NCAA Football Predictions Against The Spread - UTEP Will Overpower Army This Saturday September 17

UTEP Miners 2 players running during a game

Friday, September 16, 2016 2:42 PM GMT

UTEP is a live home dog and a bad matchup for Army, our handicapping expert takes a look at the previous games' stats and provides the best angle for this game.

Saturday night's game in El Paso will be played with heavy hearts on the Army Black Knights sideline. Sophomore cornerback Brandon Jackson passed away early Sunday morning in a car accident. Army is going ahead with the scheduled game and coach Todd Monken referenced the tough time for the team and how hard it is to get focused on a tough opponent. Army also has a tough travel spot flying a far distance to southwest Texas. The Black Knights are 2-0 straight up and against the spread, but the Miners present a really hard matchup for the service academy both from a personnel standpoint as well as a scheduling angle.

UTEP has dealt with major injuries for the last couple years. It has really hurt the program's performance, ever since the 2014 season the Miners have had issues getting their best players on the field. For almost the entirety of last year, UTEP played with their backup running backs and reserve quarterbacks. Last week, UTEP went toe to toe with Texas in Austin. The Miners trailed late in the second quarter 10-7, before giving way to the Big 12 title contenders. Aaron Jones recorded north of 100 yards on the ground in the first half, before being taken out of the game the whole second half to avoid injury. This UTEP offensive line is one of,if not the best, offensive line in Conference USA. The offense should have the starting quarterback Zack Greenlee back this week after sitting out last week. This is the time to make sure to visit SBR's list of top rated books and take advantage of some of their very attractive cash bonuses.

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Army is off to their best start in 20 years. Sitting at 2-0, a big reason why is Army hasn't turned the ball over yet and is fifth in the nation in turnover margin (plus-2.5 per game across the board) a year after being 113th. The triple option led attack has performed well, but the outlier turnover numbers are overdue for regression. They will be going up against the toughest defense UTEP has put together in quite some time. The Miners definitely turned some heads and raised some eyebrows against Texas. Despite allowing 41 points, the defense stopped Texas twice as they were threatening near the goal line and forced field goals. The linebacker core halted the Texas run game and only allowed big pass plays from the Longhorns late in the game. “Defensively, I thought it was a very good effort,” Kugler said, “It was a step forward even though the final score didn't indicate that there were a lot of things to be pleased from it.”

The Black Knights face their first tough travel spot of the season, combine that with the fact they will be facing an NFL caliber running back behind a very solid offensive line and the Army defense will likely show its first sign of fatigue. This Army defensive front has played well YTD, but is vastly undersized, which each of their first two opponents were not able to exploit. Temple was shorthanded and Rice has yet to show a heartbeat this season. The Miners should be able to contain the Army triple option just enough to come out on top. I recommend taking the home dog Saturday night in El Paso.

Free NCAAF Pick: UTEP +4 (-110)
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