Heart of Dallas Bowl Football Betting Picks: UNLV vs North Texas
Wednesday, January 01, 2014
by Tomas Lopez

Heart of Dallas Bowl Football Betting Picks: UNLV vs North Texas

When its comes to the two most unlikeliest teams to be playing in a New Year's Day bowl game, you'd be hard-pressed to beat the Heart of Dallas Bowl matchup between UNLV Rebels and North Texas. Both teams combined to win a total of just six games a year ago and the Rebels entered the season following back-to-back-to-back two-win campaign. But both teams overcame slow starts -- UNLV began 0-2 while North Texas started 2-3 -- to end long bowl droughts and wind up playing at the Cotton Bowl on one of college football's most sacred days.

The North Texas Mean Green play a short drive north up I-35 in Denton, Texas and is making its first bowl appearance since 2004 when it lost the last of four consecutive New Orleans Bowls to Southern Mississippi, 31-10. UNLV is playing in its first bowl game since 2000 when it upset Arkansas in the Las Vegas Bowl, 31-14. The Rebels lead the all-time series with the Mean Green, 4-0, and won the last meeting in 2000 in Las Vegas, 38-0.

  UNLV Rebels at North Texas Mean Green
When: 12:00 PM ET, Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Where: Cotton Bowl Stadium, Dallas, Texas
TV: Noon ET, ESPNU.

Opening Odds: North Texas -7 - O/U: 54
NCAA Football Betting Odds from: Bovada Sportsbook

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UNLV Rebels (7-5): Senior quarterback Caleb Herring, moved to wide receiver for his junior season after a disappointing sophomore campaign, has been the MVP of this team. He took over for sophomore Nick Sherry midway through the UNLV's third game with Central Michigan and rallied the Rebels from a 21-0 deficit to a 31-21 victory, the start of the team's first four-game regular-season win streak since 1984 when Randall Cunningham was the quarterback. Herring has passed for 2,522 yards and 22 touchdowns and been intercepted just four times.

North Texas Mean Green (8-4): The Mean Green rank ninth nationally in scoring defense (18.1) and have been particularly tough in the red zone, allowing teams to score touchdowns just 45.5 percent of the time which, ranks sixth nationally. Senior running back Brandin Byrd leads the offense with 1,023 yards rushing, including 251 yards and three touchdowns in a season-ending 42-10 win at Tulsa. Derek Thompson, who passed for 2,640 yards this season, ranks second in school history in career passing yards with 7,191.

1. RB Tim Cornett (1,251 yards, 15 TDs) and WR Devante Davis (77 catches, 1,194 yards, 14 TDs) became UNLV's first duo to top 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season.

2. North Texas has blocked eight kicks this season.

3. North Texas senior Brelan Chancellor led Conference USA in both kickoff (28.14) and punt returns (16.82).

NCAA Football Prediction: UNLV 31, North Texas 21.

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Tags
brandin byrd - brelan chancellor - caleb herring - devante davis - nick sherry - north texas mean green - randall cunningham - tim cornett - unlv rebels

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