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Mountain West action here as the Boise State Broncos will host the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. Once again, Boise State is one of the best small conference teams in all of college football. Hawaii has shown they've made strides, so they definitely can't be counted out here. Still, oddsmakers have the Broncos as a double-digit favorite for this one, which will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
Hawaii has been quietly building itself back up into a respectable program the past couple of years. After going 3-9 in 2017, they went 8-6 last year. Through five games in 2019, they're 4-1, with their only loss coming to Washington. They definitely can't be taken lightly, and they'll be hungry for revenge against a Boise State team that beat them down 52-16 the last time these teams played each other.
Another season, another year where Boise State again looks like the best non-Power 5 team in the nation. The Broncos enter this one ranked #14 in the latest AP poll, and it looks like they could be headed for a New Year's bowl game yet again. They picked up a big comeback win over Florida State in their opener, and have been rolling ever since.
Hawaii Back?Is Hawaii back? It might be too soon to say that, but they have looked pretty good recently. I'm a fan of head coach Nick Rolovich, and it looks like he has the program back on a path toward relevancy. So far this season they've gone 4-1, and their only loss is a road game against Washington.
They've already beaten two power conference schools this season in Oregon State and Arizona, which isn't easy for a mid-major to do. In their most recent game and conference opener, they absolutely demolished Nevada by a score of 54-3. Obviously that game wasn't any close, and the offense has been really impressive all year long. They've scored at least 31 points in four of their five games, and they even put up 20 on a very tough Washington defense. Junior quarterback Cole McDonald has already thrown 17 touchdowns, and it looks like he could lead them to big things.
The Rainbow Warriors are also coming off their bye week, so they've had an extra week to prepare for this one. McDonald is completing 69 percent of his passes, so the offense is very efficient. They've already played a very difficult schedule for a Mountain West team, and so far they've answered the call. Their dominant 51-point win over Nevada came on the road, so they clearly don't have much of a problem playing away from home. Hawaii has a very strong secondary, and they're only giving up 5.96 yards per pass attempt this season.
Boise For Real?Boise has done a fantastic job establishing themselves as a consistent winner, and once again they might be the best non-power conference team in college football. They're ranked that way in the polls right now and seem to have a good shot of making a New Year's day bowl. That is if they can avoid slipping up in any games like this. The Broncos are the kings of the conference right now, and as such everyone is going to be gunning for them. Boise State is ranked #14 and is 5-0 on the year, but I'm still not sold. They've played a really soft schedule, and their only impressive win was against Florida State in a game where the Seminoles led big early but collapsed in the second half.
Since then they've played a cupcake schedule, with games against Marshall, Portland State, Air Force, and UNLV. Now that they have to play a real competitive team again after a long time off, it could be a bit of a shock. Boise's quarterback Hank Bachmeier hasn't even been that great, and their running game averages a mediocre 4.1 yards per carry. The defense would appear to be the team's strength but it's hard to gauge considering the schedule they've played, and they gave up 31 quick points to FSU in the opener. Hawaii has a very solid secondary, and Bachmeier is only a freshman so I think he really could struggle here.
Rainbow Warriors are:
- 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Hawaii is one of my favorite plays this week. Boise State has an inexperienced freshman quarterback, and they're now playing their first real team for the first time in a while. They've had a very soft schedule the past month, and I think they'll start slow here as a result. Hawaii has been flying under the radar but their offense is legit, and they have a tough secondary. Hawaii has already beaten two PAC 12 teams this season, and this line is off.
Prediction: Hawaii +12.5
Full-Game Total Pick
I also like the under a lot here. Hawaii has an underrated defense, and their secondary should shutdown the freshman Boise quarterback here. Boise's strength is their defense, and I think both teams will be running the ball a lot here. The Broncos will start the game off rusty since they haven't played real competition in a long time, and Hawaii could be a bit rusty offensively coming off the bye.