College Basketball Betting — San Diego State Needs Win Over UNLV to Play For MWC Conference Title

What the San Diego State Aztecs really want is the opportunity to play for the Mountain West Conference regular-season championship. What they will have to do to get there is maneuver themselves past the UNLV Rebels in Wednesday night college basketball betting action that will take place at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. Game time is scheduled for 11:05 PM ET.

On the season, the Aztecs are 25-3 straight up, and 15-10 against the basketball pointspread. They are also ranked 10th in the country in both the Associated Press and USA Today coaches polls. The Rebels are 19-10, both straight-up and against the NCAA odds. Right now UNLV is the third-place team in the Mountain West, with San Diego State in second place. The Aztecs are actually tied with New Mexico, which is ranked #21 in the AP poll, but the Lobos have the tie-breaker advantage by virtue of a previous victory. If they remain tied going into the weekend, they will essentially play a one-off game to win the championship outright in San Diego.

In the college basketball betting odds that have been placed on this game at WagerWeb, the Aztecs are laying points on the road:

San Diego State Aztecs -3
UNLV Rebels +3

Over 130 points -110
Under 130 points -110

Nobody wants to get beat the way San Diego State did eleven days ago at the Pit in Albuquerque. They shot just 32% from the field and did not make a free-throw, while collapsing on defense in the 58-44 defeat, in which some basketball bettors might have seen them as a value getting 4.5 points in the sportsbook betting odds, but where they had no chance to cover.

Since then, they have stormed by San Jose State (90-64) and Fresno State (82-67), shooting 60% from the field in the latter. That was admittedly out of character for San Diego State, which is not generally known as a group of sharpshooters (44.1% overall).

These teams have somewhat similar defensive statistics. SDSU has allowed just 38.3% shooting, while UNLV has yielded 39.9%. Both teams have allowed opponents to hit only 29.1% of their three-point attempts. Of course, there is nothing on UNLV’s resume quite like the defensive effort San Diego State put forth when they traveled to the Allen Fieldhouse and held the Kansas Jayhawks to just 29.8% shooting. That game, probably more than any other, established a national reputation for Steve Fisher’s team as a very difficult bunch to deal with.

WagerWeb customers know that San Diego State prefers a very deliberate game, and they keep the scores low. In fact, they have played 18 out of 24 posted games under the total in the college basketball betting lines. Naturally, when you play an opponent who doesn’t mind slowing things down, offensive deficiencies sometime show themselves, as they did in the game against New Mexico. So the Aztecs will be looking for revenge on Saturday, which means, at the same time, they can’t be looking past this game.

This contest will matchup very capable shot-blockers. For San Diego State, Skyler Spencer is averaging 2.64 blocks per game. His UNLV counterpart, Khem Birch, has been even better, blocking 3.72 per outing. If there is such a thing as an explosive shot-blocker, it’s Birch, who in the first meeting against the Aztecs this season, swatted away three San Diego State shots in the first 90 seconds.

But speaking of that first encounter, that was a good example of the way SDSU sometimes strangles the opposition. They held UNLV to just 30% from the field, and did not give them much of a chance from the perimeter, allowing just two triples in 18 attempts in a game they won 63-52 and covered (-9) against the basketball odds. What they also did was exploit a huge advantage at the free-throw line. San Diego State took 27 shots from the charity stripe, compared to only 11 for the Revels. It is interesting to note that in the last two games these teams a played against each other, neither side has shot 40%.

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