College Football Picks: San Jose State is in a Favorable Position to Cover ATS as a Road Favorite vs. UNLV

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, October 8, 2015 7:31 PM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015 7:31 PM UTC

The San Jose State Spartans are 2.5-point road favorites on the college football odds board against the UNLV Rebels. What's the right college football pick for this game? 

San Jose State (-2) vs. UNLV, Saturday, October 10 at 9:00 PM ET
This is one of my favorite role change plays in terms of situational handicapping.  We look to fade any home dog (the inferior team for consecutive weeks) after they have won outright as a road dog of 7 or more the previous week.  Last week, UNLV upset in-state rival Nevada, setting up a situation that finds the Rebels 1-8 ATS following the battle for the Freemont Canon.  A closer look at the stats finds that although UNLV won, they were outgained by the Wolfpack 343-301.  I like the work being done by 1st year HC Sanchez (the former HC at Bishop Gorman HS in Las Vegas), where he led  his team to 6 Class 4A state titles and saw much of his talent matriculate to big-name schools.  Improvement seemed obvious from a Rebel team who won only 2 games in 3 of the previous 4 years.  But, the Rebels enter this game at 2-3 SU, 3-2 ATS with coverage of 69 net points, keeping this point spread in line. 

Today, however, they face a San Jose State team who is one of the most improved in the nation and who beat them 33-10 last year.  That game was every bit as lopsided as the final score with the Spartans offering 200 Club numbers for a total yardage edge of 542-221.  It’s that Spartans’ improved defense, which has caught our eye.  Last year, they improved from 35/459 to 29/357.  With 7 starters returning to that side of the ball, the Spartan improvement continues allowing just 333 YPG on 5.2 YP play.  Last week, in a 35-21 loss, but cover, vs. SEC power Auburn, the Spartans actually outgained the Tigers 406-342.  Were it not for a (-4) net TO margin in that game, they may have actually beaten Auburn.  In State’s only game against similar competition, they beat Fresno 2 weeks ago (49-23) with a 200 Cluv offense that outgained Fresno 543-247. 

With UNLV being in a negative role change situation and the San Jose State team offering clear improvement, look for one of the nation’s leading rushers, RB Ervin, to control matters at the point of attack against a UNLV defensive front allowing 4.9 YPR.  Check back later in the week for the status of Rebel QB Decker, who is scheduled to give way to replacement QB Palandech, due to a bum shoulder by Decker.  That would make Spartans’ QB Gray, with 69% completions, the superior signal caller on the field.     

All of the above are the reasons why San Jose State is my college football pick of the week against UNLV, as “Last Week’s Upset Winner... This Week's Loser.”  At this short road price, San Jose State is the college football odds favorite to get this comfortable victory.

College Football Picks: San Jose State -2.5 at Pinnacle

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