The Mountain West appears to be wide open this year. Perennial contenders Boise State and San Diego State are both struggling, defending champion Utah State is just 1-4 to start the year, and Fresno State lost to UConn.
With the door in the Mountain West open this season, both 4-1 UNLV and 3-1 San Jose State are on the cusp of contending in the conference.
Which team will announce itself as a contender in the Mountain West in 2022?
Check out our college football picks and predictions for the UNLV Rebels and San Jose State Spartans to find out.
UNLV vs San Jose State best odds
UNLV vs San Jose State picks and predictions
Friday night’s matchup is a momentous one for the Mountain West standings. You might have been called crazy for saying that before the season began, but these two programs have risen from anonymity a year ago to the cusp of prominence in 2022.
Let’s start with San Jose State. The Spartans are 3-1 with their lone loss coming by one score to Auburn in a tight 24-16 game. After a down 5-7 finish a year ago, it seems as though Brent Brennan & Co. have regained their 2020 form in which they won a conference championship and finished 7-1.
UNLV has been one of the biggest surprises in the country to start the season. After finishing with just a 2-16 record in the first two years of Marcus Arroyo’s tenure, the Rebels are 4-1 with their lone loss coming by just six points to California. With a 2-0 conference record already, a win on the road Friday night would give them two more conference wins than any other team in the West Division, for the time being.
Not only have both teams looked improved to start the season, but they’ve also been profitable to back. The Spartans are 3-1 ATS while the Rebels are 4-1 ATS. Something has to give Friday night, so what will it be?
I believe this is too many points, as UNLV has risen to +7 at some spots. The Rebels offense is clicking, averaging 37.8 points per game. Quarterback Doug Brumfield is completing 70.5% of his passes with eight touchdowns and two interceptions, and he’s a true threat on the ground with 142 yards rushing to go with five scores. Ricky White, a transfer from Michigan State, has been a true difference maker at receiver with 25 receptions for 360 yards and three scores.
However, it’s UNLV’s rushing attack that has been the real treat. The Rebels rank fourth in rushing success rate and fifth in predicted points added (PPA) per rush. The offensive line has been stellar, ranking first nationally in stuff rate and second behind only Ohio State in offensive line yards. Louisville transfer Aidan Robbins is having a monster year on the ground, accumulating 506 yards and eight touchdowns already. This rushing attack should allow UNLV to travel well and this is simply too many points in a tight contest.
My best bet: UNLV +7 (-107 at PointsBet)
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UNLV vs San Jose State spread analysis
The Rebels have been a great bet dating back to the end of last year. They are 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 road games and have also fared well against tough competition, going 7-2-1 ATS against teams with winning records.
The advanced numbers like the Rebels, as they’re the higher-ranked team regardless of who has the ball. When the Rebels have the ball, they hold a very narrow edge — UNLV ranks 39th in offense PPA while SJSU ranks 45th in defensive PPA. When the Spartans are on the attack, they rank 84th in offensive PPA while the Rebels are 70th in defensive PPA.
UNLV has dealt with some injuries at the receiver position, but it has still managed to post the 18th-best success rate in the country. Compare that with SJSU’s ranking of 73rd in success rate, and it’s evident who has been more successful on that side of the ball to start the year.
One area the Spartans will likely choose to exploit is UNLV’s secondary, as the Rebels rank 104th in Passing PPA and 117th in passing explosiveness defensively. Nevada transfer Elijah Cooks could be in for a big day as quarterback Chevan Cordeiro’s favorite target.
UNLV vs San Jose State Over/Under analysis
San Jose State has a way of mucking up games defensively. It's been stellar this season on that side of the ball, as the 24 points surrendered to Auburn in Week 3 was the most the defense has allowed all season. The 395 yards allowed to Portland State in the opener was a concern, but it has since tightened things up. Most recently, it held Western Michigan to six points and 201 total yards on 3.2 yards per play, and Wyoming to 16 points on 253 total yards and 4.8 yards per play.
The Under is 3-1 in Spartans games this year. They’ve been trending in that direction for a while now, going 15-6 to the Under in their last 21 home games and 10-3 to the Under in their last 13 games against a team with a winning record.
UNLV has been trending in the opposite direction, going 8-3 to the Over in their last 11 games overall. They’re on a remarkable 15-1 run to the Over when they play on Friday.
It’ll be interesting to see if UNLV’s offense continues to put up big numbers as the heart of conference play arrives. The Rebels have cooled off the jets a bit lately, gaining just 320 total yards against Utah State and 356 against New Mexico in their last two games, respectively. Two starting wide receivers, Kyle Williams and Jeff Weimer, are considered questionable after not suiting up last week. Their returns would be huge against a Spartans defense that ranks 91st in success rate against the pass.
UNLV vs San Jose State betting trend to know
The Rebels are 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 road games. Find more NCAA betting trends for UNLV vs. San Jose State.
UNLV vs San Jose State game info
|Location:||CEFCU Stadium, San Jose, California|
|Date:||Friday, October 7, 2022|
|Kickoff:||10:30 p.m. ET|
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