The UNLV Rebels hope to take a big step toward bowl eligibility when they host the BYU Cougars. Game time is 10:30 EST on Friday, November 10 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. Fans can watch the game on ESPN2.
The Rebels are a 4-point favorite in this game, although they initially opened as 6-point favorites. The over/under for the game is 49.5 points. Click here for a full list of Week 11 betting odds and links to game previews.
BYU vs UNLV Game Preview & Betting Odds
This season has been a nightmare for BYU. The Cougars currently sit at 2-8 overall, guaranteeing their first losing season since 2004. To make matters worse, starting quarterback Tanner Mangum went down with a season-ending injury last week just when he was starting to play his best football of the season.
UNLV, meanwhile, still has everything to play for this season. They’ve come a long way after losing their season opener to Howard. The Rebels have won their last two games, beating Fresno State and Hawaii, to get to 4-5 on the season. If they can win two of their final three games they can get to a bowl game for the first time since the 2013 season. With a win over BYU, the chances of that happening go up significantly.
The fact that the Rebels are favorites in this game is a big deal and a testament to how far BYU has fallen this season. UNLV has just three all-time wins against BYU in 19 head-to-head meetings. They’ve never beat the Cougars at home, so this would be a bit of history for them if they can get the win this week.
Free College Football Against the Spread Pick: UNLV -4
With BYU losing their starting quarterback and the line actually coming down, I have to lean toward UNLV in this game. The Rebels are the home team, they’ve built some momentum with two straight wins, and they appear to have found an answer at quarterback.
Senior Johnny Stanton has started the last two games at quarterback for UNLV, and the results have been great. Armani Rogers saw some time last week after missing the previous game with a concussion, but he struggled. Rogers has been inconsistent throwing the ball all season. Meanwhile, Stanton has looked sharp the past two weeks, completing 64% of his passes for nearly 400 yards.
Click on the link for more free NCAA football picks against the spread and total.
The tradeoff is that without Rogers at quarterback, the Rebels will lose one of their best running options. But with Lexington Thomas, UNLV has a back who’s already rushed for over 1,000 yards this season. With Thomas running the ball and Stanton a proficient passer, the Rebels have a more balanced offense to go up against a BYU defense that has hung tough this season despite little team success.
On the other side of the ball, UNLV has one of the worst defenses in the country. The Rebs are giving up more than 32 points per game. However, they’ve been much better the past couple of weeks. Holding Fresno State to 16 points and less than 300 yards a couple weeks ago was no small feat.
There’s also no guarantee the Cougars will be able to take advantage of an inconsistent UNLV defense. BYU has three quarterbacks competing to replace Mangum. Beau Hoge is the most experienced, but he’s been dreadful in two previous starts this year. The Cougars also don’t have much of a running game to help out whatever quarterback gets the nod.
I do believe the Cougars can keep this game competitive with a strong defensive effort. But with so much uncertainty at the quarterback position, I don’t know how they’ll score points, even against an unreliable UNLV defense. The Rebels should be able to get a rare win over BYU and cover a 4-point spread.