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The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors and Colorado State Rams will meet in Fort Collins this Saturday to kick off the Mountain West Conference season. Neither team really came close to competing for the Mountain West Conference title last season but the Rams managed to make the postseason. They lost a closely contested 31-28 game in the New Mexico Bowl to the Marshall Thundering Herd, finishing the season with a record of 7-6.
The Rainbow Warriors had a very poor season out of the West division of the Mountain West. They went 3-9 overall and won just one game in conference play. Last season, Colorado St. won this matchup with some ease by the score of 51-21. The game was pretty much over at halftime when the score was 31-7. Hawaii will look to get redemption from last year’s pummeling on the Rams’ home turf.
Hawaii looks to get back to their old ways
The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors had a tough go of it with a 3-9 record and a 1-7 record in the Mountain West last season. They ended their year on a five-game losing streak so it has been quite some time since Hawaii has seen a win. Defense seemed like more of an optional feature to the Rainbow Warriors than a necessity last season. The 35.4 points per game they allowed was in the bottom 25 of all teams in the nation. Usually, the Rainbow Warriors make up for that type of thing with a gun slinging offense, but not last year. The 21.1 points per game they scored was number 109 in the nation to match their defense.
Last season, we saw Hawaii lose their exciting pass-heavy style. It is likely to come back this season with a ton of new coaching changes coming to the Warriors. Head Coach, Nick Rolovich is heading into his third season as head coach. As the former quarterback of the Rainbow Warriors, he is very familiar with the run and shoot style offense that this team thrives under. With a new staff surrounding him, he should be able to bring it back behind quarterback Cole McDonald.
Much like their opponents, Hawaii is not looking for their defense to be the backbone of their team but to hold up just enough to give the offense a chance to put up crazy numbers and get the win. Also just like Colorado St. the linebackers should be the brightest point on their defense. Still, the offense will have to carry this team even after stars like Dru Brown and Dylan Collie transferred following last season. Hopefully John Urusa will be back looking like a number one receiver after a knee injury sidelines him last season.
Colorado St. tries to best 7-6 once again
Last year was supposed to be the Colorado State Rams’ year. They were loaded with both experience and talent but could not put up wins and struggled down the stretch. They showed flashes of brilliance on some of their losses like when they took Boise St. to overtime or put up 28 points on Alabama but it was never enough. To end the season, Colorado St. won just one of their last five games. When all was said and done, the Rams — for the third year in a row — ended with a 7-6 record.
This year’s offense in Fort Collins will look completely different. Quarterback Nick Stevens is gone along with the best pieces of the offensive line. Michael Gallup, their star receiver became a third-round draft pick earlier this year and will be missed. All in all, there is just too much missing for Colorado to expect to have a top 20 offense in the nation again this season. With some more important losses in the secondary and the defensive line, the Rams will look toward their experienced linebackers to lead the team defensively. This offensive based team will simply look to their defense to not be a liability.
While the departures are more glaring, the Rams have some exciting new additions to their roster that could get them to yet another bowl game. They have added Washington transfer KJ Carta-Samuels to the roster and he is the top quarterback on the depth chart. He has looked solid in his very limited playing time throughout his career, throwing three touchdowns to just one interception for the Huskies. Colorado St. has also added John Jancek as the new defensive coordinator. He has served as the defensive coordinator for top programs such as Tennessee, Georgia, and Cincinnati and could be vital in turning this offensive-heavy team’s defense around.
- 5-2 ATS in last seven August games
- 0-5 ATS in last five road games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
These two teams have a very similar offense heavy style but the Rams are simply better at it. They are bound to score even if their defense does not hold up. Luckily, the secondary of Colorado St. does not seem like it will be terrible so they should be able to handle it. The bottom line is that these two teams are trying to do the same thing but only one of them has proven recently that they can actually do it.
Prediction: Colorado St. Rams -14
Full-Game Total Pick
Assuming that Hawaii’s offense goes back to what it does best, this game should be a pass heavy shootout. Neither team is exactly known for their defenses and survive simply on outscoring their opponents with crazy offensive numbers. This should be a fun game with lots of scoring.
Prediction: Over 58.5
Full-Game Prop Bet
If there was ever a game to take the crazy odds on a crazy score, this is certainly a candidate. Defense seems to be an optional feature to both of these teams. If the two new quarterbacks in this game live up to their teams’ traditions, there will be plenty of scoring. Why not bet on it to get out of hand?
Prediction: 85 or more total points scored +1000
Half-Time Side Pick
The Rams really should lead this game from start to finish. It is not a mismatch because they are a great team by any means, but because they do exactly what Hawaii does but better. They can score more and their defense is slightly more present than the Warriors’.
Prediction: Colorado St. Rams -350
Half-Time Total Bet
This one might start off slower and progress into a shootout in the second half. Both teams may try to establish the run game but when that does not work and the touchdowns start flowing, it will turn into a gun slinging shootout after the half. To start out, this will resemble a normal football game.
Prediction: Under 29
Half-Time Prop Prediction
With two defenses near the bottom of the stat sheet in the country in 2017, someone is bound to at least get into field goal range early on. Neither of these teams relies heavily on the run so not a ton of time will come off the clock on short plays.
Prediction: There will be a score in the first 5.5 minutes of the game -110