UNLV vs Michigan Odds, Picks, and Predictions: Edwards Delivers the Goods Early On

With Michigan listed as a 37-point favorite against UNLV in Week 2, you can expect complete domination from start to finish. Find out where the betting value lies in our NCAAF betting picks and predictions below.

Rob Paul - Betting Analyst at Covers.com
Rob Paul • Betting Analyst
Sep 8, 2023 • 12:48 ET • 4 min read
Donovan Edwards Michigan Wolverines Big Ten college football
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Last week the Michigan Wolverines made a big show about being without head coach Jim Harbaugh on their way to beating East Carolina 30-3 at the Big House. 

This week, they’ll once again be without Harbaugh — who is missing his second of three games after a school-imposed suspension for breaking NCAA recruiting rules — as they take on the UNLV Rebels.

With special teams coordinator Jay Harbaugh and running backs coach Mike Hart splitting duties as head coach this week, it played no factor in the world of college football odds with the Wolverines being 37-point favorites. 

Find out where my best bets lie in our college football picks and predictions for UNLV vs. Michigan below.

UNLV vs Michigan best odds

UNLV vs Michigan picks and predictions

The Michigan Wolverines have long been known as a run-first smashmouth offense under Harbaugh, and one of their keys the last few years has been offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore.

Moore, who along with coordinator duties has been Michigan’s offensive line coach the last three seasons, missed the opener with a suspension too, but will be back for the UNLV game.

Under Moore last season, the Wolverines offense finished ranked 12th in EPA per play and 11th in EPA per rush behind a Joe Moore-winning offensive line; annually awarded to the best offensive line in football, they also won it in 2021.

With a potential first-round quarterback in JJ McCarthy, the Wolverines leaned more on their passing game against the Pirates last week, but that was without Moore calling plays.

Now, with McCarthy showing he’s taken a step as a passer — he completed 86.7% of his passes and threw three touchdowns last week — the Rebels will likely not be able to stack the box like teams have done in the past against Michigan.

First-year UNLV head coach Barry Odom, who previously served as Missouri’s head coach and was Arkansas’ defensive coordinator last year, even pointed out how scary McCarthy makes the maize and blue.

“Their quarterback is a special player,” he said. “They're explosive on offense. They've got the skill and the scheme to stress you in every area.”

Regardless of how Moore splits the run and pass on offense, it sounds like Odom knows his defense is in for a long day... in their 44-14 Week 1 win over Bryant, an FCS program, they still allowed 409 total yards (which was more than the Rebels put up themselves).

It won’t be a quick fix for Odom either, given UNLV finished ranked 76th in EPA per play on defense and 104th in EPA per rush last season. This is where it gets tricky, everyone knows Michigan is going to score a lot, but who has odds worth betting on?

All-American running back Blake Corum is -400 as an anytime TD scorer and just -160 as a first-half anytime TD scorer, and McCarthy’s go-to receiver Roman Wilson is -105; plus McCarthy likely won’t run to stay out of harm’s way. Meanwhile, Corum’s “backup” Donovan Edwards offers the best bang for your buck.

The most talented backup in college football, and viewed by many as the top running back prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft, Edwards is hardly a backup after totaling 1,191 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns last season.

What makes him an even more interesting proposition beyond his ridiculous fluidity and burst as a runner is what he brings as a pass catcher.

Before injuring his hand against Nebraska last season, and playing with a club on it down the stretch, he was one of the most productive pass-catching backs in the country (465 yards in his first two seasons).

In the opener against East Carolina, with his hand healthy, he was McCarthy’s fourth-leading receiver and led the team in carries with 12 to Corum’s 10.

Against a lesser opponent, Edwards is primed for a splashy game, especially with Moore back calling plays and Corum likely to play fewer snaps as he continues to recover from last season’s knee injury.

My best bet: Donovan Edwards first-half anytime TD (+145 at bet365)

UNLV vs Michigan same-game parlay

Donovan Edwards first-half anytime TD (+145)

Michigan TT Over 48.5 (-105)

First score method: Touchdown (-270)

With McCarthy seemingly upping his game as a junior and surging towards being QB3 in the 2024 NFL Draft, he and the rest of the offense are set to beat up on Odom’s defense.

There are just too many weapons for Moore and McCarthy to utilize with two stud running backs, two future NFL receivers in Wilson and Cornelius Johnson, a trio of tight ends, and a mean offensive line led by All-Big Ten guard Zak Zinter.

There will be points aplenty for the Wolverines who have cashed the team total Over in four of their last five games (+2.85 units / 49% ROI).

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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UNLV vs Michigan spread and Over/Under analysis

After closing as 35.5-point favorites at home last week, the Wolverines didn’t cover against the Pirates, while the Rebs easily cleared the -16.5 and -17 that most books had them at against the Bulldogs of Bryant.

For this one, the Wolverines are once again heavy favorites at home, opening around -35.5 with the line continuing to shift in their favor; most books have them at -37.

Last season against two teams considered to be around the same level as this UNLV program (Colorado State and Hawaii), Michigan won both by at least 44 points. The only upper-tier Power Five program the Rebels played last season was Notre Dame, whom they lost to 44-21.

The total opened between 57.5 and 58.5 after Michigan hit the Under (53.5) against East Carolina last week and is now between 58 and 59.

But something to keep in mind is new UNLV offensive coordinator Brennan Marion, creator of the Go-Go offense, an up-tempo downhill rushing attack that he developed while at Waynesboro High School and implemented at Howard University.

It allowed the Rebels to run the ball at will last week (268 rushing yards), but they ultimately stayed below the 66-point total against Bryant.

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UNLV vs Michigan betting trend to know

UNLV has stayed Under its team total in each of its last four games (+4.00 units / 89% ROI). Find more college football betting trends for UNLV vs. Michigan.

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UNLV vs Michigan game info

Location: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
Date: Saturday, September 9, 2023
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

UNLV vs Michigan latest injuries

UNLV vs Michigan weather

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