Daily Bet: UNLV -13.5 at Portland

So apparently Robert Griffin III is better at making adjustments the second time around than
opposing defenses. And apparently Eli Manning, looking much more like the clueless rookie he was instead of the two-time Super Bowl MVP he is, no longer can figure out how to exploit the second-worst pass defense in the NFL—a defense that prior to last night was allowing 28 ppg to offenses not guided by Nick Foles. All duly noted.

On to the college hardwood tonight, as I’ll lay the heavy lumber with the Rebels. Let me start by saying, yes, I’m well aware that betting UNLV on the road last year was less profitable than betting on Jesus, Santa Claus and Elvis showing up at a strip club together. The Rebels failed to cover in their final 10 true road games in 2011-12, and only once did they win a true road game by more than six points (and that was at Division II Cal-State Bakersfield). And coach Dave Rice had a much more experienced roster last season; this year he’s starting two freshmen (Anthony Bennett and Katin Reinhardt) and giving significant minutes to a third (Savon Goodman).

So why play UNLV as this big of a road chalk in their very first road contest? Because they’ve
got so much more talent than Portland that they could win this game by double digits playing 4-on-5. The Pilots are 3-4 this year, with the victories coming at home against Idaho State (by three points), Portland State and Lewis & Clark (by five points). All four defeats were by at least 15 points, including a 29-point loss at Ohio (as a 16-point underdog) and a 19-point loss at Montana State (as a 6½-point favorite).

Meanwhile, UNLV is off to a 5-1 start, with those five wins by an average of 22.2 points. What’s more, the Rebels’ aren’t having any trouble putting the ball through the bucket, scoring 92, 77, 79, 82, 85 and 77 points. Conversely, take out the 51-48 loss at Idaho State, and Portland is surrendering 73 points per game. (What’s more, the Pilots have been held to 60 points or fewer four times.)

The Rebels should be able to name the score in this one, and I believe Rice—fully cognizant of
his team’s road woes last season—won’t hesitate to run it up in an effort to instill some confidence in his young troops.

Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Monday’s Result: Giants -3 at Redskins (loss)

Record: 69-59-1