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Air Force vs. UNLV,
10-19-2018 - Prediction & Preview

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Game Snapshot with Current Line

#309 Air Force
Falcons -9.5
#310 UNLV
Rebels 54.5

Friday, October 19, 2018 at 10:00pm

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

Game Stats

Air Force Falcons

2 - 4

4-2
ATS
2-3
O/U
28
PPG
21
OPPG

UNLV Rebels

2 - 4

3-3
ATS
4-1
O/U
30
PPG
36
OPPG

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The Air Force Falcons will head on the road to Sam Boyd Stadium on  Friday evening for a Mountain West Conference matchup against the UNLV Rebels.

Neither team has been able to get much of anything going yet this year. Both schools are winless in conference play and enter the week with a 2-4 overall record.

Air Force falls short again vs. SDSU

The Falcons are coming off of a heartbreaking loss on the road to San Diego State in a game that was delayed 1 hour and 7 minutes due to lightning. Air Force led 9-7 before a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown turned the tide in the game. The team’s traded scores in the fourth quarter, but it was Ryan Agnew’s late touchdown pass to Parker Houston that ended up being the deciding score. The Falcons also lost starting quarterback Donald Hammond, who was knocked out of the game with an injury late in the first half. He was later replaced by Isaiah Sanders, who 7 of 15 for 51 yards and an interception on the night. Overall, the Falcons played well in defeat, rushing for 214 yards, while limiting the Aztecs to just 2.5 yards per carry on the ground and holding Agnew to just 9 of 25 passing on the evening. Running back Cole Fagan led the team in rushing with 16 carries for 90 yards, while senior Ronald Cleveland punched in two touchdowns on the ground in a losing effort.

The Falcons come into the week scoring 29 points per game, while allowing 21.8 points per game on the other side of the ball. Air Force runs the triple option, so most of their offense comes on the ground, where they average 248.3 of their 355.2 yards of total offense. On defense, they excel at stopping the run as well, limiting opponents to just 101.2 rush yards per contest. They should have some success running the football this week against a UNLV defense that has been getting dominated at the point of attack all season long. The Rebels are allowing over 200 rushing yards per game so far this season.

Rebels passing more with Gilliam under center

UNLV is fresh off of a blowout loss on the road against Utah State, but also lost their best offensive weapon in the 59-28 defeat. Senior running back Lexington Thomas exited Saturday’s game in the third quarter due to a head injury and did not return to the game, finishing with 12 carries for 51 yards and a touchdown in the loss. Sophomore quarterback Max Gilliam threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns, but completed just 18 of his 36 pass attempts on the night against a tough Aggies’ defense.

The Rebels remain without starting quarterback Armani Rogers, who is out indefinitely with a toe injury. Gilliam, a transfer from California, had yet to throw a pass at the FBS level prior to the season, but has been serviceable in Rogers’ absence. Gilliam has thrown for five touchdowns and two interceptions in his two starts, while completing 45.8 percent of his passes, however, he is not the dual-threat that Rogers provided on the ground. That has hurt their rushing attack over their past two games. Despite averaging better than 255 rush yards per game this season, they’ve totaled just 197 yards on the ground over their past two games combined. 

UNLV comes into their conference battle versus Air Force allowing 453.7 yards of total offense per game. They are getting outscored by 6.5 points per game so far this season, allowing 36.7 points per contest, while scoring 30.2 per game on the offensive side of the ball.

The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

Many people expected this UNLV team to break through and earn a trip to a Bowl Game this year. They returned a quarterback that was named Mountain West Freshman of the Year last season and a running back that could very well become the school’s all-time leading rusher, but they enter this game without either of their top two players. Rogers is out indefinitely, while Thomas suffered a head injury last week and did not return to the game, so he is going to be questionable at best for this one. With that being said, that isn’t going to stop me from rolling with the Rebels here. Air Force is favored by 12 points in this game and they are 1-4 against the spread in their last five meetings at UNLV. The home team is 8-3 in the last 11 meetings between these two teams as well and Gilliam has shown the ability to move the ball in his first two FBS starts. Take UNLV to cover the spread at home in this Mountain West Conference showdown on Friday evening.

Prediction: Pick: UNLV +12

Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

These two teams have gone over the projected total in 8 of their last 10 meetings and four of their last five meetings in UNLV. The Rebels have allowed 109 points over their past two games, so Air Force should be able to get on the board here against this porous Rebels’ defense. Meanwhile, UNLV has become more of a passing team with Gilliam under center. They’ve thrown the ball at least 35 times in each of their last two games, while starter Armani Rogers had attempted just 20.5 passes per game with a season-high of 27 attempts through the first four weeks of the season. That should help UNLV keep pace in this game, as the Falcons are more vulnerable through the air on defense. Take the over in this Mountain West matchup on Friday.

Prediction: Over

Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. He uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits.

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