San Diego State vs. UNLV Odds & Picks: Don’t Expect Many Points
Chris Unger/Getty Images. Pictured: Cameron Friel.
- San Diego State travels to Las Vegas to take on UNLV on Friday night.
- Updated odds make the Aztecs -11 favorites over the Rebels.
- Read on for Anthony Dabbundo's top betting pick for Friday's game.
San Diego State vs. UNLV Odds
|San Diego State Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
San Diego State survived a difficult test against Carson Strong and Nevada last week, as the Aztecs moved to 9-1 overall and 5-1 in the Mountain West following the 23-21 victory.
Two more wins is enough for SDSU to make the conference title game. The next challenge for the Aztecs to conquer is a Friday night road trip to lowly UNLV.
The Rebels began the season 0-8 but have shown some life in the last two weeks, beating both New Mexico and Hawaii to get to 2-8.
UNLV was never quite as bad as its record indicated, as it had lost by one score to Fresno State, UTSA, Utah State, San Jose State and in double overtime to Eastern Washington.
UNLV isn’t good, but a few breaks and bounces, and it’d look like a much more competitive team than it’s been.
It’s a tricky spot for SDSU, sandwiched between games against Nevada and Boise State, but it’s also a must-win for the Aztecs if they want to stay in front of Fresno and stay in first for a spot in the Mountain West Championship.
San Diego State Offense
SDSU runs the ball on 64.2% of its plays, which is the ninth-highest rate in the nation. The Aztecs offense is slow, it lacks explosiveness, and it tries to methodically move the ball down the field.
The Aztecs rank in the bottom 10 in Passing Success Rate, bottom 20 in pass blocking and bottom 30 in big play ability. So, while UNLV’s defense has been exposed in the secondary by better quarterbacks in the Mountain West, the Aztecs have only thrown for more than 200 passing yards once all season.
Playing as a big favorite, they’ll have no reason to be aggressive when the SDSU defense should have no issues shutting down a bad UNLV offense.
A conservative approach from the Aztecs in this game, especially early, points toward a slow start here.
San Diego State Defense
No one can run on San Diego State, and no one has been able to run on it all season long. SDSU ranks eighth in both Line Yards and Rushing Success Rate Allowed, and given UNLV’s issues running the ball, there are going to be a lot of stuffed runs along the defensive front for the Aztecs defense on early downs.
SDSU will force UNLV to drive the length of the field too, in part because the Aztecs boast the best punter in the nation in Matt Araiza, who can single-handedly flip the field and has done so all year. He’s almost a part of the Aztecs’ defense as well because of how much he complements the defense.
The Aztecs sit in the top 10 in big-play defense allowed, meaning it will be hard for the Rebels to break off big plays to find quick touchdowns.
Without the ability to move the ball methodically or hit big plays, it’s hard to see how the Rebels score much without flukes or SDSU offensive turnovers.
The Rebels offense has a fairly balanced attack, but they’re not particularly good at any one thing, and that’s a problem against a loaded San Diego State defensive front.
UNLV ranks outside the top 100 in Rushing and Passing Success Rate, doesn’t have much in terms of explosiveness and struggles mightily at preventing Havoc.
Quarterback Cameron Friel has had some turnover issues and overcame two interceptions last week against Hawaii. He’s pretty limited as a passer, and it’ll be dangerous for the Rebels offense trying to play from behind in this game because of the turnover risk.
While the Rebels’ pass-blocking unit is statistically its best on offense, it’s hard to ask it to hold up if UNLV struggles to run on early downs, which the numbers suggest it will.
UNLV plays very slow offensively, as both teams rank in the bottom 20 in offensive pace. That’s important for the first half total because the Rebels may be forced to play faster in the second half when they’re likely behind. But that doesn’t come into play early in the game.
The strength of the Rebels defense is up front, where they rank 37th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and 43rd in Defensive Line Yards. Against the Aztecs’ run-heavy offense, the Rebels’ ability to slow them down is critical for the first-half handicap.
SDSU’s offense has been anemic at times, and that usually comes when it can’t successfully run the ball on early downs and stay ahead of the chains.
The Rebels are prone to allowing big plays and have subpar tackling and coverage numbers, but San Diego State is one of the least explosive teams in the country on offense.
The Aztecs only score one way, and it’s through methodical drives, turnovers and subsequent short fields.
UNLV’s bad secondary won’t be exploited like it was against Fresno State and Nevada, both of which have much better passing attacks.
San Diego State vs. UNLV Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how San Diego State and UNLV match up statistically:
San Diego State Offense vs. UNLV Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
UNLV Offense vs. San Diego State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||10||85|
|Plays per Minute||112||119|
|Rush Rate||64.2% (9)||55.2% (61)|
Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.
San Diego State vs. UNLV Betting Pick
Forty-one is one of the lowest totals you’ll see across the entire college football landscape this season in a game that doesn’t involve Iowa, Wisconsin or a service academy.
The Aztecs defense is that dominant, and their offense is that mediocre. The Rebels showed the last two weeks that they haven’t quit on the season, and with a chance to play spoiler, they’re in an all-in spot.
UNLV doesn’t have much of an ability to consistently score against SDSU, but it can play slow. If it avoids early turnovers, the Rebels can stay in this game with their defense against a bad SDSU offense.
I want no part of this game in the second half when the game could open up as one or both teams are forced to play faster because they’re trailing. Turnovers from the UNLV offense are also a major concern for the total because they could give the Aztecs short fields to work with.
By playing just the first-half under 21, you take out some of the second-half variance that is affected by the game state. It lowers the chance of back-breaking turnovers from a bad UNLV offense pushed out of its comfort zone.
All signs point to a slow start in Sin City on Friday night.
Pick: 1H Under 21 (-115)
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