College Football Odds & Picks for UNLV vs. Nevada: Will Carson Strong and Wolf Pack Bounce Back?

College Football Odds & Picks for UNLV vs. Nevada: Will Carson Strong and Wolf Pack Bounce Back? article feature image

Jonathan Devich/Getty Images. Pictured: A Nevada Wolf Pack football player.

UNLV vs. Nevada Odds

Friday, Oct. 29
10 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
-110o / -110u
Nevada Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

UNLV heads to Reno to face its Silver State rival, Nevada, in a showdown for the Fremont Cannon.

UNLV is desperate for a win after a brutal 0-7 start to the season. To go even further, head coach Marcus Arroyo is 0-13 since taking over these Rebels.

Nevada, meanwhile, is riding high after winning three of its last four games. Quarterback Carson Strong has led the Wolf Pack to a 2-1 record in conference play and looks to keep that going this week against a struggling Rebels team.

But will it be as easy as it looks for the Wolf Pack? The Rebels may be 0-7, but five of their seven games have been decided by single digits.

Will the Rebels find a way to hang around this week in a big rivalry game, or will Strong lead the Pack to a dominant win at home?

UNLV Rebels

The Rebels have lost 13 in a row and are 0-13 since Arroyo took over. But who did their' last win come against? Nevada.

UNLV is averaging 17.3 points per game and 289 yards per game, as both marks rank outside the top 100.

While this Rebels squad has yet to find that ever-elusive win, they have improved recently. UNLVs last four games have all been determined by one score or less.

This team is terrible, but it hasn't been getting blown out. Only Arizona State and Iowa State have beaten this team by more than one score, and both teams have been in the AP Top 25 at one point or another this season.

With nearly a 20-point spread this week, I think it's essential to look at how UNLV has fared against the spread rather than in the win/loss column. The Rebels haven't won a road game since November 2019. But they are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five road games and 6-2 in their last eight overall.

The quarterback situation for the Rebels will be possibly the most important thing to monitor this week leading up to the game. Doug Brumfield is the first-stringer and best quarterback on the team, but he's been sidelined with a back injury.

Backup Cameron Friel has taken over in his absence and hasn't been terrible, but he's had some turnover issues while completing 64% of his passes for 859 yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions.

Tate Martell, who I feel has been playing college football for nine years, is also on the team but hasn't seen much of an opportunity.

As of writing, Brumfield is still day-to-day. If he gets the start, the Rebels' chances improve significantly against a Nevada team whose defense ranks outside the top 100 in opponent pass yards per game.

Defensively, UNLV allows 33.9 points and 448.7 yards per game. There aren't many bright spots in the Rebels defense, but they match up closely with Nevada's offense in Finishing Drives.

The UNLV defense only allows opponents to score in the red zone 78.1% of the time, good for 41st in the country. Stopping the Wolf Pack in the red zone will be a key to keeping this game close.

Nevada also has quite a one-dimensional offense that ranks fourth in the country in pass play percentage at 65%. UNLV ranks outside the top 100 in pass defense, but not worrying about the run may allow it to improve.

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Nevada Wolf Pack

The Nevada offense averages 35.7 points per game and 459.3 yards per game.

Strong has made the Wolf Pack one of the best offensive teams in the country. Ranking fourth in passing yards per game and 13th in completion percentage, head coach Jay Norvell has no problem letting Strong throw on more than two-thirds of plays.

It hasn't been all positive for the Wolf Pack, however. Their comeback against Fresno State last week fell just short due to a failed two-point conversion.

Strong went 49-of-61 for 476 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception on the night. At the same time, wide receiver Romeo Doubs went off with 19 receptions for 203 yards and one touchdown.

However, there was an evident weakness that cost Nevada the game.

The Wolf Pack defense gave up 461 total yards to Fresno State, allowing a team that averages just 130 rush yards per game to record 205 yards on the ground. The Bulldogs also averaged 6.83 yards per carry, a season-high for them in conference play.

The Rebels aren't a rushing powerhouse, but I do expect them to look for an advantage against a superior Nevada team anywhere they can find it.

The Nevada defense also allows opponents to score on 90% of trips to the red zone, which may be all UNLV needs to make this a game.

UNLV vs. Nevada Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how UNLV and Nevada match up statistically:

UNLV Offense vs. Nevada Defense
Rush Success88123
Line Yards87103
Pass Success11095
Pass Blocking**11138
Big Play9266
Finishing Drives6892
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Nevada Offense vs. UNLV Defense
Rush Success9752
Line Yards8857
Pass Success8125
Pass Blocking**110119
Big Play10128
Finishing Drives7478
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling90102
Middle 81288
SP+ Special Teams8267
Plays per Minute12031
Rush Rate57.4% (51)35.6% (128)

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

UNLV vs. Nevada Betting Pick

The Rebels are not a good football team, plain and simple.

But time after time, they have found ways to hang around in games, and that's exactly what I expect them to do in this rivalry game against a Nevada team with a one-dimensional offense and a mediocre defense.

I took the Rebels at +21 (-115) while I was able to before it moved back down. But I feel comfortable backing them as low as +18 at -105.

Pick: UNLV +18 (-105) or better

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