UNLV vs. New Mexico Odds, Picks | College Basketball Betting Guide

UNLV vs. New Mexico Odds, Picks | College Basketball Betting Guide article feature image

Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images. Pictured: Morris Udeze (New Mexico)

  • Both UNLV and New Mexico are looking to get back on track after losses in their last game.
  • Which team will come out on top in this Mountain West showdown?
  • Anthony Dabbundo digs into the matchup and offers up his best bet below.

UNLV vs. New Mexico Odds

Saturday, Jan. 7
9:30 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
-110o / -110u
New Mexico Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The Mountain West was one of the slowest-paced conferences in the entire country last year, with Wyoming, Colorado State, Air Force, Fresno State and San Diego State all playing almost exclusively in the half-court.

Both New Mexico and UNLV are two of the anomalies, and they'll meet on Saturday in The Pit as both look to rebound from tough losses in their last conference game.

Expect plenty of pace, plenty of fast breaks and plenty of points in Albuquerque on Saturday.

New Mexico was the last unbeaten team in the entire nation until its last-minute loss to Fresno State on Tuesday.

UNLV began the season 10-0, but half-court offensive struggles did the Rebels in when they lost to San Francisco, San Jose State and San Diego State in the last three games.

It's a good bounce-back spot for both teams in theory, but does UNLV have the sustained offense to keep up with New Mexico's guard play in a hostile road environment?

UNLV Rebels

I wrote in my Mountain West primer that I was skeptical of UNLV because of its half-court offense, and that it was too reliant on transition off of turnovers to create offense against a settled defense.

UNLV is elite at turning opponents over — it ranks third in the country in defensive turnover rate — but it's struggled to score offensively otherwise.

Without Bryce Hamilton, who carried the offense for most of last season, the Rebels don't have a go-to scorer to rely on to create his own shot.

They spend most of their possessions in transition and grade out as excellent in the 88th percentile there. But when forced to play in the half-court, the offense is in the 30th-percentile nationally, per Synergy.

When you look at the UNLV schedule, most of the decent teams it's played and beat had weaknesses that helped it considerably.

In the non-conference, a shorthanded Dayton had no ball handlers and Washington State is a turnover machine. Once the Rebels had to play a guard like Khalil Shabazz (San Francisco) or take on the disciplined Aztecs half-court defense, scoring became much more difficult.

The matchup isn't good for UNLV because New Mexico has two of the best guards in the entire league, Jaelen House and Jamal Mashburn Jr. The Lobos don't turn the ball over and they're an extremely efficient pick-and-roll offense.

If the UNLV defense has a weakness, it's somewhat worse defending in transition, too.

New Mexico Lobos

New Mexico is pretty fortunate to not have lost two straight after struggling in difficult away games against Wyoming and Fresno State.

The Lobos will probably be a big home-and-away split team in this league, especially considering how difficult it is to win on the road in the Mountain West.

The Lobos don't shoot the ball much at all from the perimeter and have an offense focused entirely on getting downhill and getting to the rim.

That can be difficult to do against the UNLV ball pressure, but the Lobos' backcourt doesn't turn the ball over. The Lobos have an excellent pick-and-roll and post-up offense.

UNLV hasn't really seen many teams that look to get the ball into the post — avoiding Graham Ike (Wyoming) helps — but it showed some major weaknesses guarding ball screens against both San Francisco and San Diego State.

The Rebels are in the 14th percentile guarding pick-and-roll (per Synergy), and that makes guarding House and Mashburn really difficult on Saturday.

There will be spots to fade the Lobos in the coming weeks in league play, but UNLV won't turn them over enough or be more efficient enough in the half-court on the road.

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UNLV vs. New Mexico Betting Pick

From a market perspective, buying New Mexico after it surprised everyone and were the final remaining unbeaten isn't necessarily optimal.

But given the matchup advantages for the Lobos in this game and the quality of their backcourt, it's hard to see UNLV keeping up with New Mexico if the Rebels can't turn the Lobos over.

The Lobos also boast one of the most dominant home courts in the entire country, ranking inside the top 10, per KenPom. New Mexico is at least two or three points better on a neutral, so -5.5 at home is still a touch short.

The Lobos should roll to victory.

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