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UNLV Rebels vs. New Mexico Lobos Point Spread - Pick

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
TV: ESPN 2

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: UNLV pk/UNM pk
Over/Under Total: 55.5

The UNLV Rebels come to Dreamstyle Stadium in Albuquerque to face the New Mexico Lobos on Friday in Mountain West Conference action. The Rebels last played the previous Friday, putting forth a disappointing performance at home in losing to a bad BYU team, 31-21. They had a chance to go to .500 and now need to win their last two games of the regular season to become bowl-eligible. They visit a Lobos team that enters this game with a 3-7 mark, having dropped their last five games, including a rough 55-14 loss at Texas A&M on Saturday. Who can shine on Friday?

UNLV had been looking good with two straight conference wins leading up to the Friday loss to BYU. After starting the season at 2-5, they climbed back into a bit with the two straight wins. It seemed like order was restored and it set up well for a nice showing at home, which didn't materialize in week 11. The defense, especially against the run, was nonexistent, while the Rebels didn't run the ball that well and made a lot of mistakes on offense. They didn't get a lot of big plays on either side of the ball and now face a tough road trip against the Lobos.

The UNLV offense put up some production against BYU. They were even above their season average at 447 yards, but a couple Johnny Stanton interceptions and drives just stalling out prevented them from establishing much of a foothold. Stanton threw for 325 yards with 2 touchdowns, but the two picks cost them, one of them in the end zone after an exhausting drive that ended up not paying off. RB Lexington Thomas was OK, but didn't make a huge imprint on the game as one may have expected considering the BYU defense's recent form. Brandon Presley and Devonte Boyd each caught touchdown passes, with Darren Woods, Jr. also having a nice day, but the 21 points they came up with was a letdown with how well they moved the ball.

Against a dysfunctional BYU offense, the Vegas defense wasn't able to shine. They couldn't get any big plays and the pass-rush was minimal, with no turnovers on the day. As is their wont, they stunk it up something brutal in run-defense, yielding a career-high in yardage to back Squally Canada, who ran for 213. They couldn't stop backup QB Jon Critchlow from having an efficient game. The defense was just there—not doing much of anything positive against an offense that hadn't gotten much right this whole season. But the same can be said for the UNLV defense for the most part. They just completely lack any firepower whatsoever. The fact that they couldn't come up with anything at home with a chance to go to .500 against a spiraling BYU bunch is a damning indictment to say the least.

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Saturday was a rough spot for a nose-diving New Mexico team, having to go get their tails handed to them at College Station, absorbing a bad loss. After a 3-2 start, things have gone south for the Lobos, with some lopsided defeats in the mix, as well. After having to play Texas A&M on the road, perhaps being at home against UNLV will look easier for the Lobos. But they have scored a mere 23 combined points in their last 3 games. A heavy-duty running game has ebbed over the course of the season, with the defense following suit.

The New Mexico offense was really in the dumps on Saturday, albeit in a spot where they were heavily-outmatched. Seven of their 14 points were on a kickoff return, with Daryl Chestnut running in a score when the game was already well out of hand. They have almost no aerial game, with quarterback Lamar Jordan having 578 yards this season with three touchdowns. Jordan can run the ball some, with Tyrone Owens and Richard McQuarley, along with Chestnut the major players on an offense that has seen their overall production grind to a sudden halt.

On the defensive side of the ball, the prognosis hasn't been much rosier for the Lobos' defense. It doesn't help that they are hung out to dry by the offense, but they share some of the blame for the recent string of lopsided losses. Granted, they were up against it and out of their realm against Texas A&M, but they haven't been very good in their own conference. They have been barely making any positive plays in recent weeks, whether it is turnovers, getting a dead pass-rush cranked up, or in coming up with big stops.

This isn't an easy one to call. Both teams have been slipping over the course of the season and based on last week, it's hard to make the call on which team has retained more pride and is more likely to at least finish the season with a spirited effort. I think UNLV is not an easy team to bank on, but their greater options on offense will be enough to cover the number in Albuquerque. We're going with UNLV.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the UNLV Rebels in a pick-'em. Bet the UNLV vs. New Mexico game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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