UNLV One Of More Intriguing Teams In Country Ahead Of March Madness

Written By Matt Burke on March 3, 2020
UNLV basketball

The 2020 NCAA men’s basketball tournament will have as wide-open a field as we’ve seen in years.

We could very well see another 11 seed, like Loyola-Chicago two years ago, make a deep run. We could possibly even see a 7 seed, like UConn in 2014, win the whole shebang.

Long-shots like the aforementioned first need to get into the Big Dance, of course, which is what a fringe team like UNLV is fighting for right now.

The Runnin’ Rebels, who have exceeded expectations this season under new head coach TJ Otzelberger, have some work to do to get into the tourney. Though it is not impossible.


The odds

You obviously do not want to bet the farm on a team like UNLV to win it all right now. But a dollar or two at these odds are enticing.

UNLV is the hottest team in the Mountain West Conference at the moment, having won five games in a row. They are clearly playing their best basketball of the season.

Here is a look at UNLV’s current odds to win it all from various legal online sportsbooks across the country.

DraftKings has the Rebels at +47500 to win it all.

Bet365, meanwhile, has UNLV at +500 to cut down the nets in Atlanta.

FanDuel does not have odds on the Rebels winning it all, as their futures cut off with Wright State at +25000. Obviously if UNLV is able to sneak into the field, that will change.


UNLV could make run in conference tourney

If you are bullish on the Rebels, your best bet right now would be to bet on them to at least win the conference tournament.

UNLV has the third lowest odds at 888 Sport to win the Mountain West Conference tournament, which begins on Wednesday in Vegas.

San Diego State is the clear favorite at -200. Utah State is second at +250. And then there is a significant drop-off with UNLV at +1050.

Not bad value for what most people believe is the third-best team in the conference.


Reason for optimism

UNLV has had a wild year. They lost to teams like Texas State, Pacific and Boise State early in the year. They also endured a four-game losing streak a month ago.

But since an 82-79 overtime loss at home to Nevada, the Rebels have been scorching hot.

The five-game win streak including a highly impressive 66-63 road win over the fourth ranked team in the country in San Diego State.

Otzelberger’s squad matches up quite well with the Aztecs as UNLV nearly went undefeated this year against their rivals to the west. UNLV nearly beat San Diego State back on Jan. 26 as well, falling 71-67.

Sophomore guard Bryce Hamilton was phenomenal despite the loss, pumping in 29 points. Hamilton is one of several Runnin’ Rebels that have come on strong in the second half of the season.

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Matt Burke

Matt Burke is the Site Runner for PlayCA, PlayColorado, PlayIllinois, PlayIA, PlayMaineOnline, Play MA, PlayMichigan, PlayNHOnline and PlayNY. Matt was the Founder and previously served as the Editor in Chief of MetroBet - a digital and print sports betting platform - and was the Executive Sports Editor at Metro US Newspapers (NY, Boston, Philadelphia). Matt has covered Super Bowls, Final Fours and is a graduate of the University of Connecticut.

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