Mountain West Odds, Picks, Futures: 4 Win Totals to Bet, Including Fresno State & Nevada

Mountain West Odds, Picks, Futures: 4 Win Totals to Bet, Including Fresno State & Nevada article feature image

Michael Owens/Getty Images. Pictured: Jake Haener.

Despite the entire landscape quickly shifting across college football, the Mountain West continues with business as usual this season.

But starting next year, the conference will eliminate the two-division format. The new structure will ensure the top two teams from the conference are playing for the title at the end of the season.

The Mountain West was one of the most competitive conferences in the country last season. Five teams were live to make the championship game heading into the final week of the regular season. Utah State came out victorious after holding preseason odds of +10000.

Oddsmakers anticipate another tight race this season with four teams in the field holding odds better than +500.

With only a few short weeks before college football season kicks off, now is the time to lock in some future wagers for the upcoming season.

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Utah State Under 7 (-115 · Caesars)

Utah State repeating as conference champions will take a monumental effort, as no program will make the mistake of overlooking the Aggies again.

There are some things to like about this Utah State roster. It returns second-year head coach Blake Anderson, along with starting quarterback Logan Bonner, running back Calvin Tyler and the entire offensive line.

But this offense proved incapable of rushing the football. The group ranked 127th in Rushing Success Rate while relying on the big play, owning the third-most explosive offense in the country.

However, with the top three pass-catchers departing, that will be difficult to reproduce. The uptempo offense won’t catch defensive coordinators off-guard as we saw last season.

Defensively, the group has some major holes, with only five starters returning. Four of the leading tacklers from last season were among those who departed.

The program was fortunate to finish 11-3 last season, receiving some lucky breaks that went its way. The Wolf Pack beat Colorado State, UNLV and Air Force each by four points or less.

The Aggies were also gifted one of the softest schedules in the conference, managing to avoid Fresno State, San Diego State and Nevada.

Utah State will need to win eight games to hit this win total. I have the program marked as significant underdogs against Alabama, BYU and Boise State. Air Force will surely be out for revenge after blowing a 11-point lead in its matchup that cost it the division last season.

The Aggies will need to be perfect in their remaining games to go over this total. Don’t expect lightning to strike twice in Logan.

Under 7

Fresno State Over 8.5 & MWC Champions (+240)

Despite Washington picking the Fresno State coaching staff like buzzards in the desert, the Bulldogs are my favorite pick to win the Mountain West Conference.

The program ranks among the top in the country in returning production.

No returner is more important than Jake Haener, who led the Bulldogs to become one of the top aerial offenses in the country. Haener tossed 33 touchdowns to nine interceptions last season while becoming the first Bulldog quarterback to eclipse the 4,000-yard passing mark since Derek Carr.

This season’s expectations are even higher for Haener, who will still have his top two pass-catchers in Jalen Cropper and Josh Kelly. The two deep-ball threats combined for 1,677 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.

Fresno State’s Jake Haener, who was dealing with hip pain all night, threw the game-winning TD against No. 13 UCLA with 14 seconds left.

He finished with 455 passing yards, two TDs and the W 😤

(via @MountainWest)

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 19, 2021

As electric as Fresno State’s offense was, the defense was equally as impressive, allowing less than 21 points per game. The unit ranked fifth in the nation in Havoc and seventh in Passing Success Rate. The Bulldogs return seven starters on that side of that ball, including the four leading tacklers from last year’s squad.

Head coach Jeff Tedford returns for his second tenure at his alma mater. Tedford is an offensive guru who will inherit one of the top offenses in the country. With a soft schedule to boot, anything less than a championship will be disappointing.

My numbers have the Bulldogs as double-digit favorites in eight of their games this season. An undefeated regular season isn’t out of question with an upset over USC.

Over 8.5 & MWC Champs

UNLV Over 4 (-110 · Caesars)

The Rebels may have finished last year with a 2-10 record, but they battled all season long.

UNLV’s roster was decimated by the injury bug and constantly cycled in a new starting quarterback each week. Six of its losses came by one possession, including defeats at the hands of Fresno State, UTSA, Utah State and San Diego State.

Head coach Marcus Arroyo is on the hot seat after winning just two games in as many seasons leading the program.

But there’s reason for optimism this season, as the program ranks 18th in the nation in returning production. This could finally UNLV’s chance to make a bowl game for the first time since 2013.

UNLV will finally have a strong quarterback running the show after former five-star prospect (per Rivals) Harrison Bailey transferred in from Tennessee.

UNLV’s defense also returns nine of its top 11 tacklers from last year’s roster.

The Rebels will be two-touchdown favorites over Idaho State and New Mexico. Matchups against North Texas, Utah State and San Jose State will be within reach. But most importantly, the program ends the season against Hawaii and Nevada —two programs that were obliterated by the transfer portal and find themselves in full-blown rebuild mode.

UNLV is long overdue to hit the jackpot on the Rebel Roller this season.

UNLV hits the slot machine after scoring a touchdown! #UNLVFB#CFB2021 🎰

— SportsGridTV (@SportsGridTV) October 17, 2021

Over 4

Nevada Under 4.5 (+105 · DraftKings)

No team in the entire country saw their roster get decimated in the offseason like the Nevada Wolf Pack. The Pack return only six starters and will be without 45 players from last year’s roster.

Nevada brings in a first-time head coach in Ken Wilson, who looks to transition away from the Air Raid offense. But he will be in over his head with the roster that was left for him.

With Carson Strong and his group of receivers leaving, Wilson will lean on running back Toa Taua to move the chains. However, Taua — and quarterback Nate Cox or Shane Illingworth — will have his own set of challenges with only one starter returning on an offensive line that allowed 45 sacks last season.

I have Nevada power-ranked as the second-worst team in the Mountain West — ahead of only a New Mexico team that doesn’t appear on the schedule this season.

The Wolf Pack will have a chance early in the season against New Mexico State, Texas State and Incarnate Word.

But they’re likely to get steamrolled the rest of the year. Nevada is pegged to be double-digit underdogs in seven of its remaining nine games. The only two matchups that will see close spreads are road games against Hawaii and UNLV.

Both sides of the ball are going through a complete rebuild. To make matters worse, the Pack have a grueling schedule against all of the top teams in the Mountain West.

I don’t see a way this team can find five victories this season.

Under 4.5

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