College Football Odds: 2010 UNLV Rebels

By: Jimmy Sirody | Monday, August 16, 2010
Channing Trotter

Channing Trotter led UNLV in 2009 with 541 yards rushing.

Watching UNLV play football over the past decade has been about as much fun as a visit to the proctologist. Betting on the Rebels has been even more unpleasant. Playing Keno on a regular basis would have proved more profitable.

UNLV has had just one winning season the last 15 years (8-5 in 2000). Mike Sanford took over in 2005 and in his five years the team was a league-worst 8-32 in Mountain West Conference play.

This year they bring in new head coach Bobby Hauck from Montana. He inherits 15 starters from a team that could easily have been bowl eligible the last two years but underachieved.

UNLV is capable of putting some points on the board. The Rebels ranked fifth in the conference in total offense last year, averaging 351.3 yards per game. However, Hauck would like to base the offense on a physical run game, something that lacked for the most part in the spread offense Sanford ran.

The defense needs the most work. Even though the Rebels return eight starters and will continue to run a 4-3 scheme, they were last in the conference last season in rushing defense (220.6 yards per game), total defense (456.2 YPG), quarterback sacks (15) and red zone defense (41 scores in 45 tries). UNLV also allowed 32.4 points per contest.

The Rebels came up short in eight of 11 against the college football betting spreads last season and they are a dismal 49-65-1 ATS since 2000. They aren’t favored often at Sam Boyd Stadium and stumble on those rare occasions (9-19).

UNLV fell short in two of three as home pups in 2009 after cashing 11 of 16 in that role. The Rebels open the season on Sept. 4 as 18-point home dogs to Big Ten bully Wisconsin.

UNLV threw a scare into the Badgers in the last meeting in Las Vegas in ’07, bowing 20-13 as 26 ½-point short-enders, 20-13, while extending its series ‘cover’ run to three.

The Rebels have struggled against just about every conference foe. They have failed to ‘cover’ four of five at home against New Mexico, dropped three consecutive spread decisions at New Mexico and failed to grab the cheese in six of seven versus TCU.

Surprisingly, UNLV has given BYU fits in Provo, cashing six of seven.

Payback hasn’t been a big part of the Rebels’ recent point spread resume. They have flopped in 27 of 40 on the highway ATS avenging a home loss since 1992.

Sixth or seventh place is probably the best Hauck can hope for in his first season. To make matters worse, the non-conference schedule is challenging.

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