Boise State vs. UNLV Odds, Picks | College Basketball Betting Guide

Boise State vs. UNLV Odds, Picks | College Basketball Betting Guide article feature image

Sam Wasson/Getty Images. Pictured: Victor Iwaukor

  • The UNLV Runnin' Rebels are a short home favorite in tonight's Mountain West meeting with the Boise State Broncos.
  • Boise State is the defending league champ, but UNLV is coming off a very impressive road win in its last time out.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.

Boise State vs. UNLV Odds

Wednesday, Jan. 11
11 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Boise State Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

UNLV returns home on Wednesday to host defending league champion Boise State. The Broncos won both meetings last season by six and 10 respectively and UNLV will see the champions as vulnerable as Boise State replaces a bunch of lost production on the offensive end of the floor.

UNLV had arguably the most impressive win in all of Mountain West play on Saturday when the Runnin' Rebels went to The Pit and beat New Mexico, 84-77. That's a notoriously difficult road environment to win in, and UNLV took over the game in the second half to claim a much needed victory.

These two teams both like to win with their defense, albeit in different ways. For UNLV, it's all about ball pressure leading to turnovers and transition offense. Boise is a more conservative defense that gives few open looks and almost no second chance opportunities.

This matchup is also a pace clash, which makes it all the more intriguing.

Boise State Broncos

A quick look at Boise State's KenPom profile shows you that Boise State is the 14th best 3-point defense in the country and the 24th best 2-point defense. But when you compare to last season and look deeper at that statistical profile, there's reason to believe that regression looms for this defense.

Boise State is 108th in fewest percentage of unguarded jumpers allowed, and they're somehow allowing just 0.87 points per possession on those shot attempts. Compare that to the teams around them in the unguarded percentage — Temple at No. 107 is allowing 1.03 PPP on those shots and Portland at No. 111 is allowing 1.12 PPP.

This defense is allowing too many unguarded shots to continue allowing the 14th best 3-point field goal defense in the country. If the defense is applying less ball pressure in the form of turnovers and is now without their best rim protector in Mladen Armus, it's not reasonable to expect that they've made huge improvements in 2-point defense either.

Boise is still an elite rebounding team, but the defense won't continue to be as good on its first shot defense as it has been this season.

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UNLV Rebels

When you apply as much ball pressure as UNLV does and take risks to try to force turnovers, you're bound to give up open looks after overcommitting. UNLV's defense has also benefitted, like Boise's, from teams missing open shots against them.

The Runnin' Rebels are elite at turning teams over — second best in the nation — but the open looks behind that have allowed just 0.86 PPP despite being below average nationally in percentage of unguarded jumpers. That won't last.

Boise is led by a veteran back court that includes point guard Marcus Shaver, and he's not someone who turns the ball over frequently. If he's able to break through the UNLV pressure, then the Broncos' offense is in the 86th percentile per Synergy in points per possession on spot up shots.

The Runnin' Rebels' defense does get punished for its aggressiveness on the defensive glass, and that should open up plenty of second chance opportunities for the Boise offense as well. There are still question marks about the longevity of the UNLV offense in the halfcourt, but this isn't a terrible matchup for them given that the Runnin' Rebels use mostly isolation in the half court and Boise's on ball individual defending isn't as elite as it was last season.

Boise State vs. UNLV Betting Pick

The total for this game is too low when you consider the market hasn't yet caught up to how good this UNLV transition offense is. Boise does defend transition pretty well, but UNLV can run off every rebound it does pull down defensively. The Runnin' Rebels will concede more points from offensive rebounds and open 3s themselves, but this Boise State defense remains due for regression defensively.

Two overrated half-court defenses and a huge change of pace for UNLV when compared to last season leaves this total too low at just 135.5. I'd play the over at 137 or better.

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