Major Line Move Makes UNLV the Right Choice Over San Jose State

Jason Lake

Thursday, October 25, 2018 7:44 PM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018 7:44 PM UTC

The UNLV Rebels aren’t very good, but they’re better than the San Jose State Spartans – and they belong in your Week 9 college football picks at their new price.

Jason’s 2018-19 NCAAF picks record through Week 8: 11-9 ATS; 0-1 ML (minus-1.00 units), 0-2 Totals

UNLV vs. San Jose StateSaturday, 6:30 p.m. ET, San JoseFree NCAAF Pick: Rebels +3Best Line Offered: 5Dimes


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One of the great things about making college football picks is you get so many teams to choose from. There are only 32 teams in the NFL, but there are 130 teams in the FBS, so you know you’re going to get a bargain or two when you go line shopping. Hey, here’s one now: the UNLV Rebels. They opened as 1.5-point road faves for Saturday’s game against the San Jose State Spartans, but at press time, UNLV are available at +3 on the NCAAF odds board. That is a significant line move right there.

Well, it’s easy to bail on the Rebels (2-5 SU, 4-3 ATS) given how poorly they’ve played this year. UNLV have lost four straight games, including three in a row since QB Armani Rogers suffered a torn plantar plate in his left foot. But that injury might give the Rebs even more betting value against San Jose State (0-7 SU, 3-4 ATS), who are really, really bad at football. Really bad.

Altered States

Let’s start testing our hypothesis by looking at the projections for Saturday’s game, and seeing how they match up with the latest odds:

  • ESPN Football Power Index: UNLV 58.1 percent
  • Equivalent Moneyline (using SBR Odds Converter): UNLV –139
  • Equivalent Point Spread (via Wizard of Odds): UNLV –2.5

So the opening lines were fairly close to the projections – as they often are. The consensus reports show 56 percent of bettors on UNLV; that suggests the big money is on San Jose, which makes us a little nervous here at the home office. Maybe some high rollers got drunk and thought they were betting on San Diego State instead? Or on any of the other four States in the Mountain West? Whatever the case, they’ve turned the winless Spartans into 3-point home faves.


Hugga Mugga Max

Just in case you think we’re being cruel to SJSU, we turn to the advanced stats at Football Outsiders, where the Spartans rank No. 120 overall according to the F/+ Combined Ratings through Week 8. That’s far enough behind No. 109 UNLV to make that 3-point spread look awfully sketchy. San Jose doesn’t get much of a boost at CEFCU Stadium, either; last year’s research by ESPN’s Brad Edwards and Seth Walter had the Spartans pegged at minus-0.34 Points Above Expectation playing at home.

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Air Force putting the ball on the carpet until UNLV and Max Gilliam can get the backdoor points on the board #MountainWestAfterDark pic.twitter.com/OMFiUImbYd

— Collin Wilson (@_Collin1) October 20, 2018
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The thing is, UNLV might not be that worse off with Max Gilliam instead of Rogers. The former Cal quarterback has some chops, and the Rebs are performing better now that they’ve had some time to switch their offensive game plan from running to passing. Let’s give them a spin this week for a suitably small wager, given the piles of money on the other side, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.

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