Pick Fresno State Minus the Points vs. UNLV Week 7

Darin Zank

Monday, October 6, 2014 5:55 PM GMT

Fresno State started 0-3 both SU & ATS this season, but is 3-0 SU & ATS since then. The Bulldogs shoot for a 4th-straight victory/cover when they hit Vegas to play the Runnin' Rebels Friday night.

The Betting Odds
Most books we consulted opened Fresno State at right around -9 for this game over UNLV, then quickly bumped the Bulldogs to upwards of -11.5, presumably because of the injury situation with the Rebels' starting quarterback.

 

Bulldogs-Rebels: The Set-Up
Fresno State is off to a 3-3 start to this season, both SU and ATS, losing its first three games, but winning its last three. The Bulldogs opened with that 52-13 loss at USC, whiffing on the cover as 18-point dogs. They then lost at Utah 59-27 as 13-point dogs, and at home to Nebraska 55-19 as 11-point home dogs. But the schedule got a little easier and FSU beat Southern Utah, covering at -17; then won at New Mexico 35-24, covering at -6; and  last week the 'Dogs defeated San Diego State 24-13, covering at -3.5. Fortunately for Fresno State the Aztecs were without their starting quarterback.

The Bulldogs only came up with 315 yards of offense last week, but held San Diego State to 270 yards.

On the other side of this match-up, after winning a total of six games in its first three seasons under Coach Hauck, UNLV won seven last year and broke a 12-season bowl-less streak. Unfortunately, the Rebels are having a tough time backing that effort up this season, going just 1-5 both SU and ATS so far.

The Rebs opened with a 58-13 loss at Arizona, missing the cover as 21-point dogs. They then squeaked out a 13-12 victory over Northern Colorado, coming nowhere close to covering as 27-point favorites. Since then UNLV has lost to Northern Illinois 48-34, at Houston 47-14, at San Diego State 34-17 and, last week, 33-10 at San Jose State.

The Rebels led the Spartans last week 7-0, but gave up the next 33 points. UNLV got outgained 542-221 and lost time-of-possession by a 39-21 margin.

 

Bulldogs-Rebels Recent History
These former WAC rivals used to meet every season, but last year played for the first time since 1997. The Bulldogs beat the Rebs 38-14 in Fresno, but UNLV sneaked out the cover as a 25-point dog.

Fresno State grabbed an early 21-0 lead, led by 24 with three minutes left in the third quarter, but settled for a scoreless tie from there, declining to cover the spread. The Bulldogs outgained the Rebels that day 641-294 and won time-of-possession by a 34-26 margin.

Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr threw four touchdown passes to Devante Adams that day; unfortunately for the 'Dogs both those guys play on Sundays now.

 

Bulldogs-Rebels Betting Trends
Fresno State is 8-6 SU and 8-5-1 ATS on the road in two-plus seasons under Coach DeRuyter.

UNLV is 12-6-1 ATS as a home dog over the last four-plus seasons.

 

Injury Update
UNLV is a bit banged up on offense; WR Devante Davis, who's second on the team with 17 catches this season, has missed recent action with a bad wrist and in questionable for Friday. And QB Blake Decker missed the second half of last week's game with an apparent arm injury, and his status is uncertain; expect the College Football odds to fluctuate accordingly. 

 

Bulldogs-Rebels Free Pick
Fresno State took a beating against some good teams earlier this season (Utah is 4-1 and ranked No. 24 this week), but is probably better for it now. UNLV, on the other hand, has been outrushed its last four games by almost 200 yards per. So while we don't like going with the flow we'll back the Bulldogs, minus the points, for our free College Football pick.

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