Fresno State vs. UNLV NCAA Basketball Betting Analysis and Free Pick

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Marvin Coleman #31 of the UNLV Rebels brings the ball up the court. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP.

Two Mountain West teams try to take a step forward from the pack in the middle of the conference standings as Fresno State travels to UNLV on Friday night. Here is all you need to know for your college basketball picks.

Fresno returned to the floor earlier this week after a two-week break due to COVID and evened its conference record at 1-1, 11-4 overall, with a 20-point home win over San Jose State. The Bulldogs have lost four of their five road games this year—at Cal, San Francisco, Utah, and Boise State. A late-December win over Weber State is the only road trip that ended in victory, but they still get to be road favorites at the NCAAB odds tonight.

UNLV, who postponed one game and rescheduled another in its own struggle with COVID, which resulted in one game over 19 days, evened its Mountain West record at 1-1 with a blowout over New Mexico to move to 9-6 overall.

Fresno State Bulldogs vs. UNLV Runnin’ Rebels

Friday, January 14, 2022 – 11:00 PM EST at Thomas & Mack Center

Rust Free

Fresno State had three straight games postponed due to COVID and played its first game since Dec. 28 on Tuesday. The Bulldogs didn’t show much sign of rust against San Jose State, hitting 22-of-35 on two-point attempts, its best shooting night inside since the opening game. They also hit 9-of-24 from three, just the third time this year Fresno has topped .333 from outside in a game.

Fresno State will be without grad transfer guard Jemarl Baker. That’s nothing new—Baker has missed 10 games due to injury this season. After battling knee problems early in the year, Baker hurt his other knee in his last game, on Dec. 17.

The team had been holding out hope that he’d return, but this week, coach Justin Hutson admitted the knee trouble is more serious than originally thought. “I think he’s out for the year or is going to be close to it,” he said.
Baker had been averaging 8.6 ppg when he was able to play, which is second-highest on the team.

Fresno will lean even harder on junior seven-footer Orlando Robinson, who is the team’s only double-digit scorer this season. Robinson is averaging 19.5 ppg and 8.3 rebounds, including a 31-point 12-rebound outburst in the Bulldogs’ last game.

Back at Full Strength

UNLV has been battling COVID for the past several weeks and, as this week began, had a total of seven players available for practice.

Despite that, Tuesday’s game at New Mexico went on as scheduled, and, thanks to expiring quarantines and negative tests, all 14 players on the roster were available at tipoff.

“It was back to business as usual. So we just prepared the normal way that we usually do,” junior Donovan Williams said.

Like Fresno, UNLV didn’t show much sign of rust in dominating New Mexico, especially on defense. The Runnin’ Rebels held the Lobos to 7-of-31, .226 from three and have allowed foes to shoot 13-of 64, .203. The Rebs also gave up its lowest rebounding rate of the season in the New Mexico game and had its best points per possession performance on defense since the day before Thanksgiving.

The break has slowed the team’s ability to gel, as UNLV opened the season trying to work in nine new transfers and featuring just one scholarship player who had suited up for the Rebels.

The Rebels are led by Bryce Hamilton, the team’s lone returnee, who is averaging 18.3 ppg. Williams is the second option, at 13.9 ppg, and Royce Hamm Jr. is close to a double-double, averaging 9.0 ppg and 10.4 rebounds.

The Pick

Fresno will have the best player on the floor, in Robinson, and UNLV doesn’t have anyone to match up against him. Hamm, the team’s best inside player, is giving up three inches. The Bulldogs will slow the game down and grind out a win with a strong defense and post play. Take them at the top-rated sportsbooks.

NCAAB Pick: Fresno State -1.5 (-113) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Fresno State -1.5 (-113)
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