Utah State’s Neemias Queta (23) plays against UNLV in an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
- Utah State is a 6-point favorite over UNLV in Mountain West play on Wednesday (Jan. 27th, 11 pm EST)
- The Rebels defeated the Aggies 59-56 as a 6-point underdog on Monday
- See below for analysis, odds and a betting prediction
Our focus shifts to the Mountain West conference on Wednesday (Jan. 27, 11 pm EST) for a late night tip between Utah State (12-5, 9-2 Mountain West) and UNLV (6-6, 3-2 Mountain West). The Rebels extended their winning streak to five games on Monday, defeating this same Aggies squad in a low scoring 59-56 affair.
Utah State vs UNLV Odds
|Utah State Aggies||-6.0 (-115)||OFF||Over 136.0 (-110)|
|UNLV Rebels||+6.0 (-105)||OFF||Under 136.0 (-110)|
Odds taken Jan. 26th.
The loss was Utah State’s second in a row, after previously winning 11 straight. Despite the mini-funk, the Aggies still opened as 6-point favorites over UNLV, in a game that features a total of 136.
2021 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Odds Tracker
Monday’s game was an outlier for a few different reasons. The Aggies were held to a season-low 56 points by a team not exactly known for defense. The Rebels rank 130th in defensive efficiency, yet still managed to limit Utah State to 32.8% from the field and an atrocious 5-of-22 from beyond the arc.
That’s 5⃣ straight Ws‼️
🔥🔥🔥#UNLVmbb | #BEaREBEL pic.twitter.com/gs9seEyyXz
— UNLV Men’s Basketball (@TheRunninRebels) January 26, 2021
Aggies’ leading scorer Neemias Queta produced only 8 points, his lowest total in nine games, and the team itself put up 19 fewer points than its season average. Marco Anthony led the way for Utah State with 18 points and 9 boards, but the two schools set season lows for points in the second half (22-20).
The loss was the Aggies’ worst of the season from a rankings standpoint (UNLV ranks 111th), while the victory was the Rebels’ first over a program ranked inside the top-160 (Utah State ranks 46th).
Bryce Hamilton led the way for UNLV with 14 points and 8 assists, while David Jenkins Jr. chipped in 14 points and 5 boards. The duo are the only two players who average in double figures on the squad, while the Aggies feature five players who average at least 9.5 points per outing.
A Mismatch on Paper
While the low offensive output by Utah State may have been an anomaly, the strong defensive play certainly was not. The Aggies rank 6th in defensive efficiency by KenPom’s metrics, and first in the Mountain West in points allowed, opponent field goal percentage, total rebounding and blocks.
They. never. learn. 😤.
⚡️ @nemi1599#AggiesAllTheWay pic.twitter.com/HOFMWIMirY
— USU Men’s Hoops (@USUBasketball) January 22, 2021
Queta was a disappointment on offense, but he dominated at the defensive end, grabbing 11 boards and blocking 7 shots. It was his 10th multi-block game of the season and the 7-footer is a big reason why Utah State has held nine of 17 opponents below 60 points.
UNLV meanwhile, is not a strong offense team outside Hamilton and Jenkins Jr. They rank 152nd nationally in points for and 167th in field goal percentage, despite playing two unranked teams and four more ranked 162nd or worse.
Aggies Rebound on the Road
Prior to the their previous two games, the Aggies had been cashing ATS tickets left, right and center. They reeled off nine victories against the number at one point, and they weren’t just covering the spread, they were crushing it.
Just an old fashion 4-point play‼️@Bsmoov_22#AggiesAllTheWay pic.twitter.com/7OeQ862nwV
— USU Men’s Hoops (@USUBasketball) January 26, 2021
They’ve covered in every victory this season where a line has been posted, beating the number by an average of 14.2 points per game. Yes, they let bettors down on Monday, but think about all that had to go wrong for them to lose to the Rebels. They had to miss 77.3% of their threes, score a season-low 56 points and get just 8 points from their leading scorer. All that and they still only lost by a bucket. I’m betting history doesn’t repeat itself two days later and the Aggies re-establish themselves as one of the Mountain West favorites.
Pick: Utah State Aggies -6 (-115)
Chris began his career at Hockey Night in Canada over 15 years ago. He has since worked at TSN for over 12 years as a writer, line-up producer, field producer, newsroom supervisor for Sportscentre, and presently as a promotions producer.