Craig Bohl, coach of the Wyoming Cowboys and North Dakota State legend, has what is known as a rather conservative style. But it appears that some of his players are anything but straight-laced. Problems off the field are rearing their ugly heads and might affect what Bohl is trying to accomplish as he gets his team ready for a Saturday night Mountain West Conference game against the UNLV Rebels. It gets underway at 8 PM ET at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, and remember that BetAnySports customers will have the opportunity to place wagers on this game even after the kickoff as they access what is available through Live Betting Ultra.
This past Wednesday two members of the secondary rotation were arrested for non-violent crimes. Cornerback Azizi Hearn, a transfer from Arizona, got popped for a suspended license and reckless driving. Antonio Hull, a senior and previous two-year starter who currently backs Tyler Hall up, was arrested on a warrant as he had apparently failed to pay some fines that were related to driving with a revoked license. These are misdemeanors, but could possibly result in jail time.
Hull had to deal with a “personal matter” before the season, so he temporarily left the team. That explains why his starting job had to go to someone else.
Another member of the secondary was arrested on a more serious charge. Allen Smith, a freshman who is predominantly a safety, is accused of pointing a gun at a couple of people at an apartment building, and he is facing two counts of aggravated assault. Smith actually pulled the trigger a number of times on each person, but it wasn’t loaded. In fact, it was a pellet gun.
The California native was suspended indefinitely.
Hull and Hearn will be available Saturday.
Wyoming, which won its first three games, including a big upset over Missouri (as 17.5-point dogs), lost at Tulsa last week. Their last three games have gone under the total. UNLV beat Southern Utah in its opener, and has lost consecutive games to Arkansas State and Northwestern. They have had two weeks to prepare.
Here are the Mountain West football betting odds for Saturday night’s contest:
Wyoming Cowboys -9 (-105)
UNLV Rebels +9 (-105)
Over 47 points (-107)
Under 47 points (-103)
As you can see, these numbers are different than you might generally find in a sportsbook. That’s because they are infused with reduced juice from BetAnySports, which helps you avoid the usual -110 “vig” on a regular basis. It’s about as good a deal as you’re going to get!
This is a stretch of games that is going to determine the fate of UNLV coach Tony Sanchez. At least that’s what we believe. He has failed to spread any magic dust over this program to the degree that he did locally at the high school level, where he was one of the most successful coaches ever. Now, with Boise State, Fresno State and San Diego State on the horizon, as well as an SEC team in Vanderbilt, the Rebels could be eliminated from bowl consideration pretty early.
This is a game between two teams that favor the run. Wyoming, in fact, has run the ball 64.8% of the time, while that figure is 55.3% for UNLV. And while there are capable backs on either side (particularly Charles Williams of UNLV), the quarterbacks have to be taken strongly into consideration. As for the question of who is the more dynamic runner of the two QB’s, it’s probably Armani Rogers of the Rebels.
But that is only half of the discussion. We know that neither Rogers nor Chambers possess the most dependable arms, and Rogers specifically is more erratic, which is a bigger problem for UNLV if it tries to force the pass more. But the point we want to make is that it seems a natural defensive strategy for both teams to deny the run and make the other team beat them through the air. This is not necessarily a tactic that is going to produce a lot of points.
Yes, Wyoming has to rate something of an edge due to the fact that its rushing defense appears to be a whole lot better – giving up just 2.3 yards per carry, while UNLV yields 5.3. But the Cowboys are compromised in the secondary. C.J. Coldon is out for the season with an injury, and Tyler Hall is a game-time decision because he suffered a concussion last time out against Tulsa.
It’s a good thing that Wyoming can count on a lot of penetration from the defensive line. If Rogers tries to exploit the lack of depth in the secondary, he’ll be met with an effective four-man rush; the Cowboys have 18 sacks, almost all of which have come from defensive linemen. That’s a key.
Yes, we know that UNLV has been pretty good covering as a road dog (25 of last 38). And Wyoming sometimes can’t be trusted to score a whole lot of points. But they might just get the right matchups for their defense, and push Sanchez a little further out the door. We’ll lay the points.
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