Friday College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions: UNLV Runnin’ Rebels vs. Boise State Broncos Betting Preview
Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Bryce Hamilton.
- In what should be a solid Mountain West matchup, the UNLV Rebels hit the road to take on the Boise State Broncos.
- The Broncos enter as nealry double-digit favorites, so the Rebels have their work cut out for them.
- Keg breaks the game down and shares his top bet below.
UNLV vs. Boise State Odds
-115o / -105u
|Boise State Odds|
-115o / -105u
Boise State will kick off a busy homestand it hosts UNLV Friday night. It will be the first of three games it plays over the next six days.
The Broncos are 9-1 in Mountain West play and tied with Wyoming, the one conference team that has beaten them, for first place.
With just eight games to go in the regular season, the Broncos know it’s going to be a tight race to the finish, and they can’t afford losses to inferior teams.
Boise State has been impressive throughout the season, but there are definitely some issues that could cost the Broncos. One of the biggest concerns is their 3-point shooting. Boise State is hitting just 32.4% from beyond the arc this season. Against Wyoming, its one conference loss, it shot just 25% from deep.
UNLV may be sixth in the Mountain West but it’s not a team Boise can beat by just going through the motions. The Rebels are coming off a 78-44 blowout win over Air Force, and they’ve beaten teams at the top of the MWC this season, besting Colorado State, 88-74.
The Rebels also have the leading scorer in the Mountain West in Bryce Hamilton, who is averaging 21.3 points per game on 45.5% shooting.
The Broncos do lead the series all-time, 13-10, but have been even better at home since Leon Rice took over. Boise State is 8-2 at home in Rice’s tenure. Can it get this busy week started with a win?
The Rebels have been playing well of late, winning three of their last five games, which included an impressive upset over Colorado State on the road.
UNLV ranks sixth in the Mountain West in both offensive and defensive scoring. The Rebels are averaging 71.5 points per game while limiting teams to just 66.3.
But over the last three games, they’ve cranked it up a notch, averaging 74 while holding opponents to just 64 per game.
They will have their hands full against a Boise State defense that is one of the best in the country, but it’s a dangerous game to start doubting Hamilton. Hamilton is the best scorer in the conference and the eighth-best in Division I. He is also the eighth-best free-throw shooter in the Mountain West and ranks third in made 3-pointers per game with 2.5 per contest.
The Runnin’ Rebels defense isn’t as stout as the Broncos, but they are still a solid unit. Boise State already struggles from deep, and UNLV should defend the perimeter well. On the season, it’s held teams to 33.2% from outside the arc.
UNLV’s defense has also been good about limiting fouls, averaging just 15 per game.
Boise State’s offense hasn’t been the greatest, but Tyson Degenhart is doing everything in his power to change that.
He earned Mountain West Freshman of the Week honors for the sixth time this season last week. Degenhart averaged 18.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists during the Broncos’ two games last week. Against San Jose State, he went off for a career-high 23 points and posted a career-high with eight rebounds. On the week, Degenhart shot 13-for-22 from the field and 6-for-11 from 3-point range.
Boise State is also the best rebounding team in the Mountain West, topping the conference in team rebounds, offensive rebounds, and rebound margin. It’s grabbed 10 or more offensive rebounds per game 15 times this season and is the only MWC team averaging double digits.
The Boise State defense isn’t just one of the best in the Mountain West, but it’s one of the best in all of college basketball. It ranks seventh in defensive efficiency and fourth when it comes to opponent offensive rebound percentage.
However, the Broncos’ best defense has been against 2-point shots, holding teams to 45.4%. UNLV ranks 309th in the country and gets only 45.9% of its points off of twos.
The Boise defense allows teams to hit 31.9% from 3, where UNLV picks up up 34.9% of its scoring. The Broncos have limited the number of threes that teams take, as they allow the seventh-lowest number of 3s in the country.
If UNLV can get hot from 3, it can seriously challenge the Broncos. But it won’t be easy to get past this defense.
UNLV vs. Boise State Betting Pick
Boise State is one of the best teams in the Mountain West, but Hamilton is the best scorer in the league, and it has yet to face a challenge like him this season. He has the ability to change this game on his own.
The Broncos also haven’t been great at covering larger spreads at home or on the road. They are just 3-5 against the spread as a favorite of eight or more points. They have also failed to cover their last three of eight or more, two of which came at home.
This feels like too many points for a UNLV team that has been solid recently. Hamilton is always a threat teams have to consider, so back the Runnin’ Rebels as low at +7.5.
Pick: UNLV +9.5 (Play to 7.5)
How would you rate this article?
This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.