Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: UNLV quarterback Armani Rogers
UNLV 2018 Betting Odds
- To win the Mountain West: +3300
- To win the West Division: +775
- Win Total: 6 (over -130, under +100)
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UNLV 2018 Schedule, Betting Odds
The Action Network Projected Wins: 5.7
Bet To Watch
UNLV Over 6 Wins (-130)
I was on a plane to Las Vegas in the summer of 2016 when I first heard, “Armani Rogers will take over the football world.”
I just happened to be sitting next to a member of the UNLV coaching staff, who proclaimed Rogers was doing things in practice that would shock people. And as a redshirt freshman in 2017, Rogers showed plenty of talent through the air and especially on the ground.
UNLV finished 18th overall in rushing (240 yards per game) and 12th nationally in Rushing IsoPPP (measures explosiveness), and the Rebels will feature a loaded offense once again this season. Not only does Rogers return alongside a deep receiving corps, but senior tailback Lexington Thomas is also back behind an experienced offensive line.
The question for head coach Tony Sanchez remains the same: When will UNLV field a defense? As good as the Rebels were running the ball last year, they were equally bad defending it. UNLV allowed 238.9 yards per game on the ground in 2017, the ninth-worst mark in the country.
Sanchez will try to answer that question with help from new defensive coordinator Tim Skipper. The former Florida linebackers coach has made comments about utilizing multiple front-seven schemes to confuse opposing offenses. I expect Skipper to bring much more pressure throughout the season to help improve a UNLV defensive unit that ranked dead last in Adjusted Sack Rate last season.
If the UNLV defense can put up any kind of resistance, Rogers and the offense can win any conference game on the schedule. The Rebels finished 2017 with a 5-7 record, but suffered three losses by seven points or fewer (Howard, Air Force, Nevada). They were not trailing in any of those three games at the start of the fourth quarter.
I think UNLV’s experience alone can get it at least one more win, so I’m going with over 6 wins (-130). I personally have the Rebels favored in six games and wouldn’t be shocked if they upset both Nevada and Utah State. After the Knights’ Stanley Cup run earlier this year, things are looking up for Las Vegas — which just might see UNLV’s first bowl win since 2000 (against my Hogs).
What else you need to know about UNLV
Take a look at the over in UNLV’s Week 1 clash with USC. With all of the defensive front-seven injuries currently plaguing USC, UNLV’s explosive rush offense should have a field day. And the UNLV defense might have to get worse before it gets better with a new coordinator implementing changes in Sin City.
The Trojans should have no issues scoring by leaning on running back Stephen Carr in what could be quarterback JT Daniels’ first exposure to college football.
In regards to the side, I’d recommend UNLV at anything over +24. I’ve already invested a nickel on the Rebels +30, and you can currently find +27 at CG Technology.