wash in this game. These are the two best fronts in the conference.

But UTEP has an elite linebacker core. Three of the top four linebackers from last season are back from a squad that finished top-30 in Defensive Rush Success Rate.

There is plenty of experience in the Mean Green backfield, but they need to collectively create as well as Torrey did because I fully expect UTEP to plug the holes.

Whoever wins this battle wins the football game.

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Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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