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College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Utah State vs. UNLV: Expect Aggies to Cruise

College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Utah State vs. UNLV: Expect Aggies to Cruise article feature image

John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: UNLV wide receiver Patrick Ballard.

  • Utah State takes on UNLV in a Sin City, Mountain West showdown.
  • The Aggies have lost two straight games, but the Rebels are winless, including losses to Eastern Washington and UTSA.
  • Kyle Remillard previews the game and offers up his best bet.

Utah State vs. UNLV Odds

Utah State Odds-7 (-110)
UNLV Odds+7 (-110)
Moneyline-280 / +225
Over/Under63.5 (-105 / -115)
Time7 p.m. ET
TVCBS Sports Network
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Utah State travels to Las Vegas to take on the Rebels in Saturday’s Mountain West showdown at Allegiant Stadium.

UNLV is in search of its first victory in nearly 700 days after going winless in the 2020 season. After losing the season opener in overtime to FCS opponent Eastern Washington, the Rebels have dropped their last four games.

They have been more competitive recently, losing by one score on the road to Fresno State and UTSA. UNLV is coming off a bye week and will attempt to upset a new and improved Utah State program.

Utah State has bounced back in a big way after finishing 1-5 last season. The Aggies opened the season 3-0 after defeating Pac-12 opponent Washington State, in addition to North Dakota and Air Force.

They hope to rebound after suffering back-to-back defeats against some tough competition in Boise State and BYU.

Head coach Blake Anderson has helped turn this program around quicker than anticipated, thanks to some transfers he brought with him from Arkansas State.

UNLV will need to find massive improvements from the bye week if they want to slow down the Utah State offense.

Utah State vs. UNLV Betting Preview

Saturday, Oct. 16
7:00 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network

Utah State Aggies

Utah State Offense

In 2020, the Utah State offense was one of the more lackluster groups in the country, averaging 15.5 points per game and ranking 124th in the country.

What a difference one offseason can make, though. The Aggies are now averaging 29 points and nearly 500 yards of total offense per game.

Much of that improvement is contributed to quarterback Logan Bonner, who transferred to Utah State after previously playing under Blake Anderson at Arkansas State.

He has averaged 7.9 yards per pass attempt and contributed nine touchdown passes. He struggled his last two games against a tough Boise State and BYU defense but should bounce back against a struggling UNLV defense.

Senior wide receiver Deven Thompkins has emerged as a top receiver in the Mountain West. Thompkins is averaging eight catches for 128 yards per game.

The duo has led the passing offense to the 15th ranking in Success Rate. They’re an explosive group that ranks 17th in Big Play.

The Aggies will have a significant edge in this game in terms of creating Havoc as the UNLV defense ranks 127th in that category.

Utah State Defense

The Utah State defense hasn’t seen the same improvement the offense has this season. The unit is allowing 31 points per game and 460 yards of offense per matchup.

To its defense, the team has faced some tough offenses such as BYU, Boise State and Washington State.

Each opponent has scored 24 points or more against the Aggies. Much of that is due to the inability to stop the run as they have allowed 5.3 yards per carry. They rank 100th in Rushing Success Rate and 110th in Defensive Line Yards.

This unit will also have a significant edge over the UNLV offense, which ranks outside the top 100 in every category. The biggest mismatch will come in terms of creating Havoc, where the Aggies rank 41st to UNLV’s 124th ranking.

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UNLV Rebels

UNLV Offense

It’s hard to find many good things to say about UNLV’s offense through the first five games. Against FBS competition the unit has averaged 15 points and less than 270 yards of total offense, both ranking near the bottom of the country.

Head coach Marcus Arroyo has had a quarterback carousel going throughout the season.

All signs indicate that he will stick with the freshman Cameron Friel, who started last game against UTSA. In that game, he threw for 307 yards, while averaging 8.3 yards per pass attempt. He threw for a touchdown to go along with two interceptions and was sacked six times.

The Rebels’ rushing attack has brought nothing to the table, averaging 3.0 yards per carry. The team ranks outside the top 100 in rushing Success Rate and Line Yards.

That’s familiar territory for the Rebels’ offense that also sits in that same ranking in Explosive Plays, creating Havoc and Finishing Drives.

UNLV Defense

The schedule has done no favors for the Rebels, who matched up against four of the top offenses in the country. According to SP+, they have played the 17th, 23rd, 29th and 72nd ranked offenses. UNLV allowed 37 points and 450 yards of offense to those opponents.

The three biggest issues the Rebels’ defense has had this season are the lack of pass rush, allowing too many explosive plays and the inability to create Havoc. They rank 127th or worse in those three categories.

The defense has accounted for only four sacks on the entire season, compared to the 17 they have allowed on its own quarterbacks. If it can’t pressure Bonner, then he’s capable of slicing up this defense.

Utah State vs. UNLV Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Utah State and UNLV match up statistically:

Utah State Offense vs. UNLV Defense
Rush Success7663
Line Yards10760
Pass Success15128
Pass Blocking**62127
Big Play17130
Finishing Drives94104
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

UNLV Offense vs. Utah State Defense
Rush Success100105
Line Yards10164
Pass Success115113
Pass Blocking**116110
Big Play11692
Finishing Drives8365
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling39114
Middle 871121
SP+ Special Teams5070
Plays per Minute1116
Rush Rate49.6% (97)57.5% (50)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

Utah State vs. UNLV Betting Pick

These programs entered the season ranked at the bottom of the Mountain West. One of the programs has shown vast improvement, while the other has taken another step backward.

UNLV’s offense creates nearly no explosive plays but also converts on less than 30% of its third-down attempts. It’s still struggling to find its identity and has seen three separate starting quarterbacks in its five games, none of which has been productive.

UNLV’s pass defense has allowed quarterbacks to complete 74.1% of its pass attempts this season, which plays right into the strength of Utah State. Bonner will have a ton of time in the pocket and should have a field day against the Rebels’ defense.

I’m backing the Aggies to win handily against one of the bottom teams in the country.

Pick: Utah State -7 (Play down to -9)

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