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2005 UNLV Rebels Handicapping Review


By Tom Wilkinson


The University of Nevada Las Vegas football program has long been considered to be a “sleeping giant” and “underachieving” by not only the general sports media but also by many online sports handicapping bloggers who were ultimately let down by former head coach John Robinson. Robinson was expected to lead UNLV to the promised land of perennial bowl games and Mountain West Conference titles. After a 2000 season in which the Rebels went 7-5 and won the Las Vegas Bowl 31-14 as 1-point chalks over Arkansas, it appeared as if this vision of UNLV football might come true but the Rebels never again had a winning season under Robinson, nor bowled and finished in the black against the odds just once. UNLV entered the 2004 season as a team that was a documented consistent loser both straight up and against the odds and had few supporters or believers remaining in the online sports betting blog community. Many, in fact, having been burned numerous times by UNLV, vowed to “never again” have the Rebels on their lists of football picks as these sports bettors had been burned one too many times.

UNLV did nothing to change the minds of sports bettors in their opener at Tennessee, where as 19-point dogs they succumbed 17-42. In their next game at Wisconsin, they stopped the bleeding by covering as 15.5-point dogs in 3-18 loss against a Badger team notorious for struggling with big numbers against the odds.

Whatever hope sports bettors may have had for UNLV was shot in their first two home games of 2004. As 6.5-point chalks in their home opener against Air Force, the Rebels were embarrassed in a 10-27 loss the clearly indicated that Robinson was nowhere near turning the program around. This was completely confirmed in UNLV’s next home game where as 13-point chalks they were totally humiliated in a 21-31 loss to Big West patsies Utah State. At this point the Rebels were completely written off by sports betting bloggers and would appear on few lists of football picks in their upcoming games. Now abandoned by nearly all of the sports handicapping community, the Rebels went on to win and cover their next two games to offer slight hope of a sports handicapping market correction. With Robinson having announced his retirement, it was expected that the Rebs would want to send him out a winner but they instead quit, losing their final five games both straight up and against the odds, to finish 2004 in disgrace at 2-9 straight up and 3-8 against the pointspread.





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