College Football Picks, Predictions for Vanderbilt vs UNLV

College Football Picks, Predictions for Vanderbilt vs UNLV article feature image

Photo by Johnnie Izquierdo/Getty Images. Pictured: AJ Swann (Vanderbilt)

Vanderbilt vs UNLV Odds

Saturday, Sept. 16
7 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Vanderbilt Odds
-115o / -105u
-115o / -105u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

After two wins at home to begin this season, Vanderbilt suffered its first loss, 36-20, at Wake Forest last week. However, with a win in Week 3, it will be halfway to bowl eligibility.

The Commodores will be on the road at UNLV as they search for that third win.

UNLV was on the road last week and lost, 35-7, at Michigan. However, it did secure a cover in the Big House and it's 1-1 straight up and against the spread this season.

UNLV won the first meeting in this series, 34-10, in Nashville back in 2019. This time, Vanderbilt is a 4.5-point favorite on the road.

Will Vanderbilt return the favor in UNLV's building?

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Vanderbilt Commodores

For Vanderbilt, the passing attack has carried the offense this season, as the team has thrown the ball on 54% of its offensive snaps.

Quarterback AJ Swann has been up to the task, as he's thrown eight touchdowns, tossed three interceptions, is completing 61% of his passes and is averaging 255 passing yards per game.

Swann has been sacked six times in the first two games and the Commodores are 71st in Havoc Allowed, but the team may get back starting right tackle Junior Uzebu. The West Virginia transfer returned to practice on Tuesday and is trending towards playing.

Wide receiver Will Sheppard has picked up where he left off last year when he led the team with 60 receptions for 776 yards and nine touchdowns. He's caught two touchdowns in each of the first three games this season and his next score will be the 20th of his career.

Jayden McGowan has 18 receptions for 214 yards out of the slot, while freshman London Humphreys has been the big-play target, averaging over 27 yards per catch.

The Commodores are 47th in Passing Success Rate this season. The Rebels were picked apart by J.J. McCarthy through the air last week, so Swann will be looking for similar results.

Vanderbilt is trending in the right direction offensively, but head coach Clark Lea has some work to do with his defense. The Commodores are 85th in Rushing Success Rate and 93rd in Passing Success Rate defensively. They allowed 351 passing yards to Hawaii and 288 rushing yards to Wake Forest.

UNLV quarterback Doug Brumfield is capable of beating them with his arm and legs, so they will need to be up to the task.

If UNLV has success moving the ball, Vanderbilt may be able to limit the Rebels' scoring opportunities. Vanderbilt is 26th in Finishing Drives defensively, while UNLV's offense is 85th early in this season.

UNLV Rebels

Over the last few seasons, UNLV's offense has gone as quarterback Brumfield has. This year, he's gotten off to a slow start, as he's thrown for less than 200 yards in the first two games.

However, it's hard to blame him for last week's game given the pressure he was under.

The Wolverines sacked Brumfield five times and pressured him countless others. UNLV is 112th in Line Yards and 89th in Havoc Allowed. It will not have to deal with Michigan's front this week, but Vanderbilt is 63rd in Havoc on defense.

All six of UNLV's offensive touchdowns this season have come on the ground. It only ran for 61 yards on two yards per carry against Michigan, but it ran for 268 yards on 6.7 yards per carry in the opener against Bryant. Expect the Rebels' rushing attack to perform somewhere in the middle against Vanderbilt.

Last week, UNLV faced a quarterback in McCarthy who may be a first-round pick next April, so you knew it would be in for a long day.

However, McCarthy nearly had as many touchdowns (two) as incompletions (three) and he wasn't sacked once. UNLV also allowed 230 passing yards and had just one sack against Bryant.

The Rebels are 132nd in Passing Success Rate and 123rd in Havoc on defense. If the Rebels can't pressure Swann, he and his receivers will be in for a big day.

UNLV is also 105th in Rushing Success Rate defensively if Vanderbilt wants to establish its running game. Vanderbilt running backs Patrick Smith and Sedrick Alexander each have over 100 rushing yards and three combined rushing touchdowns this season.

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Vanderbilt vs UNLV

Matchup Analysis

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

Vanderbilt Offense vs. UNLV Defense
Rush Success40105
Line Yards7952
Pass Success47123
Finishing Drives3354
Quality Drives5170
UNLV Offense vs. Vanderbilt Defense
Rush Success8885
Line Yards112100
Pass Success9893
Finishing Drives8526
Quality Drives8292
Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling7315
PFF Coverage3588
Special Teams SP+311
Middle 810674
Seconds per Play26.7 (64)24.4 (29)
Rush Rate45.7% (105)58.7% (56)

Vanderbilt vs UNLV

Betting Pick & Prediction

This is the first time that UNLV will host an SEC opponent at Allegiant Stadium.

Vanderbilt went on the road last season to face another MWC team, Hawaii. In that game, Vanderbilt was a nine-point favorite and won 63-10. UNLV is better than that Hawaii team and will be more competitive in this game, but the spot is similar.

The biggest unit advantage in this game is Vanderbilt's offense against UNLV's defense. Swann should have a clean pocket in this one, especially if he gets his right tackle back. That will lead to a big day in the passing game and at least one Sheppard touchdown.

Vanderbilt is 0-3 against the spread this season and 0-2 as a favorite. However, it was asked to cover as a 17.5- and 35-point favorite in those games.

Here, the Dores basically have to win by a touchdown as 4.5-point favorite.

I like the Commodores in this spot, and I would back them up to -6.5.

Pick: Vanderbilt -4.5 (Play to -6.5)
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