At the end of another thrilling Saturday (10/28/23) of college football, one game will be left; a Mountain West matchup between the San Jose State Spartans and the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. Get San Jose State vs. Hawaii odds, picks and predictions below as our best bet is over 59.5 points.
San Jose State Spartans Vs. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Prediction
San Jose State started the year by playing some really challenging opponents, starting with a Week 0 road trip to USC, and then playing host to Oregon State. It made for a tough start to the year after a pretty strong 2022. The Spartans defense was absolutely ripped apart in both instances. Still the offense put up some points, 45 between those two contests, and learned some valuable lessons.
Four games into their Mountain West schedule, it seems to be paying off. The Spartans are .500 in conference play after a two-game winning streak. Across those two contests against New Mexico and Utah State, they’ve rushed for 510 yards and put up 94 points. Quarterback Chevan Cordeiro has also heated up. After tossing just one touchdown and three picks in his previous three games, he’s thrown for five scores and no turnovers over the past two. He is now third in the Mountain West with 1,738 passing yards.
He’s going up against an even more prolific passer, Hawaii’s Brayden Schager, who is third in the country with 2,433 passing yards so far, a rate of over 300 per game. He’s thrown 20 touchdowns compared to 11 interceptions, so he’s sacrificing efficiency for volume, following in the footsteps of his head coach Timmy Chang, who tossed 117 touchdowns and 80 picks in his career with the Rainbow Warriors.
This Hawaii team has struggled all season, losing to Stanford and Vanderbilt, two of the worst teams in the Power Five. Most recently, they lost badly to the New Mexico State team that San Jose State just demolished.
The Rainbow Warriors have the incredible benefit of their extreme home field advantage. Traveling to and playing on the island is very different from the average college football road trip. Of course, San Jose State has an ace up its sleeve, Cordeiro. He played for Hawaii for four seasons, 2018 to 2021. This will be his first journey back to Honolulu as a visitor, and he’ll surely be fired up. He was pretty solid in a win over the Rainbow Warriors last year, although that was at home in California.
Overall, this is going to be an offense-heavy game. Both defenses are outside of the top-100 by EPA, with San Jose State checking in at 125th. The Spartans’ offense ranks 40th by the same metric, while the Rainbow Warriors are still outside of the top 100. But based on the pure volume Schager has been able to achieve, they should be able to move it on an awful defense. These two teams average a total of 56.3 points per game, and allow a total of 67.3. Let’s shy away from picking on the iffy number of 10.5, and just back the over in what should be a tropical shootout.
San Jose State Spartans Vs. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Prediction: Over 59.5 Points
San Jose State Spartans Vs. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Best Odds
San Jose State is favored by 10.5 points despite the long flight, and its moneyline is set at -375. Hawaii has +290 odds to win, and you can grab either side of the total of 59.5 at -110 odds.
San Jose State Spartan Vs. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Key Matchups
In a matchup between two of the country’s worst defenses, getting just one stop could be a huge difference maker, so let’s take a look at just how that might happen.
San Jose State Rushing Offense vs. Hawaii Run Defense
As much as Cordeiro and the air game will always grab the headlines, the higher-graded unit from the San Jose State offense is actually rushing attack, which is 19th in the country by EPA per play. They don’t always get much volume, as the Spartans are often trailing, but they’ve shown their ability in the past couple of weeks. The running back duo of Kairee Robinson and Quali Conley have combined for almost 1,000 rushing yards- 999 to be exact- and they’ve averaged 6.1 and 7.0 yards per carry, respectively
Hawaii’s run defense is definitely the unit’s better half, ranking a respectable 75th in the country in EPA per play. So it stands a decent chance of forcing San Jose State to be one-dimensional and rely on Cordeiro. The Rainbow Warriors have solid contributors in run defense at all three levels, starting with Daniel Williams on the line with a PFF grade of 83.5, linebacker Jalen Smith, and safety Peter Manuma, who has 10 run stops already.
Hawaii Passing Offense vs. San Jose State Air Defense
Hawaii’s air offense is in much better shape than the ground game, which ranks a dismal 128th by EPA per play. Schager has had a couple of solid targets in Steven McBride, who has racked up 701 yards and eight scores, and Pofele Ashlock, who leads the team with 50 catches thus far. The pass protection has been surprisingly solid, ranking 39th in the country as per PFF.
The Rainbow Warriors can definitely get after a San Jose State air defense that ranks 112th by EPA per play, despite a pretty solid pass rush, led by edge rusher Tre Smith with four sacks. There are almost no bright spots in the secondary, just top corner Jay’Vion Cole, so Schager should be able to avoid him and pick apart the rest of this patchwork unit.