BYU Cougars vs. UNLV Rebels
Date and Time: Friday, November 10, 2017, 10:30 p.m. ET
Location: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV
Opening College Football Odds: UNLV -4.5
BYU vs. UNLV TV Coverage: ESPN2
UNLV has suddenly beaten Fresno State and Hawaii in consecutive games to improve to 4-5.
Clearly, it's the defense that has made all the difference for the Bulldogs. In their first seven games of the season, they conceded 499.1 yards and 36.1 points per game. In these last two, they've allowed 346 yards and 19.5 points per game.
It's hard to say that the Rebels have really put it all together yet either. Lexington Thomas hasn't even averaged five yards per carry or reached 100 yards in either of his last two games, a stunning development for one of the nation's top rushers.
The quarterback carousel in Provo is turning again.
Just when it started to look like Tanner Mangum was going to have control of this offense for the rest of the season, he went down with a torn Achilles' tendon against Fresno State and is done for the year.
That means it's time for Beau Hoge to take back over again.
With Mangum out, there really isn't a good option left for the BYU passing game. Hoge has completed 48.7 percent of his passes and is averaging 6.6 yards per pass attempt. Yet his numbers are sterling when compared to the stats of the other quarterbacks on this roster, Koy Detmer Jr. and Joe Critchlow.
9 – The number of penalties UNLV has committed in its last two games combined.
Remember way back to the start of the season when Howard came to Las Vegas and delivered a stunning upset to UNLV? The Rebels were flagged 13 times for 90 yards in that game alone.
Now all of a sudden, the football is getting much cleaner for the Rebels, and they're able to sustain some success on both sides of the ball as a result.
This BYU team isn't talented enough to be able to win this game on its own. It's going to need help from the Rebels in the form of turnovers and penalties to have a shot at this upset. If the Rebels can avoid doing that to themselves, they should be in great shape.
BYU vs. UNLV Free Picks
The top online sportsbooks have realized UNLV's return to the bowl picture, lining it almost as a surprising 7-point favorite against Hawaii last week. That game was won as it should have been, and now comes a game that should be an even bigger slam dunk.
UNLV hasn't won three games in a row since the 2013 season, and it has to see opportunity knocking in this game.
But this one really is more about BYU than it is about UNLV. The Cougars have no business being on the same field as the Rebels right now. They did score 41 points against San Jose State, but the Spartans might be the worst team in America this year. Take that out, and BYU has scored 13, 17, 10, 7, 24, 6, 13, 0 and 20 over the course of the rest of its schedule.
We have a hunch the Rebels are going to put it all together in this game and come up with a really impressive victory that will only further pour salt in a wide-open wound that has been the 2017 season for BYU. Don't be shocked if this loss is the de facto end of Kalani Sitake in charge of the football team.
College Football ATS Pick: UNLV -4.5 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: UNLV 45, BYU 10