MWC Betting Preview: New Mexico Lobos at UNLV Runnin’ Rebels

UNLV has been so reliant on the pass, but not with great success.
UNLV has been so reliant on the pass, but not with great success.

Time: 5:30 PM ET
Spread: UNLV -1
Total: 60

Betting odds courtesy of Bookmaker

UNLV is just 2-6 on the season with a 1-3 conference record, but college football oddsmakers are favoring the Runnin’ Rebels by 1-point in this week’s matchup against the New Mexico Lobos.

New Mexico relies heavily on the rush, averaging 304.4 yards per game on the ground. But in the air, the Lobos manage just 84.6 yards per game. The result is an ineffective offense that averages just 25 points per contest. When the defense is subpar, that results in a lot of losses. The Rebels are giving up 32.4 points per game to opponents this season and have dropped two straight to San Diego State and Air Force.

The Lobos have dropped its last two contests to San Diego State and Air Force by a combined score of 59-45. Getting back on track may be hard, even though the point spread in college football odds favors the Rebels by just one point.

New Mexico has five players with 260 rushing yards or more, paced by Jhurell Pressley’s 580 yards and six TDs. He also averages an outstanding 8.5 yards per rush.

Lamar Jordan is a good dual-threat QB, but has attempted just 53 passes on the year, while rushing for 269 yards in his own right. He’s thrown just one INT in those 53 attempts though, while throwing four TD passes, so the Lobos have been effective when they do choose to air it out. Either way, Crusoe Gongbay will make his contributions from the backfield too, with a 5.5 yard per carry average and three TDs.

UNLV is kind of the polar opposite of New Mexico, with a good pass offense and a rush that generates just 122.1 yards per game. The result has been an ineffective offense, though, averaging just 18.9 points per game. The defense isn’t good enough to compensate for that incompetency, and is in fact, just down right bad, allowing 36.6 points to opponents this year.

UNLV QB Blake Decker is carving out a nice season with 1,899 yards and a 58 percent completion ratio, though he averages just 7.66 yards per reception. More disturbingly, he’s thrown 12 INTs while completing just nine TD passes. He has a stable full of capable receivers, with five WRs having 180 yards or more on the season.

Devonte Boyd is the best of that bunch with 562 yards on 17 yards per carry. But he’s rushed just 33 times on the year, and on one else has rushed more than 17 attempts. Turning to the backfield may be UNLV’s best chance at salvaging this season, but given the team’s one-dimensionality so far, this seems almost far fetched.

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