The UNLV Rebels (8-2 / 5-1) head to Colorado Springs to face the Air Force Falcons (8-2 / 5-1 ), in a game that will determine who will grab the top spot in the Mountain West Conference with one game left for each team after.
The Rebels have rebounded with two wins after losing to Fresno State a few weeks back, winning their next two games by a combined score of 90-28. The Falcons handed the Rebels a shot at the conference title after losing to Hawaii last week as a 20.5-point favorite.
UNLV is 9-1 ATS this season while the Academy is 5-5. NCAA Football odds show the Air Force as a 3-point home favorite with a total of 47. Let’s begin our UNLV vs Air Force free pick preview by looking at both teams from a betting perspective.
(8-2 / 5-1) | (8-2 / 5-1)
Location: Falcon Stadium, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Day/Time: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET / 12:30 p.m. PT
Game Needs to Be Put in Perspective
There are some around Maryland Parkway who have said that this is the biggest game in program history. I’m not sure if we’re head coach Barry Odom, that I would want that kind of talk out there considering that most would prefer to keep it business as usual. The truth is, this could be the biggest game in UNLV history, not because the Rebels will be crowned a national championship contender with a win, but because it lays the cement down on the foundation that Odem has built.
Something that can lead to bigger fish to fry down the road. UNLV ranks second in the country, behind USC, with 31 rushing touchdowns on the season. For bettors, we have no interest in putting improper emphasis on a single game, but this does feel special. Anyone who watched the Rebels over the last few years could see it coming after a combined 21-10 ATS record since the 21-22 season. In that span, only three other teams have a better ATS record (Michigan 24-11-1, Kansas State 22-9-1, Penn State 21-10-1) than the Rebels. We shift our UNLV vs Air Force free picks attention to the Falcons.
Air Force Ready To Take Flight
It’s hard to overlook consecutive losses to Army and Hawaii, especially when the Falcons were favored by a combined 38.5 points. Instead, the Falcons took a nose dive while being outscored 50-16 by two programs that should have been a tune-up, but that doesn’t mean the Rebels have Saturday’s contest locked up.
The Falcons are well aware of their success against UNLV, winning 18 of their last 24 meetings, including five straight. The last time the Rebels beat Airforce was in 2013, 41-21. The Falcons are 9-10-1 ATS over the last two NCAAF seasons (4-4-1 ATS this season).
They were favored in each game they’ve played over their last 21 and are 5-4-1 at Falcon Stadium against the number. Despite the dominance over UNLV, their ATS record is an even 7-7 since 2005. We’re close to giving our final UNLV vs Air Force free-pick winner, but first, let’s look at injuries and a few key numbers.
Injuries and Numbers To Take Into Account
Our NCAAF scores and odds preview wouldn’t be complete without a look at the injury report, the final piece of the handicapping equation. The Rebels are a healthy squad going into this game, while the Academy are nursing a few injuries that have left four players questionable for Saturday’s clash. FB Emmanuel Michel is questionable after sitting out against Hawaii.
The Georgia native averages 81.4 yards rushing per game. WR Jared Roznos didn’t play against Hawaii because of an unknown ailment. Roznos is averaging 47.4 yards receiving. QB Zach Larrier is battling a knee injury that he suffered in a win against Wyoming. His status is listed as questionable.
Oddsmakers Nailed The Total
UNLV has never played a game with a total this low, while the Falcons have played every game except the opener against Robert Morris with a total higher than 47. Defensively, the numbers are a little skewed when talking about the Air Force because they usually own a great deal of the time of possession, but they’re third in the nation with 245.3 total yards allowed per game and third in yards allowed per completion.
UNLV averages just under 7 penalties a game and that is going to provide a massive problem against that defense if the trend continues. Our official UNLV vs Air Force free pick recommendation is to take the under, no matter who is under center for the Falcons. Incredible to think that the winner will creep closer to being included in the NCAAF rankings.