UTEP vs. Tulsa Football: Betting Odds, Preview and Prediction

OddsShark.com@@OddsSharkFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2012

DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 30:  G.J. Kinne #4 of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane celebrates a touchdown against the Brigham Young Cougars during the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on December 30, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After a season-opening defeat, the Golden Hurricane of Tulsa have won five games in a row.

And even though they face a 17-point spread at home, a majority of the betting public is backing Tulsa to cover the spread and it six straight wins.

Tulsa hosts the 1-5 UTEP Miners in a Conference USA bout Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET. This game normally wouldn't get bettors too excited, but it's one of just three games on the schedule tonight, so handicappers are busily learning all they can about C-USA's top team.

Can Tulsa continue its winning ways? Or do the Miners have an upset in them, despite going 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games?

Tulsa opened this season with a 38-23 loss at Iowa State, then won its C-USA opener, beating Tulane 45-10. The 'Cane then knocked off Nicholls State (FCS), 66-16, and Fresno State, 27-26, before continuing conference play with a 49-42 victory over UAB and a 45-38 win over Marshall.

Tulsa leads CUSA's West Division, already at 3-0.

UTEP, meanwhile, began its season with a 24-7 loss to Oklahoma. The Miners ran for 207 yards and only trailed the Sooners 10-7 heading into the fourth quarter, easily covering the spread as 29-point dogs.

UTEP then lost at Ole Miss 28-10, but picked up its lone victory of the season, beating New Mexico 41-28. The Miners went to Wisconsin and lost 37-26, but hung in that game, too. They only trailed 23-19 midway through the fourth quarter.

However, the Miners haven't been able to follow up that effort, losing 28-18 at East Carolina. Last week, they got shut out by SMU 17-0. UTEP is 0-2 in conference play.

Statistically speaking, the Miners have been outrushed this season by a 203-126 YPG margin, while Tulsa has outrushed foes, on average, 246-115.

Many college football betting outlets opened this game with Tulsa favored by 15 points. But as of Thursday morning, the lined moved up to 17 points at many books.

Last year, Tulsa went to El Paso and beat the Miners 57-28, covering the spread as 13-point road chalk.

Free Pick:  Tulsa is a pretty clear favorite here, but the Miners played Oklahoma and Wisconsin fairly tough. In going against the public push we'll take UTEP and the points. (All odds courtesy of OddShark.com and PickShark.com.)