UNLV Rebels vs. Air Force Falcons Prediction & Game Preview -- 11/26/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Falcon Stadium, USAF Academy, CO
Where to watch: CBS Sports Network

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Air Force -18
BetMGM: Air Force -17.5
Caesars: Air Force -18

Season record
UNLV: 2-9 (2-5 Mountain West)
Air Force: 8-3 (5-2 Mountain West)

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UNLV - Air Force preview and analysis


Last week
UNLV: lost 28-20 vs. No. 22 San Diego State
Air Force: won 41-39 (3OT) at Nevada-Reno

If you're a fan of chaos, the Mountain West is the conference for you this week.

The Air Force Falcons can win the Mountain division in the conference with a victory over the UNLV Rebels and some help along the way.

You can read up on how the Utah State Aggies can clinch its spot in the title game here, but Air Force has its own chances here. Should Air Force win and Utah State loses to New Mexico, the Falcons will win the division by way of tiebreaker over Boise State. 

If there is a three-way tie between Air Force, Boise State and Utah State, the Falcons own the three-way tiebreaker and would win. So you could say the odds favor the Falcons this weekend.

And if you're Air Force, you couldn't ask for a better situation to be in during the final week of the regular season. Consecutive one-score losses to San Diego State and Army seemed to have derailed the Falcons' momentum, but Air Force responded with two impressive road wins against Colorado State and the Nevada Wolf Pack last week.

The Air Force ground attack went point-for-point with UNR, putting up 476 rushing yards on 83 carries and winning 41-39 against Carson Strong's group from Reno. The Falcons dared UNR to win a game with a one-dimensional attack, and Strong nearly pulled it off.

Although we can sit here and say that may not be the case if the old overtime rules were in play. We'll never know.

With the Falcons returning home for Senior Day, there's no reason to expect UNLV to roll up to Colorado Springs and win this game, right?

For the first time this season, I think we can say that the Rebels are going to make a game competitive.

I think we've seen enough from UNLV to think they cover this spread. The Rebels are coming off a 28-20 loss at home to the Aztecs that would've created an improbable three-game winning streak. But it was the sixth one-score loss on the year for UNLV, a program record. One has to wonder what would've happened if UNLV was a tad better at closing games.

The Rebels nearly pulled off their biggest upset in over a decade even without starting quarterback Cameron Friel leaving due to injury. Backup QB Justin Rogers -- who actually won the starting job in Week 1 and lost it mid-game to Doug Brumfield -- threw for 305 yards and two touchdowns against the stout San Diego State defense. He had to earn every bit of those yards with Charles Williams running for 35 yards on 16 carries.

Steve Jenkins had five receptions for 176 yards, and Williams added 59 yards on three receptions to contribute in some fashion.

If college football was about covers, UNLV would be bowl eligible having gone 7-3 ATS this season including the past three in comfortable fashion. The Rebels have covered four of the last five meetings with the exception coming in 2014 when the Falcons won 48-21.

Prediction


If Rogers goes on Friday, there's no way Cinderella's carriage doesn't turn into a pumpkin. UNLV, in that altitude when they've struggled moving the ball for most of the year, is going to run into a buzzsaw of a defense. Air Force will hone in on Williams, the school's all-time leading rusher, and beg the quarterback (whoever it is) to defeat them. However, I think UNLV barely covers because this is a trend we all need to get behind. Air Force by 16

Betting trends


The over is 5-1 in the last six meetings.

The home team is 9-3 ATS in the last 12 meetings.

UNLV is 5-0 ATS after allowing less than 100 yards rushing the previous game.

Air Force is 4-0 ATS in its last four after scoring 40 the previous week.

Statistical leaders


UNLV:
Passing: Cameron Friel -- 1,608 yards, 6 TD, 11 INT
Rushing: Charles Williams -- 1,124 yards, 13 TD
Receiving: Steve Jenkins -- 683 yards, 4 TD

Air Force:
Passing: Haaziq Daniels -- 932 yards, 5 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Brad Roberts -- 1,181 yards, 11 TD
Receiving: Brandon Lewis -- 447 yards, 1 TD

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert football picks today. And if you enjoyed this UNLV - Air Force prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our daily college football projections and previews.

Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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