UTEP vs. FIU odds, line: 2020 college basketball picks, Jan. 2 predictions from proven computer model

It's the Conference USA opener for both teams when the Texas-El Paso Miners visit the Florida International Golden Panthers on Thursday. Both teams are 9-4, and both are coming off losses. UTEP dropped a 72-67 decision to Boise State on Christmas Day, while FIU was blown out 89-62 by Minnesota on Saturday. The Miners went 8-21 last season with one of the youngest teams in the nation, but those players have a year of experience now, and some notable transfers have stepped up. The Golden Panthers went 20-14 last season, one win shy of the school record, behind first-year coach Jeremy Ballard's fast-paced play. 

Tip-off is set for noon ET at Ocean Bank Convocation Center in Miami. The Golden Panthers are a 1.5-point favorite in the latest UTEP vs. FIU odds, while the over-under for total points scored is 144. Before considering any Florida International vs. UTEP picks, be sure to check out the college basketball predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.

This model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, has crushed its top-rated college basketball picks against the spread the past three years, returning $2,770 to $100 players. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns. 

Now, the model has set its sights on UTEP vs. FIU. We can tell you that the model is leaning under, and it has generated an extremely strong against-the-spread pick that is hitting in nearly 70 percent of simulations. You can head to SportsLine to see it. Now, here are the college basketball betting lines and trends for Florida International vs. UTEP: 

  • UTEP vs. FIU spread: Golden Panthers -1.5
  • UTEP vs. FIU over-under: 144
  • UTEP vs. FIU  money line: Golden Panthers -117, Miners -105
  • Golden Panthers: F Osasumwen Osaghae leads the nation with 4.62 blocked shots per game.
  • Miners: F Bryson Williams has made 18 of his 31 three-point tries (58.1 percent).

The Golden Panthers have covered the spread in four straight games following an ATS loss, and they are averaging 82.4 points per game (12th in the nation). Forward Devon Andrews is the top scorer at 16.5 points per game, and he also averages 4.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals. Fellow senior Osasumwen Osaghae is the leading rebounder at 8.3 per game, and the 6-foot-9 forward is second in scoring at 13.3. FIU allows opponents to shoot just 38.2 percent from the field.

FIU is 6-4 against the spread this season, and the up-tempo offense runs through guards Trejon Jacob and Antonio Daye. Jacob averages 11.1 points, while Daye scores 10.4 and dishes out 5.0 assists. Both help on defense as well, with Jacob averaging 2.0 steals and Daye 1.9. Eric Lovett is the primary outside shooter, making 38.2 percent of his 76 attempts from 3-point range, and Little Rock transfer Cameron Corcoran makes 36.8 percent of his tries off the bench.       

The Golden Panthers can keep teams off balance, but that doesn't mean they will cover the UTEP vs. FIU spread.

The Miners are 3-0 against the spread this season with four or more days off, and they have gotten an immediate boost from their transfers. Forward Bryson Williams, who played at Fresno State under current UTEP coach Rodney Terry, is the top scorer and rebounder, averaging 19.3 points and 6.3 boards. Guard Souley Boum, a transfer from San Francisco, is the No. 2 scorer at 11.3 points per game, and former LSU guard Daryl Edwards chips in 9.8.   

With the influx of talent, forward Efe Odigie, who was named C-USA Freshman of the Year after averaging a double-double last season, has become the team's sixth man, averaging 7.0 points and 3.6 rebounds. Fellow sophomore Jordan Lathon, the only starter from last year's lineup, scores 6.1 points and averages 2.8 assists. UTEP shoots 31.9 percent from long range, led by Edwards at 34.8 percent on 66 tries, while Boum has has made 27.7 percent on 65 attempts.

So who wins UTEP vs. FIU? And which side of the spread is hitting nearly 70 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side of the Florida International vs. UTEP spread to back on Thursday, all from the advanced model that has returned more than $2,700 on its top-rated college basketball picks.

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