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UNLV Running Rebels vs. Arizona State Sun Devils Odds & Game Pick (2021)

by September 9, 2021

For fourth-year head coach Herm Edwards, the 2021 Sun Devils were poised to be the best not only his tenure but in decades for the program. However, as the summer wore on, talk of recruiting violations began to leak out of the program before the NCAA handed down a full-blown investigation. Alas, the distractions emerged with them and will most likely remain with the team as no end in sight has been announced as the season begins. 

For UNLV, an 0-6 2020 was followed up by a first-game loss in 2021 as the schedule only gets more difficult from here in a stacked Mountain West and brutal non-conference schedule. 

Let’s take a closer look at how the two match up against the number in this one.

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  • Opening Line: Arizona State -30, O/U 54.5
  • Current Line: Arizona State -33.5, O/U 53
  • Last meeting: September 13, 2008, UNLV 23, Arizona State 20


Still, in search of his first win as a head coach, second-year UNLV coach Marcus Arroyo lost his 2021 opener to an FCS foe just four seasons after suffering one of the biggest upsets in FBS history (as -45 favorites to Howard). The quarterback position is still in question, as freshman Doug Brumfield failed to move the ball efficiently last week and will likely see some rotation in Week 2. 

On the defensive side of the ball, the unit that allowed 38 points per game last season brings back 10 starters and 94% of its tackles, but the quality of those returning may be the problem. Second-year defensive coordinator Peter Hanson faces another uphill battle in this one against an ASU offense that might be a ticking time bomb.

Much is left to be desired in what can only be described as sloppy, at times lazy performance by the Sun Devils vs. FCS foe Southern Utah in Week 1. While head coach Edwards largely dismissed it as a “win’s a win,” things will become increasingly uneasy in Tempe if a similar effort is put forward this week versus UNLV. 

While the defense returned more than any in the country this season as far as starters and tackles, they still have a lot to prove. The scandal surrounding the program starts and ends with a new defensive coordinator (and lead recruiter), Antonio Pierce. With a trip to BYU on the docket next week ahead of PAC-12 play beginning the following, the Sun Devils will look to get it going in this one and get to where they expect to be on both sides of the ball.

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  • UNLV is 5-1 ATS in their last six non-conference games
  • The under is 6-0 in the Sun Devils last six non-conference games

Bottom Line 

While the Runnin’ Rebels failed to do much of anything last season, only once did they lose by more than 30 (31 vs. Wyoming), and the Mountain West was far from a pushover conference. While I expect another easy path to victory for the Sun Devils, they showed nothing in Week 1 to think they’re capable of blowing out anyone; just yet.

Pick: UNLV +32.5

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Johnny Perun is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Johnny, check out his archive and follow him @JohnnyCovers.

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