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Colorado State Rams vs. Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors Point Spread - Pick

Colorado State Rams (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS) vs. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (2-2 SU, 1-2-1 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date/Time: Saturday, September 30, 2017 at 11:59PM EST
Where: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawai'i
TV: X

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: CSU +7/HAW -7
Over/Under Total: 69

The Colorado State Rams make the trip to Honolulu to face the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors on Saturday in the late game on week five in Mountain West Conference action. Colorado State is a respectable 2-2 and is coming off a 41-23 loss to top-ranked Alabama in a game that was a lot closer than some suspected. They opened the season with a 31-point win against Oregon State. They still face a daunting road trip from Colorado to Hawaii. Meanwhile, the Rainbow Warriors fell to 2-2 with a really tough overtime road loss at Wyoming in their conference opener, 28-21. They look for some of that old Honolulu home-mojo against the Rams this week.

The Rams start conference play and it's a tough spot, as it always is for teams coming to Hawaii, particularly those not on the west coast. Colorado State, though, might benefit from having a week off after the loss to the Tide. And going from Alabama to Hawaii might be a look with which they can succeed. Colorado St. may have fallen to Colorado and 'Bama, but they are expected to be contenders in the Mountain West and look to get things off to a good start this week.

QB Nick Stevens has continued the progress he started showing last season after regaining the starting gig. In four games, he has thrown for 1227 yards and 8 touchdowns. He has been a little reckless at times with 6 picks, but he's moving the offense. On the ground, contributions are being made by Dalyn Dawkins, Izzy Matthews, Rashaad Boddie, and Marvin Kinsey, Jr. These backs can also catch balls. Stevens' main aerial weapons from last season are paving the way again this season with Olabisi Johnson and Michael Gallup doing well thus far, along with speedster Detrich Clark. We will see how a young offensive line with a few veteran standout anchors hold up now in conference play. For Colorado State to put up nearly 400 yards against a Tide defense that is packed with guys who will one days be playing on Sundays is a big deal for this team.

The Colorado State defense has gotten off to a positive start—all things considered. Giving up 41 points to Alabama is no high crime. They were able to prevent a full-on Alabama offensive frenzy at the very least. They seem to have a certain level of toughness and resilience that can really help out in games like this. The defense plays really hard and with a lot of pride. Losing Deonte Clyburn was a tough loss, leaving a big void in the middle. Linebacker Josh Watson has been playing well, along with Tre Thomas. They also get good safety play from senior Jake Schalger and Jamal Hicks. The line is young, but has shown some good signs this season. A real question is how well will this team travel? If the conditions don't get to them, they should be ready to hit conference play ready to roll. After all, Colorado State didn't start 2017 thinking they were national contenders, so this is really where the season starts for them in a lot of ways.

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Saturday's loss was painful for Hawaii. They had 23 first downs, compared to only 11 for Wyoming. They gained almost 200 more yards on offense. But penalties and turnovers, including two picks by Hawaii quarterback Dru Brown, made it so the Rainbow Warriors couldn't really pull away. And they came up short in overtime, as Wyoming hit a 25-yard pass for a TD to win it after picking off a tipped pass on Hawaii's first OT possession. It was a tough way to lose a conference opener and Hawaii needs to regroup in time to play what looks like a tough Colorado State bunch.

If not for the turnovers, which weren't all his fault, Brown wasn't bad behind center for Hawaii. He completed 29 of 40 passes with a touchdown. The junior has been a bit errant with 8 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He needs to start playing a little better, after having a pretty good sophomore season in 2016. They got a big boost from running back Diocemy Saint Juste, who has 554 yards now, while being a decent aerial weapon at times. He is aided on the ground by Ryan Tuiasoa, who has four touchdowns on the season. Sophomore receiver John Ursua is a big contributor and was over 100 yards with a TD against Wyoming. Dylan Collie and Ammon Barker are also reliable targets. Hawaii has a subtle way of controlling the tempo of the game, especially at home.

The Rainbow Warriors defense played better than what the final score showed against Wyoming, though their overtime meltdown and losing on the Cowboys' first play was upsetting. They held Wyoming to 11 first downs, but still permitted them to extract the most out of that minimal production. They got after the QB at times, led by linebacker Jahlani Tavai, along with sophomore Solomon Matautia and Russell Williams, Jr. Up-front, there is some bulk, with DT Meffy Kolosamatangi, along with David Manoa and youngster Maxwell Hendrie, The secondary was led on Saturday by Trayvon Henderson and they held Josh Allen to 92 yards on Saturday, a marked improvement from their performances in their first three games. Look for this group to really be put to the test this week by the Rams' aerial attack.

This Hawaii team isn't bad, especially in this context—at home for a conference game. After starting the season with three road games in their first 4 weeks, they should enjoy being back at home for the late game on Saturday. Colorado State is going through two time zones to play at 1AM their time. But the week off figures into the equation, as does the vitality they've shown on offense so far, along with a defense that seems to match up well at this level. I'm taking a leap-of-faith on the Rams.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Colorado State Rams minus 7 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Rams vs. Rainbow Warriors game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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