It’s strange that BetFirm has never (to my understanding) published a preview of a Boise State vs Hawaii game. Not only are the 2 programs among the most colorful and noteworthy of the Mountain West, each institution is rather important to the pigskin gambling and handicapping community.
Boise State is 1 of those mid-majors that is pretty much always a worthy moneyline underdog against big-shot Power-5 programs. The Boise Blue were cast as an underdog by Las Vegas going into a season-opening battle with FSU that weather conditions turned into a home game for the Seminoles in Tallahassee. But the Broncos prevailed anyway with an amazing comeback, disappointing Power-5 speculators who thought Florida State’s “ACC athletes” would enjoy a natural advantage in the meeting.
Hawaii, meanwhile, is often the host of Saturday night’s “bailout” game, the final pregame bet opportunity for gamblers who have lost (or won) their bets throughout an FBS weekend. Hawaii hosted Arizona for the final kickoff of Week Zero and surprised the Wildcats 45-38, again turning-around many fortunes of bettors…at least those who weren’t foolish enough to wager against Hawaii.
BSU’s meeting with the Rainbow Warriors is not the “bailout game” of Week 7 – the kickoff in Idaho will be followed by even-later 1st quarters between Wyoming and San Diego State and between Washington and Arizona. But it’ll probably be among the late Saturday night games that draw the most gambling action – even with the favorites maintaining a 2-score edge in Las Vegas point spreads.
Who: Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at Boise State Broncos
When: Saturday, October 12th, 10:15 PM EST
Where: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
Lines: HI (+13) at BSU (-13) / O/U Total: (60.5)
The offenses are expected to ring-up a lot of points (obviously) and will get the most media attention headed into the scrum at Albertsons. Hawaii’s official 1st-string quarterback Cole McDonald has been back under center, but Rainbow Warrior coaches feel like they’ve got 2-3 quarterbacks and a ton of ballcarriers to rely on behind an underrated OL, and the attack was nearly flawless in a 52-3 whipping of Nevada last weekend. The Run & Shoot and the Flexbone are considered worlds apart but are actually close-to-identical playbooks – the Warriors choose to pass a lot but ran often and well in the Week 1 victory over Arizona and again against the Wolf Pack.
Boise State is everything its fans hoped it would be in 2019, and last week’s 38-13 win over Nevada Las-Vegas was the 1st real blow-out win over an FBS opponent this season. In some respects the Bronco offense had an ordinary game, led by Hank Bachmeier’s 299 yards and 2 TDs through the air. But tailback George Holani was terrific and 2 BSU receivers grabbed over 100 yards in catches, signs of an offense that’s cooking:
Khalil Shakir may not have been too commonly known before the season, but he has shown that his 2018 moments were not just a flash in the pan. Shakir continued his campaign to be the Broncos leading receiver in 2019 with a 7 catch, 111 yard, and one touchdown performance on Saturday. His most notable point of improvement is showing that he is a dependable every-down option at receiver, rather than a big play option only. The Broncos continue to show their embarrassment of riches at receiver, with three receivers amassing over 300 yards and at least two touchdowns.
As fun as the Boise State and Hawaii offenses are to talk about, however, I’m more interested in another chunk of the same beat report:
Curtis Weaver– The Mountain West Pre-Season Defensive Player of the Year…had 6 tackles, 4 solo tackles, and 3 sacks against the Rebels. Saturday’s game marks the second time thus far this season where Weaver has achieved at least 3 sacks in a single game. His 3 sacks also vaulted him past TCU great Jerry Hughes, into first place for the Mountain West Career Sack Leader at 30. Curtis now sets his sights on chasing breaking a second record held by Hughes with 15 sacks in a single season. Weaver has 9 sacks on the year and is showing no signs of slowing down.
The defenses may be overlooked going into Saturday night’s battle, and veteran high-rollers know it. You can almost feel the tug-of-war between recreational bettors picking the “Over (60.5)” and big-money clients who have taken the Under and caused the Vegas total to fall from an opening (61) points.
Weaver is hardly the only Bronco defender playing at a Power-5 level. When the offense wouldn’t crank-up against Marshall earlier this season, Boise State’s pass rush turned it up a notch, and held the Thundering Herd to less points and yards than any other ’19 opponent has even though Cincinnati visited Marshall in September.
Hawaii’s D is smart enough to try to force turnovers and work to prevent explosive plays this weekend. Rainbow Warrior coaches don’t have a fantastic defense to put on the field, but they’ve only seen the unit overwhelmed on the line-of-scrimmage by Washington so far. Boise State’s strengths as an offense include versatility, muscle, speed and execution – but the Bronco OL won’t batter the Rainbows like the Huskies did.
Look for an Under result as the game is slower-paced and choppier than Las Vegas is expecting.
Will Boise State cover with another mean defensive stand? Possibly, but the low side of the O/U is a higher-% wager.