UTEP vs BYU Spread Line and Predictions for New Mexico Bowl

The UTEP Miners and the BYU Cougars get together in the New Mexico Bowl in a battle of 6-6 teams. After a disappointing start, BYU is hoping to close out its last season in the Mountain West Conference on a high note.

BYU (6-6), which will become an independent in 2011, lost four straight following a season-opening 23-17 win over Washington. However, the Cougars are going to their sixth straight bowl game after winning five of seven. The Cougars failed to register a winning regular campaign for the first time since 2004 after falling to then-No. 23 Utah 17-16 on Nov. 27. The Miners, who have sported a 5-7 mark in postseason play, are looking forward to their first bowl game since losing to Toledo 45-13 in the GMAC Bowl on Dec. 21, 2005. UTEP ranks 15th in the country with a 48.8 third-down conversion rate and has committed 18 turnovers – which is good for 33rd-fewest in the nation. Trevor Vittatoe holds the school record for passing yards (12,194) and passing touchdowns (94), but he’s averaging 155.6 yards and has thrown eight interceptions in his last six games.Vittatoe completed eight of 22 passes for a season-low 100 yards in a 31-28 loss to Tulsa on Nov. 20, and he could be in for another long day against a Cougars defense surrendering 187.8 yards per game though the air — tied for the 21st-lowest mark in the FBS.

Putting it nicely, UTEP is struggling as they come into this game. As if it isn’t bad enough to be rewarded a bowl berth after going 3-5 in the atrocious Conference USA, UTEP is having trouble tackling any and everyone. Their last two games, away to Tulsa and Arkansas, they gave up 89 points. With an effort like that, it could be a long day against a BYU team who is starting to find their stride. While BYU may only be 46th in the country in rushing, it’ll help they are going against a UTEP that is 89th in their ability to stop the run. It should be a major story line.

For BYU, it’s the end of what has been a promising couple of months. After a 31-3 drubbing at TCU on October 16th, BYU’s record was 2-5. It’s a testament to how well they have played lately that they have gotten back to .500 and clinched a bowl game, even if it’s in New Mexico and the crowd should be less than 30,000. Prior to their closing day loss to rivals Utah (17-16), BYU’s offense had gone rip-roaring against a trio of sad conference opponents. In three wins over New Mexico, Colorado State and UNLV, BYU scored 144 points. Look for that to continue against a UTEP team who comes limping into a game.

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UTEP vs. BYU Spread, Line and Betting Odds:

Spread:

UTEP +11
Vs. BYU -11

Game Total:

Over (-110)
50
Under (-110)

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UTEP vs. BYU Predictions for New Mexico Bowl:

Spread Prediction (Top Play) – While it can’t be anything but stupid to call a game a “lock”, we really like BYU’s chances here. They have confidence, an offense that has been on fire, and they are going up against a bad team from a bad conference that is highlighted by a bad defense—which sadly overshadows a school record-breaker at quarterback. UTEP simply doesn’t have the athletes to slow down BYU and we think it can be a long, long day for Miner fans.

Spread Prediction (Top Play) = BYU -11

Game Total Prediction – Should BYU’s offense continue to roll and Vittatoe and company find a rhythm this is the kind of bowl game that could have people asking “Did you see that BYU-UTEP game?” It could be that kind of powerful excitement. While the odds are certainly on BYU, there is no reason to think both teams can’t light up the scoreboard.

Top Play Prediction = Over 50

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