College Football Week 1 Picks: UTEP Miners vs. New Mexico Lobos

UTEP Miners vs. New Mexico Lobos
Saturday, 8/30/14, 8:00 p.m. ET
Opening Point Spread:  New Mexico -6.5
Current Betting Line:  New Mexico -6.5
Opening Total:  N/A
Current Total:  N/A
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes

The New Mexico Lobos will try to throw the ball more in 2014
The New Mexico Lobos will try to throw the ball more in 2014

UTEP welcomes back 15 starters this season, as it looks to improve upon its 3-15 SU mark in its last 18 games in Albuquerque, which is important to consider when making your Week 1 college football picks.  The Miners were unable to move past the loss of quarterback Jameill Showers, who had his first season on campus cut short due to a shoulder injury, but the transfer was able to produce 15 total touchdowns.  UTEP is 0-6 ATS in its last six games away from the Sun Bowl.

The Miners certainly cleaned house under second-year head coach Sean Kugler, with 27 different players leaving the program before and during his arrival, but all eyes will be on Conference-USA All-Freshman honoree Aaron Jones.  He compiled 811 yards on 155 carries and four touchdowns in nine games.  On the other side of the football, UTEP is fortunate to open this year versus a run-oriented opponent, as it managed to total just three interceptions in 2013.

New Mexico earned a 42-35 overtime victory over UTEP as seven-point road underdogs last year—winning the statistical battle by a 483-402 margin in that affair.  The home team is 5-2 SU in the last seven overall meetings in this series, which is hard to ignored when looking over the college football odds page.  Bob Davie returns for his third year and welcomes back 13 overall starters, while the program is back to having 85 scholarship players for the first time since 2006.  New Mexico has failed to cover the number in its last four August affairs.

The Lobos lose their top option in the backfield from a season ago, but they already had plenty of depth, with six players returning that ran for 230-plus yards.  New Mexico will need to put the ball in the air a bit more in hopes of producing a winning record during the 2014 campaign, which is certainly possible with Davie having his deepest group of signal-callers since he stepped on campus.

Sports bettors will likely back the Lobos due to their 4-1 ATS mark in their five games as home favorites since 2012.

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