Sports betting:

Vegas Play of the Day: UNLV basketball vs. Boise State


Steve Marcus

UNLV Rebels guard Elijah Mitrou-Long (55) tries to lay up the ball by Texas State Bobcats guard Nijal Pearson (22) during a game at the Thomas & Mack Center Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019.

Thu, Mar 5, 2020 (9:29 a.m.)

The sixth season of the annual Play of the Day betting competition between the Sun's sports staff is now underway, effective July 1.

Bankrolls start at $10,000 for each of the four participants, with the objective to increase it as much as possible over the next year. The minimum daily wager is $300, with a $200 penalty assessed for failing to place a bet on an assigned day.

Past winners are Case Keefer in 2018-19 and 2017-2018, Ray Brewer in 2016-2017 and 2015-2016, and Taylor Bern in 2014-2015.

Boise State plus-2.5 vs. UNLV: $770 to win $700: Only a handful of teams in the country are closing the season stronger than UNLV, which wrapped up the regular season with a five-game winning streak (including an impressive road victory at No. 4 San Diego State). But the Rebels probably wish the season had been about four minutes shorter.

With 3:30 left in the season finale and UNLV holding an insurmountable lead at San Jose State, senior point guard Elijah Mitrou-Long crumpled to the floor after colliding with a defender at full speed. He suffered a "severe knee contusion," according to the team, and while he participated in a limited practice this week, the team said he is "unlikely" to play against Boise State.

The Rebels' chances without Mitrou-Long don't look so good. He was the linchpin to UNLV's four-guard lineups, and that was the single most important factor in turning around the season. During the five-game winning streak, four-guard lineups including Mitrou-Long were +16.1 per 40 minutes, while four-guard lineups without him were -26.3. And small-ball wasn't just a passing fad for the Rebels — they played four guards 86.1 percent of the time during the winning streak.

If Mitrou-Long can't play today — or more likely, if he tries to give it a go and finds he's not effective due to the injury — Boise State will be able to defend UNLV's traditional lineups. As hot as UNLV has been, Boise now has the upper hand.

Current Standings: Grimala (14-5, $8,665), Keefer (28-26-2, $8,275), Brewer (15-12, $7,795), Emerson (14-16, $6,150)

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