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UNLV vs. San Jose State Odds & Pick: Bet Underdog Rebels to Cover the First Half Spread

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Darryl Oumi/Getty Images. Pictured: San Jose State wide receiver Bailey Gaither.

  • San Jose State looks to build on its unbeaten start against the winless Runnin' Rebels of UNLV
  • Spartans transfer-QB Nick Starkel’s status is uncertain, although backup Nick Nash thrived last week.
  • Below, find Mike Bainbridge's full betting analysis on UNLV vs. San Jose State, including updated odds and his pick for Saturday night's game.

UNLV vs. San Jose State Odds

UNLV Odds +17 [BET NOW]
San Jose State Odds -17 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +525 / -770 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 61.5 [BET NOW]
Time Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET
TV FS2
Odds updated Saturday night and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today.

As I’m sure everyone predicted correctly before the season, San Jose State (3-0) sits atop the Mountain West standings after three weeks of play following their upset victory over San Diego State last week.

The Spartans are 3-0 for the first time since 1982 and have been getting it done on both sides of the ball, ranking in the top half of the MWC in both scoring offense and defense.

The UNLV Rebels (0-3) have struggled out of the gate under new head coach Marcus Arroyo, specifically on defense, where they’ve allowed at least 34 points in all three losses and are allowing 466 yards per game. Three second-half turnovers from quarterback Max Gilliam killed any hopes of upsetting Fresno State last week.


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UNLV Rebels

Disastrous fourth quarters have doomed the Rebels the last two weeks, as they were outscored 23-0 by both Nevada and Fresno State. Some of that is due to poorly timed turnovers late in games, but the lack of red zone success has contributed to UNLV’s scoring woes, as its converted on just 8 of 11 trips inside the 20, with only four touchdowns.

The staff is continuing to give Gilliam opportunities to throw the ball down in the red-zone area with 19 attempts, which is tied for most in the conference. However, he’s completing just 47 percent of those throws.

Lack of rushing success on the year has likely attributed to that, with UNLV ranking 73rd nationally. The Rebels are failing to get explosive plays from running back Charles Williams, who has rushed for 10 or more yards on just 10.6 percent of his attempts. That number is down considerably from the 2019 season.

Take out the 71-yard run Gilliam had last week, and UNLV is averaging just 3.38 yards per carry. In general, chunk plays are few and far in between this season, as the Rebels average just 4.37 yards per play.

It’s been a rough go of it on the defensive side as I noted in the intro, but if there is a bright spot, the defensive line has picked it up the last two weeks with a combined seven sacks. The Rebels have failed to generate any turnovers, though, with just two fumble recoveries.


San Jose State Spartans

To this point, San Jose State has declined to comment on the status of starting quarterback Nick Starkel, who left last week’s contest after taking a shot from a San Diego State defender.

Fortunately for the Spartans, backup Nick Nash did not look like a downgrade against the Aztecs, completing 64 percent of his throws for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Nash also adds a dual-threat element that Starkel lacks, as he rushed for 53 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. That gave life to a San Jose State rushing attack that statistically remains one of the worst in the country, averaging just 3.24 YPC and 94 YPG as a team.

The Spartans offset their rushing woes with one of the best passing attacks in the Mountain West, averaging 296 yards a game and ranking 26th in pass success rate. The tandem of Tre Walker and Bailey Gaither are some of the best wide receivers any G5 school has to offer. The Spartans are also getting contributions from tight end Derrick Deese, who has a team-high three receiving touchdowns.

The defense is where the biggest improvements have taken place under Brennan and coordinator Derrick Odum, as the Spartans have dropped from 34.8 PPG allowed in 2019 to just 14.7 this season. Tackles for loss per game are up (6.6) and yards given up per rush in conference play are down to just 3.4 YPC.

Both San Diego State and Air Force were held to season lows in rushing against San Jose State this season. The Spartans face another tall task in Williams, a former 1,000-yard rusher, but have passed all tests to date with flying colors.


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Betting Analysis & Picks

UNLV’s average point differential in its three losses this season is 19.7, but Arroyo’s game-week preparations seem to be steadily improving after trailing San Diego State by 27 points in the first half of the opener. Since then, UNLV remained competitive against both Nevada and Fresno State before giving away both games in the fourth quarter.

Conversely, San Jose State has been a slow starter this season, with a combined first-half margin of just four points in three games. With the Spartans riding high off an upset victory last week, and potentially a backup quarterback under center, there is some interest here in the 1H line.

Our PRO Projections model sees great value here with the under set at 59 points, with its total projection closer to 51.7 points.

Pick: UNLV 1H +7.5 | Total Under 59 Points

[Bet the UNLV first-half spread and the full-game under now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]
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