Friday, Sept. 25, 2015 | noon
Now that UNLV is through the toughest part of its schedule — and made it here relatively healthy — the Rebels will have a chance to build on some of the positives we've seen thus far. Las Vegas Sun sports editor Ray Brewer and reporters Case Keefer and Taylor Bern discuss what to expect from the Rebels moving forward.
Three weeks into the season and the Mountain West looks worse than even the pessimistic among us thought it would back in July. The good news is that’s made handicapping a little easier, which explains my 65 percent clip on every league game that has a line available.
Most teams are wrapping up their nonconference slates this weekend, so it only gets harder from here. There’s no way intraleague games are going to make much sense from week to week, so here’s hoping that I can build a sizeable cushion that will allow the column to stay profitable through the rough patches that are sure to come this season.
On to the picks:
Note: UNLV picks will appear in the live blog on the day of the game.
Boise State (minus-2) at Virginia
5 p.m., ESPN
• Is Virginia the team that gave Notre Dame a fight two weeks ago or the one that let down last week and had to fight off William & Mary? I’ll give the Cavaliers the benefit of the doubt for coming out flat, because I don’t really want to back a road favorite that just lost its quarterback, even though the Broncos might be better without Ryan Finley.
Pick: Virginia — Loss
New Mexico (minus-3.5) at Wyoming
Noon, Root Sports/Mountain West Network
• Wyoming has lost at home to North Dakota and Eastern Michigan by a combined 30 points, but there is just no way I’m backing the Lobos as a road favorite anywhere in this league.
Pick: Wyoming — Loss
San Diego State (plus-15) at Penn State
12:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
• I really don’t like either side in this one. But given what we’ve seen from the Aztecs, is there any way you want to back them traveling across the country to play a decidedly better team? I don’t.
Pick: Penn State — Win
UNR (pick) at Buffalo
12:30 p.m., ESPN3
• Buffalo is 3-0 ATS this season. I already don’t like Reno this season and especially traveling such a great distance, so throw in Buffalo’s good start and I’m comfortable once again picking against the Mountain West.
Pick: Buffalo — Loss
Colorado State (minus-9.5) at UTSA
4 p.m., CBS Sports Network
• In a down year for the league, the Rams could end up being one of the best teams. They lost their last two games against Minnesota and Colorado by three points each and easily could have come away with victories. I think CSU cruises down in San Antonio.
Pick: Colorado State — Loss
Hawaii (plus-24.5) at No. 22 Wisconsin
5 p.m., Big Ten Network
• Last week, there were five Mountain West teams that were at least 24.5-point underdogs, and all five of them covered. For the season, the league is 7-2 ATS when getting at least that many points, so if nothing else, you can say this for the league: Give them three touchdowns and a field goal and they just might be able to win you money.
Pick: Hawaii — Loss
Fresno State (plus-4.5) at San Jose State
7:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network
• I’m violating my own rule here, because in general in league matchups where it’s not clear who the better team actually is, I’m going to trend toward the underdog. Not in this one, though. I think the Spartans roll.
Pick: San Jose State — Win
Last week: 5-4-1
2014 record: 49-37