Friday College Basketball Odds, Picks and Predictions: Fresno State Bulldogs vs. UNLV Runnin’ Rebels Betting Preview
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JANUARY 25: Bryce Hamilton #13 of the UNLV Rebels is introduced before a game against the Utah State Aggies at the Thomas & Mack Center on January 25, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Rebels defeated the Aggies 59-56. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
- Orlando Robinson and Fresno State travel to Vegas to take on UNLV in a Mountain West clash.
- Robinson, the seven-foot center, could be a major problem for the Runnin' Rebels in this matchup.
- Keg breaks down the matchup and offers up his top selection.
Fresno State vs. UNLV Odds
|Fresno State Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Fresno State and UNLV will matchup on Friday night looking to create some separation in a very level Mountain West Conference.
UNLV has won five of its last six games and is 7-2 at the Thomas & Mack Center this season. Friday will also be their fifth straight home game. However, that home streak dates back to December 15th, as the Rebels were on a COVID-19 pause from January 2nd to the 11th.
Fresno State meanwhile had some COVID-19 issues of their own as three games from January 1-8 were postponed. However, they didn’t seem rusty at all in their return against San Jose State, blowing out the Spartans in a 79-59 Bulldogs win. On the season, the Bulldogs are 11-4 and currently ranked 60th per Kenpom. However, they have had issues on the road.
The Bulldogs are undefeated at home this year at 8-0 but are just 1-4 in true road games so far. Those four losses on the road haven’t come against elite teams either, two losses cam against Cal & Utah — two teams that rank outside the Kenpom top 100.
Will the Bulldogs be able to get past their troubles on the road Friday night?
Overall the Bulldogs have had a great start to their season. As a team they are currently shooting the ball 44.1% from the floor. Orlando Robinson leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 19.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
The biggest advantage offensively for the Bulldogs has been their ball security. The Fresno State offense that ranks 100th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency is 41st nationally in Turnover Rate with turnovers on just 16.4% of offensive sets. They are getting blocked on only 5.1% of plays, and giving up a steal just 7.7% of the time.
But the Bulldogs have been even better on defense. Currently ranked 41st in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. They are the second-best scoring defense in the country as they are allowing opposing teams to record just 56 points per game. They have also limited opponents to just 29.5 rebounds per game and 9.8 assists per contest.
UNLV has had an entirely new look this year with nine transfers – eight coming from the Division I level, including four from Big 12 programs. 10 of the Runnin’ Rebels’ 13 scholarship players had yet to play in a game in a UNLV uniform before this season began. But there is one major returnee who who is a big factor for the rebels: Bryce Hamilton.
Hamilton was selected to the 2021-22 Preseason All-Mountain West Team in October. Initially declaring for the 2021 NBA Draft, the second-team All-MW honoree last season, who led the Runnin’ Rebels in scoring with 17.9 points per game, decided to return to the program. Hamilton now leads UNLV in scoring at 18.3 points per game, which ranks seventh in the Mountain West.
But Williams isn’t the only contributing factor for UNLV. Junior Donovan Williams is second on the team at 13.9 points per game Senior forward Royce Hamm Jr. leads the Mountain West in rebounding with 10.4 per contest while also averaging 9.0 points per game. Both Williams and Hamm are starting for the first seasons of their careers after transferring from Texas.
Senior guard Jordan McCabe leads the team in assists at five a game, while also being fifth in the Mountain West. McCabe has distributed efficiently as he is second in the conference and sixth in the country in Assist/Turnover Ratio.
The UNLV Running Rebels have one of the most balanced teams when it comes to the starting five as you can see, but once you get to their bench, the story changes. The top three scorers on the team, Hamilton, Williams, and Hamm Jr., account for more than half of the team’s scoring this season. If one gets into foul trouble, the offense takes a massive hit.
On defense, the Rebels haven’t been as good as Fresno, but they’ve been solid in their own right. UNLV has limited opponents to just 67.1 points per game and ranks 105th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, per KenPom. They’ve also been efficient in every area on the floor, limiting opponents’ three-point accuracy to 32.8% and two-point accuracy to 48.3%.
Fresno State vs. UNLV Betting Pick
While Fresno has had issues on the road this season, that’s due largely to some of the teams they’ve played, and I believe it has to end at some point.
UNLV will be the worst ranked Kenpom team that Fresno has faced on the road yet, and while the Rebels have been dominant at home (currently 7-2), they have yet to beat a team ranked higher than 112th.
Fresno State is the better team on both ends of the floo,r and they know they are in dire need of a road win if they want to stay competitive in the Mountain West. Take the Bulldogs to get their first road win of the season.