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Creighton vs UNLV Odds, Spread, Picks & Predictions (Dec. 13)

Sascha Paruk

by Sascha Paruk in College Basketball

Updated Dec 13, 2023 · 8:44 AM PST

Creighton Bluejays guard Steven Ashworth dribbling
Dec 3, 2023; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Creighton Bluejays guard Steven Ashworth (1) turns after getting a rebound against the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the first half at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports
  • The #8 Creighton Bluejays travel to the desert for a date with the UNLV Rebels on Wednesday, Dec. 13
  • Creighton is a double-digit favorite against a UNLV team that’s under .500
  • See the Creighton vs UNLV odds and picks

While they haven’t been perfect this season, the #8 Creighton Bluejays (8-1, 2-0 away, 7-2 ATS) have been dominant. Averaging a 28.9-point margin of victory in their eight wins this year, the Bluejays head to Las Vegas as double-digit road favorites against the UNLV Rebels (3-4, 2-2 home, 2-5 ATS) on Wednesday night.

Tip-off at Dollar Loan Center in Henderson, NV, is set for 6:00 pm PT/9:00 pm ET. CBS Sports Network will have the broadcast.

Creighton vs UNLV Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Creighton Bluejays -13.5 (-105) -900 O  152.5 (-110)
UNLV Rebels +13.5 (-115) +600 U 152.5 (-110)

The Bluejays are listed as 13.5-point road favorites in Wednesday’s NCAA basketball odds and -900 on the moneyline. The Rebels come back as +600 underdogs to win straight-up while the total is 152.5. UNLV has been one of the best over bets so far this season, going 6-1 O/U, including five straight overs. Creighton is 5-4 over/under to date and has alternated overs and unders all season.



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Odds as of Dec. 13 at ESPN Bet

Creighton’s early-season dominance has moved the team into the top-ten favorites in the 2024 March Madness odds (+2114).

Creighton Shakes Off First Loss

Playing a fairly weak schedule, the Bluejays raced out to a 5-0 start, going 4-1 ATS in the process thanks to a quartet of lopsided victories. But in their first test against a top-50 team, they were demolished by Colorado State (69-48 neutral) as nine-point favorites in an uncharacteristically poor offensive performance.

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Greg McDermott’s team responded with vigor, though, going 3-0 since including routs over OK State (79-65) and in-state rival Nebraska (89-60). They crossed the century mark for the second time this season against Central Michigan last time out (109-64), easily covering as 31-point home favorites.

Normally reserved for NBA parlance, the Bluejays have their own “big three” of returning stars: leading scorer and rebounder Baylor Scheierman (18.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 4.0 APG) is supplemented perfectly by point guard Trey Alexander (15.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 4.9 APG) and seven-foot center Ryan Kalkbrenner (15.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 63.2 FG%). Alexander’s early-season exploits have landed him just outside the top-ten favorites in the Wooden Award odds.

That trio comprised the team’s three top scorers last year, as well, when the Bluejays went 24-13 and earned a #6 seed in the NCAA Tournament. While they did lose Ryan Nembhard (12.1 PPG, 4.8 APG) to Gonzaga and Arthur Kaluma (11.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG) to Kansas State, McDermott still has an absurd level of returning production compared to the vast majority of upper-echelon DI teams.

UNLV Struggling to Incorporate New Faces

The Rebels, who returned considerably less production than Creighton, have gotten off to a sluggish start as coach Kevin Kruger tries to piece together his new lineup. Leading scorer EJ Harkless (19.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.6 SPG) graduated while second-leading scorer Keshon Gilbert (11.4 PPG, 3.2 APG, 1.7 SPG) transferred to Iowa State.

Kruger landed OK State’s Kalib Boone (14.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.5 BPG) in the transfer portal and the senior forward is leading the team in scoring while shooting a phenomenal 67.3% from the field.  UNLV’s top recruit, point guard Dedan Thomas Jr (rated 37th in the nation by ESPN), is also off to an excellent start (11.7 PPG, 6.1 APG, 2.0 TPG).

But returning seniors Luis Rodriguez (11.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG) and Justin Webster (8.3 PPG) haven’t taken the strides Kruger would have hoped.

The results have been ugly. UNLV lost its season-opener to 241st-rated Southern (85-71 home) as 20.5-point favorites.  Their early-season resume also includes setbacks to #89 Florida State (83-75 neutral), #95 Richmond (82-65 neutral), and #114 Loyola Marymount (78-75 home).

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Last year’s team, which went 19-13 and finished the season rated 95th at KenPom, prided itself on a ferocious defense that generated the fourth-most turnovers in the nation (24.7% of opponent possessions). This season, that rate is down to just 18.8% (118th in DI). With more time and space, opponents are absolutely lighting up the Rebels from beyond the arc, shooting 40.9% from three (though three-point defense tends to regress to the mean over the season).

UNLV’s last two games have provided some reason for optimism. On Nov. 28, the Rebels picked up their best win of the season over Akron (72-70 home) in a game that was not nearly as close as the final score suggests. UNLV led by ten at halftime and were still up ten with just two minutes to play before a late Arkon surge. The three-point loss to Loyola Marymount followed on Dec. 9.

Creighton vs UNLV Prediction

Creighton has a roster built for a Final Four run, and the ease with which they’re blowing teams out is alarming. But UNLV has the pieces to be significantly better than their results so far. Kruger’s defense rated in the top-100 in efficiency each of his first two seasons in Las Vegas, yet sits 219th this season.

The Rebels will start getting better luck when it comes to opponents’ three-point shooting. Creighton is good from beyond the arc, but not great, and I don’t expect the Bluejays to run away with this one in the first 20 minutes. Just like yesterday, I am taking the underdog to cover a big first-half spread.

Creighton vs UNLV pick: UNLV first-half +7.5 (on the FanDuel app)

Sascha Paruk’s 2023-24 NCAAM betting record:

  • ATS: 10-9 (+0.10 units)
  • Player props: 1-0 (+0.87 units)

All wagers one unit unless expressly stated otherwise.

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