Of course, it's the New England Patriots versus the Los Angeles Rams this weekend for supremacy in the NFL.
But there's another big game this week.
The top-10 UNR Wildcats take on the Runnin' Rebels in the basketball game that wouldn't just move the Rebels up in Mountain West standings. This is for state bragging rights.
Mitch Moss of the Vegas Stats and Information Network joins State of Nevada for his take on the two big games and a look ahead as the Vegas Golden Knights begin the second half of the NHL season.
What is UNLV all about?
“I would say they are a team that so far in conference play are pretty good at home. They have four wins so far in league play and a couple of their loses are on the road.
So far, the home-road splits are pretty big with this team. The youth might have something to play there where they’re a little bit more accustom to playing at the Thomas & Mack than on the road.
But also, I don’t think the league is good at all… it is really up for debate whether or not this conference is the worst its been in 20 years.”
Who is UNR?
“They’re a really good basketball team. I think, unfortunately, they had a lot of players back that were on the verge of going to the Final Four last year before they got beat by Loyola… I think they were a little bored… Eric Musselman is such a great coach how does that happen? They cruised past the non-conference with some good wins and they get to league play and there is probably like, ‘We can flip the switch any time we want because we are so much better than everybody else here. We can show up with our C plus game and win.' I think they got a little bit lazy.
It is going to be tricky playing at the Thomas & Mack this week against the Rebels. I just think they were maybe a little bit bored, looking forward to ‘Wake me up in March when we can actually start playing our best basketball.' And it caught up with them for one game against New Mexico.”
Does UNLV have what it takes to compete with UNR?
“I think they can compete with them… If they don’t show up and they’re looking past UNLV, which I can’t imagine they would because it is such a big rivalry game for them, plus UNLV has been better at home. Hopefully, there’s a nice crowd at the Thomas & Mack. I know that’s been a big talking point this year about how nobody is going to their games anymore. This is by far and away the best team they’re going to play in their home schedule for the rest of the year. You don’t want to lose to this team.
On paper, Nevada – when they want to – they should be able to blow them out. But Thomas & Mack have been a good spot for UNLV. I think they can keep it close.”
Will the Knights make to the playoffs?
“No question. It would be a gigantic upset if they were to fall on their faces in the last couple of months of the regular season and not make the playoffs. They have a difficult schedule after the [All-Star] break.
If they could come back [from their road trip] 2 and 2 or maybe 3 and 1, that would be a tremendous road trip.”
How do the experts see the Super Bowl going?
I know a lot of sports books that opened up the game with the Rams favored by a point, thinking that their power rating all year long has been better than the Patriots, nothing has changed from that opinion. So, when they meet on a neutral field, the Rams would have to be favored.
And then, when they put up the Rams minus one, every bet – and still going that way – has been on the Patriots. Now, the Patriots are favored by two and a half, and so a lot of sharps are waiting for three. The reason they’re waiting for three is so many games land on three, taking three is a much better bet than taking two and a half.
It’s been a little weird. The oddsmakers they think the Rams are better. They have a higher power rating on them but, all of the sudden, here’s the Patriots and they’re in another Super Bowl and it’s Brady and Belichick again. A lot of people bet against them when they played the Chargers – they won. A lot of people bet against them against the Chiefs, didn’t matter they still won. And now, all of the sudden they flipped and said, ‘I like them better than the Rams.’ It is kind of weird to me.
Why would the NFL want to get rid of prop bets?
“I don’t know. It would be silly. It brings so much interest. I saw a story that said $6 billion will be bet on the game. Now, we have eight states where it is legal to bet. Where I work – VSIN – they’re projecting the legal handle to be $300 million or $320 million. In Nevada, it could be $165 million… This is the third year in a row that I really don’t have a strong opinion on the game. So, I’m not going to bet money on who is going to win the game. I’m going to bet one of the 4,000 prop bets that are available.
Mitch Moss, host of "Follow The Money," V-SIN
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