Thursday College Football Odds & Picks: UNLV vs. San Jose State Betting Guide (Oct. 21)

Thursday College Football Odds & Picks: UNLV vs. San Jose State Betting Guide (Oct. 21) article feature image

Chris Unger/Getty Images. Pictured: Charles Williams.

UNLV vs. San Jose State Odds

Thursday, Oct. 21
11 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
-110o / -110u
San Jose State Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The San Jose State Spartans travel to the Sin City to take on the UNLV Rebels at Allegiant Stadium on Friday night.

Repeating as Mountain West champions may be out of contention for San Jose State after starting the season 3-4 (1-2 in conference).

Losing starting quarterback Nick Starkel a month ago didn’t help the Spartans' chances. But this is a big game for the program to keep their hopes of going to bowl season alive.

UNLV hasn’t tasted victory over an FBS opponent in over 700 days. The Rebels have been on the cusp of pulling an upset on multiple occasions over the last month.

The program suffered a one-score loss as 30-point underdogs to Fresno State. They followed that performance with a 24-17 defeat as a three-touchdown underdog to No. 24 ranked UTSA. And last time out, they let a win slip away in the final possession losing 28-24 to Utah State.

Will homecoming weekend at Allegiant Stadium be enough to propel the Rebels to their first FBS victory in over two years?

San Jose State Spartans

San Jose State Offense

The San Jose State offense has lost its mojo from last season as the group ranks 115th in Rushing and Passing Success Rates.

Starkel’s availability is unlikely after missing the last three games with an arm injury. Nick Nash is slated to make his fourth-career start after averaging 7.7 yards per passing attempt while tossing five touchdowns to two interceptions.

The rushing game has been a non-factor, averaging just 3.7 yards per carry as a team.

The offense has totaled 27 points in their last two games, including a double-overtime loss to San Diego State.

In that game, the Spartans' only touchdown came in overtime and they failed to move the chains, completing just 5-of-18 third-down attempts.

San Jose State Defense

The San Jose State defense has put up similar numbers to what they saw last season. The Spartans have allowed just over 23 points per game and 5.0 yards per play, but it hasn’t been enough to make up for the offensive woes.

The unit has been solid in slowing down passing attacks, as they rank 57th in Success Rate. But the Spartans haven’t been able to force turnovers, as they have just one interception on the season.

The run defense will be crucial in this matchup and it has been a mixed bag for San Jose State. They were gashed for 217 yards on the ground two weeks ago against Colorado State while they held San Diego State to just 1.9 yards per carry last week.

The defense will need to slow down Charles Williams and the UNLV rushing attack if they want to escape Sin City with a victory.

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UNLV Rebels

UNLV Offense

Williams has been the steadiest source of offense for the Rebels this season.

He’s averaging over 100 yards per game and 5.2 yards per carry to go along with his two six touchdowns. Last time out against Utah State he rushed for 221 yards and three touchdowns.

The quarterback carrousel once again is dominating headlines for the Rebels.

Presumptive starter Doug Brumfield is still day-to-day after missing the last two games with a back injury. His replacement Cameron Friel left the Utah State game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury and is also limited at practice.

If Friel can’t go, that leaves head coach Marcus Arroyo with either Week 1 starter Justin Rogers or the Miami transfer Tate Martell.

Regardless of who is under center, the Rebels' offense has looked rejuvenated, maybe in part to everyone wanting a pull on the new slot machine after a touchdown.

Only in #Vegas! First spin of the year goes to @chuck8_w after a 75-yard run to the house 🎰 🎰🎰

— UNLV Football (@unlvfootball) October 16, 2021

UNLV Defense

The UNLV defense has had a brutal schedule that includes four teams which have been ranked inside the AP Top-25 at one point this season.

UNLV has had the 29th toughest strength of schedule through the first six games this season, according to PFF.

The Rebels showed improvement off their bye week, identifying areas that needed improvement. They ranked among the bottom of the nation in tackles for loss and last week, they came up with 11 of them against Utah State.

UNLV has been strong at controlling the line of scrimmage of late and slowing down opponents' rushing attack. They have really struggled against the pass, where they’ve allowed 8.8 yards per pass attempt against FBS opponents.

Opponents complete on average 73% of their pass attempts, which has the Rebels' defense ranked in the bottom of the nation.

UNLV vs. San Jose State Matchup Analysis

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

San Jose State Offense vs. UNLV Defense
Rush Success11545
Line Yards10551
Pass Success115128
Pass Blocking**97123
Big Play87130
Finishing Drives9086
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

UNLV Offense vs. San Jose State Defense
Rush Success8482
Line Yards7380
Pass Success11857
Pass Blocking**11382
Big Play7158
Finishing Drives5881
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling35101
Middle 847126
SP+ Special Teams4673
Plays per Minute62119
Rush Rate47.6% (110)57.3% (50)

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

UNLV vs. San Jose State Betting Pick

There are still a lot of question marks up in the air entering this matchup, specifically around the quarterback situation.

The Rebels have been playing better football the last month and the fan base looks to be revitalized after playing their first home game at Allegiant Stadium. UNLV has been an underdog in all six of its matchups this year but covered the spread in five of them.

Williams is poised for another big game on the ground, which will open opportunities in the passing game.

San Jose State has been floundering as of late with the offense showing little signs of putting together scoring drives.

Over the last two games with Nash under center, the Spartans have had 27 offensive drives with only three resulting in touchdowns. Another two of those drives ended with field goals, with the remainder resulting in no points.

The Rebels are due for a victory and what better time than homecoming at the new Allegiant Stadium while playing against a San Jose State team that has been trending in the wrong direction.

Pick: UNLV +5 (Play to +3.5)

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