UNLV Rebels (4-6 SU, 6-4 ATS) vs. New Mexico Lobos (3-7 SU, 4-6 ATS)
College Football Week 12
Date/Time: Friday, November 17, 2017 at 9:30PM EST
Where: Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico
by Scott, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UNLV (pk)/UNM (pk)
Over/Under Total: 56
On Friday in Mountain West Conference action, the UNLV Rebels come to Dreamstyle Stadium in Albuquerque to take on the New Mexico Lobos. Neither of these teams had a good time of it last week. The Lobos had a tough matchup when they went into College Station and got thumped by Texas A&M, 55-14. They now return home for a conference matchup with UNLV, who fell to BYU at home last week, 31-21. They were hoping for better after two straight wins, but maybe they can get their fifth win of the season against a New Mexico team that has now lost five in a row.
The Lobos didnt get a very favorable matchup last week with the road trip to Texas A&M. For a team trying to get it together after a rough patch, its probably not helpful to go get a 55-14 beating by an SEC team. They started the season 3-2, before things grew sour. Their defense eroded over the course of the season, while a run-game that was prolific has been grounded. They hope for better at UNLV this week in a much easier matchup than what they had last week. With 23 points scoring combined in their last three games, they need to find a source of offense.
The Lobos offense was out of their element on Saturday. With half their points coming on a kickoff return, the offense was again stymied. They can run the ball some with QB Lamar Jordan, Daryl Chestnut, Tyron Owens, and Richard McQuarley. They rely heavily on the run, but the ground-game just hasnt been very impactful in recent weeks. Jordan has thrown just three touchdowns this season with under 600 yards. They could be in better shape against the bad Vegas defense this week, but those getting behind the Lobos have to be leery with the stunningly-low amount of points they are putting up in recent weeks.
You dont want to take the Lobos to task for allowing a big day on offense to A&M on Saturday. But in their own conference, they havent been that good, either. Lately, theyve been getting hung out to dry by the offense, with the Lobos defense on the field a lot and not getting a lot of support. The pass-rush has been nonexistent, with the D getting almost no turnovers or anything that would qualify as a positive development. They are just out there winging it a lot of the time. Even against a so-so UNLV offense, there are matchup concerns, especially in the pass-defense, where theyve been very leaky this season.
The UNLV home loss to a down BYU team was upsetting. After two straight conference wins and with a chance to go to .500 and get in line for a bowl game, the Rebels fell flat against a BYU team that hadnt gotten much right this season. They gave up a lot of yards on defense, while they were unable to run the ball, while making a lot of mistakes on that side of the ball. They couldnt really generate anything positive on either side of the ball and here they are in week 12 trying to put the pieces back together for a road trip to visit the Lobos.
The UNLV offense wasnt bad simply in terms of production on Saturday with almost 450 yards of total offense against a really bad Brigham Young D. Penalties, turnovers, and drives just dying a premature death led to only 21 points. QB Johnny Stanton threw for 325 yards with a couple scores. Two picks were costly, one coming in the end zone on what looked to be a promising and long drive. Not getting points in that spot seemed to hurt the offense mentally. Their go-to guy on the ground, Lexington Thomas, was only so-so on the day. Brandon Presley and Devonte Boyd each caught TD passes and they got some production from Darren Woods. But against a leaky BYU D, and at home and on a little roll, a lot more was expected.
Even worse was how the Rebels defense couldnt be very effective against a terrible BYU offense that was decimated by injuries. Their backup QB was able to run the offense smoothly. Back Squally Canada went over 200 yards rushing. One could have expected more big plays from this side of the ball, at home with momentum against one of the worst offenses in the nation this season. The defense appeared to be sleepy and unable to generate anything like a big play or anything that contributes to the overall effort of the team. Well see what they come up with this week and if this D is unable to show anything against two bad offensive teams in a row, it would be bitter pill to swallow for a Vegas team that looked to be getting it together a little bit.
Its a difficult game to call between two teams that dont always fire. It comes down to which team has more in the tank and based on last weeks results, the answer is less-than-clear. Whichever team you pick, there is a certain leap-of-faith necessary. Neither side elicits much confidence. My guess is that UNLVs superior variety on offense will be enough to cover the number. Well take UNLV in this one.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the UNLV Rebels in a pick em. Bet this game for FREE by taking advantage of a 50% bonus up to $250 at one of the web’s oldest and most trusted betting sites: BOVADA