UNLV vs. Cal Odds, Picks: Why to Bet Saturday’s Over/Under (Sept. 10)
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Marcus Arroyo (UNLV)
- The UNLV Rebels take on the Cal Golden Bears in Week 2 Saturday college football action.
- Our analyst, Doug Ziefel, believes the offensive styles of these two teams give betting value to the total.
- Read on for Ziefel's full analysis and pick for UNLV vs. Cal.
UNLV vs. Cal Odds
The UNLV Rebels will head west to take on the Cal Bears. Each of these teams lit it up in their season openers and dominated FCS opposition. However, this matchup will look very different from what we have seen early on.
The Rebels succeeded in all aspects against Idaho State. We saw a hyper-efficient performance from quarterback Doug Brumfield, but the Rebels also thrived on the ground and utilized a balanced attack.
As for Cal, its approach was very similar, as Purdue transfer Jack Plummer made a great first impression. Although he was not alone, as running back Jaydn Ott cracked the century mark on the ground.
While these two teams are far from equal, they each have one strength in common — defense.
The UNLV offense will look very different from last year, as Brumfield takes over for Cameron Friel.
Courtney Reese is now the lead back, and has big shoes to fill, as Charles Williams ran for over 1,200 yards last season. The Rebels kept the ball on the ground 54% of the time last year, and although they’ll run a lot this season, the rushing attack will have a new wrinkle to it.
Brumfield is much more than a quarterback who can stretch the field with his arm. He’s also very mobile and can scramble at any moment. Brumfield was second on the team in rushing last season, as he ran for 109 yards on 19 attempts as the third-string quarterback.
We should expect him to scamper quite a bit this year.
The Rebels also have three backs who will be utilized out of the backfield.
The Cal defense has excelled at defending the pass, but has proven to be a bit vulnerable on the ground. The Bears were not stopping the run in their opener against UC Davis. The Aggies ran for 145 yards and averaged 4.5 yards per carry.
When you look at the Bears’ offense, the first thing that you notice is their tempo. The Bears take their time with each snap, and as a result, were 102nd in plays per game last season.
They looked identical in their opener, as they ran 69 plays, which was just two more than their average from last season.
While Cal was essentially 50-50 with its play calling, we should expect the Bears to be a tad more run-heavy, given UNLV’s ability to limit explosive plays through the air.
The Rebels rank 11th in Pass Play Explosiveness Allowed and are 44th in Defensive Finishing Drives.
Plummer will fit nicely into the game manager role, as he proved to be much more accurate in the short-to-medium passing game — although, that is part of the reason why he lost the job at Purdue.
You do not have to worry about Plummer burning the Rebels deep in this one.
The Bears will put this game into the hands of Ott. They have significant edges in the rushing game, as they rank 25th in Rushing Success Rate while the Rebels rank 121st in Rushing Success Rate Allowed.
UNLV vs. Cal Betting Pick
The path to victory for both of these teams is to keep the ball on the ground. Then, factor in Cal’s horrid pace, and we have all we need for an under.
The market has identified this, as well. As a result, we’ve seen the total drop from an opening of 49.5 to 48 at some books. For full transparency, I was able to grab this under at 50.5 shortly after opening, as the line was likely being shaped.
However, it still has plenty of value down to the key number of 48.