North Texas vs UNLV betting: Heart of Dallas Bowl odds prediction, preview

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

North Texas is favored to beat the Heart of Dallas Bowl odds and beat UNLV on New Year's Day. This post provided to SB Nation by Oddsshark.com

The UNLV Rebels are 3-0 straight-up and against the spread in the three bowl games in program history, with the most recent one coming in the Las Vegas Bowl back in 2000.

North Texas is 0-2 straight-up and against the spread over its last two bowl games and is making its first bowl appearance since 2004.

Both teams will try to take advantage of a rare bowl appearance in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, with North Texas favored at -6.5.

Conference USA is generally known for its high-octane offenses, but North Texas bucked that trend with an outstanding season on defense this year. The Mean Green (Conference USA, 8-4 SU, 9-3 ATS, 4-8 OU) held opponents to just 18.1 points per game this season, which ranked ninth best in the nation.

They finished the season on a 6-1 straight-up and against the spread run, in which they allowed just 12.6 points per game. The offense also had a solid season, finishing the year with 31.5 points per game.

[ Heart of Dallas Bowl betting history, live odds, matchup trends ]

Despite only being favored to win three times this season, the UNLV Rebels (Mountain West, 7-5 SU, 8-4 ATS, 6-5-1 OU) won seven games outright for their best season in over a decade. UNLV finished 100th in the nation in defense, allowing 436.3 yards per game, but a balanced attack in the running and passing game and some timely plays on both sides of the ball earned the Rebels their first bowl bid in over a decade.

The total went UNDER in six of North Texas' last eight games (per closing NFL totals at 5Dimes.eu) and in four of UNLV's last six. If North Texas' excellent second-half defense carries over into this bowl game, this could be another low scoring game.

Both teams should feel comfortable with the spread where it currently sits. UNLV went 4-1 straight-up and against the spread when going off as an underdog of a touchdown or less, and North Texas went 7-2 straight-up and against the spread as a betting favorite this season.

North Texas had the better season by the numbers, but UNLV won games in spite of the numbers all year, making this an interesting one to try to solve.

Computer Prediction for Heart of Dallas Bowl: 38-26 North Texas (m2atchup report)

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