UTEP Miners vs. Florida Atlantic Owls Betting Preview – March 10, 2021

By Dean McHugh in College Basketball
| March 10, 2021 7:11 am PDT

The Miners look to tunnel their way past Florida Atlantic in this CUSA second-round matchup. Not much separated these teams in the regular season as UTEP finished tenth and Florida Atlantic ninth, making for a competitive game tonight. They both won precisely 12 games each; who will make it lucky 13 tonight?

The Owls have enjoyed the better of things between them recently by winning the previous three matches. Although they won the last home fixture against the Miners, UTEP had won the last three games played at the Ford Center.

Let’s look at the betting trends for each team, and then I will provide my Miners vs. Owls betting prediction.

Miners vs. Owls Match Odds

Miners -3.5-110
Owls +3.5-110
Miners To Win-168
Owls To Win+145
Over 136.5 Points-110
Under 136.5 Points-110 

I’m slightly surprised by the odds for this one. I knew the betting would be close, but if anyone was going to be favorites, I thought it might have been the Owls seen as they finished the season marginally higher placed than the Miners, and they have a good record against them recently. However, it would appear that the bookmakers disagree with this seen as the spread has increased by two points since the betting opened. The points total looks perhaps a couple of points higher than expected but nothing too drastically out of the ordinary.

The Miners have an excellent record as the favorites this season, having only lost two of the nine games they have played as such. In contrast, the Owls have only won one game all season as the underdogs, but this may not matter tonight with the betting being so close.

Miners Preview

UTEP had a four-game unbeaten run ended by Kansas last time out. However, they were heavy outsiders to win that match, and they put up a decent fight going down by five points. Although they can take encouragement from the performance, they will have been desperately disappointed to have let a 14 point halftime lead slip through their hands.

The Miners have an awful record on the road, having won twice from their 11 Road trips this season. This includes losing the last six in a row, so the odds of winning this game are stacked against them.

Here are the latest betting trends for UTEP:

  • They have won their previous five games in a row against the spread.
  • The Miners have lost four of the last five matches against the spread when facing tonight’s opponents.
  • UTEP is 4-8 in their previous 12 matches played in March.
  • They have only lost one of their last five games played on a Wednesday.
  • Four of the previous six games that they have entered as the betting favorite have gone under the points total.

There is very little to go on here other than their form has picked up over the last couple of weeks. However, I wouldn’t get too excited about that as they haven’t beaten any decent teams.

The Miners have a poor offense let down by a field goal percentage of only 42% this season.

That’s not even the bad news. The bad news is their attack is even worse on the road averaging eight points less per game.

Let’s look at the positives, as there aren’t too many to get through; it won’t take very long. Their biggest asset in attack is how they hold on to the ball and dictate the pace of the game. Although this is an attacking trait, it has helped their defense as the longer their opponents spend without the ball, the less damage they can do against them.

Thankfully for UTEP, their defense is good and has conceded 68 points per game on average. Their marking hasn’t always been the best, especially around the three-point range where they don’t seem to be getting close enough to stop their opponents from this sort of distance.

Souley Boum has been the stand-out player for the Miners this season, and he leads the team in most of the scoring stats. Boum has made 39% of his 150 three-point shots taken this season, so he will have to be watched closely. He has emerged as a top player for UTEP, and he will need to be on fire tonight if they are to stand any chance of progressing.

Boum will have to help his team achieve at least 68 points tonight if they are to win as they have lost all ten games that they have scored fewer than that and only lost once when they have achieved over it.

The Miners only have one doubt for tonight’s game, and that is Vila, who is questionable to feature.

Owls Preview 

The Owls are also in good form, having won their last four matches in a row. However, much like the Miners, those wins came against the bottom two teams in the Conference. The victories did all come by way of comfortable margins, though.

They have been near perfect at home, winning seven of their eight matches. This enhances the Miners poor away record and gives them a mountain to climb, let alone a hill.

Here are the latest betting trends for Florida Atlantic:

  • Ten of their previous 15 games have all gone over the betting total.
  • Only one of their last five matches against the Miners has failed to go under the points total.
  • Florida Atlantic is 7-3 in their previous ten games.
  • Six of their previous eight matches played in March have gone under the betting total.
  • The total has gone under in four of their last five games played on a Wednesday.
  • The Owls are 2-4 against the spread in their previous six games played at home on a Wednesday night.

Again, there is very little to go on here other than the Owls come into this game in excellent form. Also, unlike their opponents tonight, they don’t like playing on a Wednesday. Could the day the game is played honestly have a significance on the outcome?

The Owls have a magnificent offense that has one of the best rebounding units in the country. Florida Atlantic is averaging 78 points per game this season which is the third-best record in the Conference.

They are even better at home, so Miners fans look away now. Florida Atlantic is averaging 12 points more per game at home and has the country’s second-highest points average. But let’s not get too carried away as the caliber of opponents they have faced hasn’t been the best, but in saying that, they have still had to score the points.

The Owls have been brilliant at shooting from distance this season and have the highest success rate in the Conference. They aren’t too shabby from closer either, in all honesty.

Their defense has been brilliant also, and they defend in and around the basket with their lives. They sit deep, which helps them to achieve these fantastic rebounding statistics as they are often in the right place at the right time. This does leave them open against good three-point shooting opponents, which they will have to keep in mind tonight. This is because the Miners have won all six games where they have made ten or more three-pointers in the game.

They have also defended better at home, conceding nine fewer points per game, making them a massive 21 points better off at home this season. This is a frightening prospect for any team to face.

The Owls will have to keep their disciplinary record in check as they have overstepped the mark on occasions this season which has cost them. This has been an issue for Sophomore Kenan Blackshear, who has committed the most personal fouls for the Owls this season. However, he isn’t a dirty player. He can often be overzealous trying to make steals for his team.

Thus, they have a 12.3 point per game difference which makes them a handicapper’s dream to bet on.

Florida Atlantic has no absentees listed for this game.

Miners vs. Owls Betting Pick

Pick
  • Owls To Win
    +145

Although both teams come into this game in similarly good form, I think it’s clear for all to see that the Owls are superior in most departments. Therefore, they have to be my pick tonight. However, the Miner’s performance last time out against a good Kansas team shows that they have to be respected. But I stand by my original claim that the Owls should be the favorites to win this game as they finished the regular season marginally higher and have a better recent record.

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