Where: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN
When: Saturday, September 15, 12:00 PM ET.
The UTEP Miners will be looking for their first win of the 2018 NCAA football season when they travel to Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Volunteers, who are hoping to contend for the SEC East title this year.
Miners Need To Work On Defensive Issues
The Miners haven’t done a good job defensively this season, which is one of the biggest reasons they haven’t won a game yet. UTEP gave up 30 points in their first game of the year and 52 points to UNLV in their last game. They will have a tough time getting a win this season if they can’t play better on defense.
Unfortunately, things aren’t looking up for the Miners because the Vols are a better team than their first two opponents were.
The Miners have struggled against the run this season, giving up 521 rushing yards and six touchdowns in two games. If they can’t do a better job running the ball, they will struggle against a Tennessee team that has rushed for 319 yards and six touchdowns in two games.
UTEP’s passing game has been non-existent so far, with the team throwing for 250 yards and three interceptions in two games. They have had success running the ball, rushing for 367 yards and four touchdowns in two games. If they can control the clock, they will have a better chance to win this game.
Volunteers Going For Second Consecutive Win
The Volunteers were able to bounce back from their embarrassing week 1 loss to the West Virginia Mountaineers with a blowout win over the Eastern Tennessee State. With their first win of the season out of the way, the Volunteers will be trying to work out the remaining kinks in their offense and defense as they prepare for SEC conference play, which starts a week after this game.
The Volunteers ran the ball well against Eastern Tennessee, and they will focus on running the ball when they face the Miners, who haven’t done a great job against the run this season.
Tennessee’s passing game was efficient against the Buccaneers, with Jarrett Guarantano and Keller Chryst completing 11 of 16 passes for 224 yards and one touchdown. The Miners defense played better against the pass last week, but they will likely struggle against the Vols on Saturday.
The Volunteers pass defense looked better against East Tennessee, after getting ripped for 429 yards and five touchdowns by the Mountaineers last week and they should be able to contain the Miners, who have struggled to pass the ball this season.
With the Florida Gators looming a week after their game against the Miners, the Volunteers have to avoid looking forward to their rivalry game if they don’t want to suffer an upset on Saturday.
- 2-0 ATS in their last 2 games vs UTEP.
- 10-4 Over last 14 after a SU win.
- 0-7 ATS in their last 7 vs. SEC.
- 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games.
- 0-6-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up loss.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Miners are overmatched in this game because they don’t have as much talent as the Volunteers do. They have struggled on the road, they have lost their last seven games to SEC teams, and their last game against the Volunteers ended 56-0, which is why Tennessee is the smart bet here.
Prediction: Tennessee Volunteers -29
Full-Game Total Pick
The Volunteers will score a lot of points against the Miners defense, which has given up 82 points in the first two games. The Miners will also be able to score at least seven points against a Vols defense, so expect the total to go over in this game.
Prediction: Over 47.5
Half-Time Side Pick
The Miners have been outscored in the first half of their first two games 55-20 by teams that aren’t as good as the Volunteers, who bounced back from their season-opening loss to West Virginia with a 59-3 win over Eastern Tennessee. Expect another easy first half win for the Volunteers.
Prediction: Tennessee Volunteers -18.5
Half-Time Total Bet
The Volunteers scored 38 points in the first half of last week’s game and they will likely repeat the feat against the Miners, who will be outclassed in this game. The Miners should also be able to manage at least a field goal in the first half of this game.
Prediction: Over 26