Las Vegas will play the host to the Michigan Wolverines vs. UNLV Rebels matchup late Friday night. Here, the fourth-ranked Wolverines will look to rebound from their first loss of the season as they take on an unbeaten UNLV squad in the sports gambling capital of the world. In order to do that, the Wolverines will need to take care of business against a UNLV defense that has been top of the line through their first three games of the season.
Michigan enters this game as a 14.5-point favorite, as they are expected to win this contest rather handily. But they were close to a nine-point favorite in their last game against Seton Hall, which ended in a loss. If Michigan wants to justify its position as a favorite in this game, they are going to need to execute better on the offensive end, which was how their last NCAA Tournament run ended as well.
Michigan Wolverines – Looking For Depth Improvement
The Michigan Wolverines are 2-1 on the young college basketball season so far, with their last game ending in a loss to the Seton Hall Pirates. In that game, the offensive execution of the Wolverines was dismal relative to the team’s usual standard, with the Wolverines scoring just 65 points for that entire game. Three-point shooting was the big problem for Michigan, as they shot just 20% from the perimeter in the losing effort.
Bench scoring was a problem for the Wolverines against Seton Hall as well, as they scored just nine points with their reserves. Against UNLV, the bench will have to be more heavily involved, as an eight-man rotation only works when all of the members of that rotation are able to contribute. The Michigan starters will also need to be better, but the bench will play a key role in the outcome of this contest.
Expected Line-Up: Eli Brooks, Devante Jones, Caleb Houstan, Brandon Johns Jr., Hunter Dickinson
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UNLV Rebels – A Defensive Mentality
UNLV has had a dream start to their season, winning each of their first three games. Among those wins was a victory over California of the Pac-12, which isn’t a great win in terms of opponent quality, but is still a confidence builder given that it came against a Power 5 opponent. So far this season, UNLV’s defense has been the catalyst behind the team’s success, as they have yet to allow over 62 points in a game this season.
Against Michigan, the defense of UNLV will be tested more than it has been through its first three games. But if UNLV can prompt more struggles from the bench of the Wolverines, UNLV could be a live dog in this game. Of course, the Rebels will also need score more than the 61 points per game that they have averaged through three games this season, as that number likely won’t do against a powerhouse like Michigan.
Expected Line-Up: Jordan McCabe, Michael Nuga, Keshon Gilbert, David Muoka, Donovan Williams
Expert Pick #1 – Michigan -14.5 @ -110
The first bet to make in this game is Michigan -14.5 at -110 odds. This game should be a perfect get right spot for Michigan, who will be able to get their offense back on track against a UNLV team that hasn’t been much of a threat to anyone offensively. This will be the toughest game that UNLV has played this season by far, and they won’t be able to keep up with the Wolverines’ scoring.
Expert Pick #2 – Over 135.5 @ -110
Our next bet in this game is the over 135.5 at -110 odds. This total implies that UNLV is going to continue to have success on the defensive end of the floor above everything else. But they aren’t going to be able to hold Michigan into the low 60s the same way that they have held everyone else down so far this year. This game will be higher scoring than the other contests UNLV has been involved in and the over will hit.
Expert Pick #3 – Michigan to Win By 16-20 @ +350
The final bet for this game is for Michigan to win by 16-20 points at +350 odds. While Michigan hasn’t been perfect this season, UNLV’s offensive limitations are going to be put on full display here. Expect the Wolverines to run away with this game by 16-20 points as they should be able to get back on the right track.
This game is set to start late on Friday night on the East coast, but there won’t be much reason to stay awake for this one. The Michigan Wolverines will lead this game from the start and will not look back en route to a rather convincing performance to move to 3-1 on the year.