UTEP vs. FIU kicks off this Wednesday at 7:30pm EST in Miami Florida as a home game for the Panthers. UTEP is currently a -1 favorite and -110 on the moneyline while the total is set at 44.5. Read on for more UTEP vs. FIU best bets and predictions as the Panthers look to clear their win total with an outright win over the Miners.
UTEP Vs. FIU Prediction & Best Bet
The best time of the year has finally arrived. Say what you want about March, but the sheer fact that there are midweek football games being played on the TV gives October more than enough of an edge. One of those games includes a Conference USA showdown this Wednesday between the UTEP Miners and Florida International Panthers.
Even at 3-3, the FIU Panthers have been a relatively surprise team this early in the season as they have already matched their preseason win total. They were a popular over pick during the course of the offseason, opening at a flat three and getting bet up to a heavily juiced 3.5. In fact, if it wasn’t for an early blown lead to Louisiana Tech to start the season then this team would have already cashed the over.
As for how the Panthers have exceeded preseason expectations, that can be pointed towards their defense as they grade relatively well in that department. As a whole, FIU ranks 54th in Def Success Rate and 33rd in Def Points per Opportunity. They limit the amount gained for its situation, forcing offenses to convert at a longer distance which creates stalled out drives and early outs. They also excel at defending the red zone as their Points per Opportunity metric suggests.
Speaking of the Miners, it has been anything but pretty for this squad to start the season. They have started the year 1-5 and grade well into the red in almost every advanced metric. UTEP’s offense ranks 74th in Off Points per Opportunity, 102nd in Success Rate, 87th in Explosiveness, and 78th in Havoc Allowed.
While FIU’s offense does not grade out much better, they get the advantage with their ability to limit UTEP’s points on the board while facing a defense that will be unable to capitalize on the Panthers inability to protect the ball. This gives FIU a better chance at sustaining drives, getting higher quality scoring opportunities against a UTEP defense that ranks 110th in Def Points per Opportunity.
UTEP Vs. FIU Prediction & Best Bet: FIU ML
UTEP Vs. FIU Betting Odds
As for who will win this game, the spread has taken massive swings after oddsmakers opened the UTEP Miners as a -2.5 favorite. That is a steep decline from the lookahead line, originally being set at -6.5. The line movement didn’t stop at the reopening as bettors flipped the script by hammering the Panthers from +2.5 to as low as -1 in some shops. With key defensive advantages, it will be up to the FIU offense to set a scoring pace that is too fast for UTEP to keep up with.
Speaking of offense, points are expected to be scored at a moderate pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 48.5. Bettors believe points will be scored at a far slower pace, betting the under down to as low as 44.5 as of writing. Crossing through the key number of 45 with the potential to go even lower, expect plenty of stalled out drives from both units as this shapes up to be an ugly one.
UTEP Vs. FIU Key Matchups
Can FIU’s Keyone Jenkins find success through the air against the Miners secondary?
Keyone Jenkins Vs. UTEP Secondary
After exiting last week’s game, Jenkins now comes into this one listed as probable with indicators pointing towards playing. He hasn’t exactly wowed anyone, currently throwing for 1,258 yards, five touchdowns, and six interceptions. He’s also added another 88 yards and three touchdowns with his legs, bringing a versatile presence when under center.
A little stutter step and he’s in!
— Conference USA (@ConferenceUSA) October 5, 2023
While consistency has been an issue, Jenkins serves as the Panthers best option of taking advantage of a weak Miner defense. Especially with his legs, taking advantage of a Miners second level who struggles with keeping production in front of them. Factor in his ability to successfully scramble against a shortened field when inside the 10, and the Panthers should have no issue with taking advantage of scoring opportunities.