The San Diego State Aztecs (20-3) and UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (21-4) will meet in a very important Mountain West Conference affair Saturday afternoon inside the Thomas & Mack Center.
San Diego State Aztecs at UNLV Runnin’ Rebels
San Diego State captured a 69-67 win in the first meeting between these two teams as 3.5-point home underdogs on Jan. 14, which also served as the program’s sixth-straight victory in the series. “We’ve played Vegas close game after close game after close game,” stated Aztecs head coach Steve Fisher. The last four meetings have been decided by a combined 16 points. San Diego State is 5-1 ATS as an underdog this year and 10-10 ATS overall.
The Aztecs own the nation’s second-highest winning percentage since the beginning of the 2010-11 season, posting a 54-6 record (90.0 percent) and trail only the Ohio State Buckeyes (55-6). San Diego State has won its last three meetings against ranked opponents and is led by the play of Jamaal Franklin. The sophomore is the only player in the Mountain West to rank in the top three in both scoring and rebounding for all games. The program is 21-32 all-time against UNLV, with 17 of those wins coming under Fisher.
UNLV hasn’t played in a week and will look to bounce back from a disappointing 68-66 loss to the Wyoming Cowboys as four-point road favorites. The Runnin’ Rebels have still managed to win 12 of their last 14 games, with the defeats coming by a combined four points. The team has gone 13-0 when playing on its own court and has outscored opponents by an average of 23.4 points. “We’re right in the middle of a conference race,” stated Runnin’ Rebels first-year head coach Dave Rice. UNLV is 0-2 ATS as a home favorite of 9.5 to 12 points the last two-plus years.
The Runnin’ Rebels have three players that are averaging double figures in scoring, with Mike Moser leading the way in scoring 14.5 points per game. He also leads the team in grabbing 11.5 rebounds per game and has tallied 13 double-doubles during the 2011-12 campaign. UNLV is outscoring its opponents by an average of 14.3 points per game and shooting 47.4 percent from the field.
Bettors will likely back the Aztecs due to their 22-7-1 ATS mark on the road, while the Runnin’ Rebels are 1-4 ATS as a favorite of 7.0 to 12.5 points.
Recommendation: San Diego State Aztecs +10
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