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2018

UNVL

College Football

Betting Preview

UNLV was set to reach a bowl game in Tony Sanchez’s third season leading the team, but a couple unfortunate losses cost them, namely the opener against Howard. The Rebels return 16 starters, including two of the most exciting offensive players in the conference, which could lead to the team’s first bowl under Sanchez. Bookmakers feel the same way with their over/under opening firmly at six wins at 5Dimes Sportsbook with +4000 odds to win the MWC.

Sophomore quarterback Armani Rogers is the definition of explosive after winning the MWC’s Freshman of the Year award. He ran for 780 yards and eight touchdowns, but also had a solid 7.78 yards per attempt even with only a 52.4% completion rate. The key will be surpassing those numbers behind a line that returns three starters and gets back center Sid Acosta from a torn ACL. If that group can provide stability, the Rebels may have the best rushing attack in the conference after going for 240 yards per game last year. Lexington Thomas (1,336 yards, 17 TDs) should be near last year’s numbers, while Brandon Presley (552 yards), Darren Woods (366 yards) and Kendal Keys all provide dynamic options in the passing game. UNLV showed its strength in a 26-16 win at Fresno State last year (surprisingly without Rogers) and if it can show that consistency, a bowl game will be there for the taking.

But the defense still has to improve after giving up 239 rushing yards per game, one of the worst rates in the country to go with 31.8 points per contest. The hope is that new coordinator Tim Skipper can mix things up after coming over from being Linebackers coach at Florida. With seven starters returning, there is at least experience to work with and most of that comes at linebacker where Bailey Laolagi, Farrell Hester and Gabe McCoy all return. Sure, the line still has its issues and the secondary is small, but some JUCO transfers are expected to fight for time and give the unit a little depth.

UNLV may get destroyed in the opener, but winning its next four games may be possible with a 3-2 record the most likely situation before traveling to Utah State. As seen last year, this team has what it takes to beat some of the best in the conference, but without consistency, it struggled to string together wins. The Rebels are in line for three home wins in MWC play and then have a couple more opportunities at SJSU and Hawai’i to steal a road game or two. As long as everything comes to fruition for Rogers and Thomas in the running game, the offense should be able to score with regularity against everyone but teams like Fresno and SDSU. If that’s the case, six wins should be attainable, with a couple more depending on how the new defense looks under Skipper.

 

2018 UNLV Rebels Football Schedule

Sept. 1 at USC 

Sept. 8 vs. UTEP

Sept. 15 vs. Prairie View A&M

Sept. 22 at Arkansas State

Oct. 6 vs. New Mexico

Oct. 13 at Utah State

Oct. 19 vs. Air Force

Oct. 27 at San Jose State

Nov. 3 vs. Fresno State

Nov. 10 at San Diego State

Nov. 17 at Hawai’i

Nov. 24 vs. Nevada

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