Hawaii Rainbow Warriors vs. Boise State Broncos Point Spread – Pick

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (9-4 SU, 7-6 ATS) vs. Boise State Broncos (11-1 SU, 6-5-1 ATS)
Mountain West Conference Championship Game
Date/Time: Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 4PM EST
Where: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: HAW +15/BSU -15
Over/Under Total: 63.5

The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors take on the Boise State Broncos on Saturday at Albertsons Stadium in the Mountain West Title Game. This is for the all the marbles, as the 11-1 Broncos try to put a nice ribbon around their season as they strive for a nice bowl berth. On Sunday, they didn’t have it easy and failed to cover, but stayed winning with a 31-24 win over Colorado State—their fifth straight win since suffering their only loss of the season. They now face a Hawaii team that is coming off a strong regular season, going 9-4 and coming off a late-night Saturday win over Army, 52-31, in a game where they were only favored by a couple points. They now look for what would be a signature win for the program.

It’s only sensible to take a look back at a game between teams that happened earlier in the season and in this case, we’re fortunate to have a case-study from a game between these teams that was played in this very stadium. On October 12, Boise State beat Hawaii conclusively, 59-37. Even with starting QB Hank Bachmeier leaving the game with an injury, the Boise offense was able to have its way with 518 total yards, with receivers and running backs alike going off for the Broncos. With the Broncos taking a 31-7 second quarter lead, it was pretty much a wrap with Hawaii never looking the part of a winner. Four turnovers, penalties, and having to abandon the run-game didn’t help and Hawaii was swallowed up by the Broncos in what is an awfully-tough road trip that might even be tougher this time around with the weather component now more in play.


It helps Boise to know they can torch Hawaii without Bachmeier. He is listed as questionable after missing the last three games. In relief, senior Jaylon Henderson has been capable and even threw a TD against Hawaii when he came in during their first game. If you want to say the Broncos lose a little edge with Bachmeier out, that’s fair enough, but I’m not sure it’s too enough of an extent that Hawaii can be much more hopeful about their prospects this week. Henderson also offers a nice element with his legs. He is getting better and with a good line and weapons like receivers John Hightower, Khalil Shakir, and CT Thomas, along with a nice 1-2 RB punch with George Holani and Robert Mahone, among others, it’s a spot where he can succeed. With the 59 they put on Hawaii the first time, this is a scary offense.

The Boise defense might lag behind the offense, but by conference standards, it’s pretty darned good. Most of their outings were strong, other than a rough patch in the midseason that led to their only loss of the season to BYU. They are strong in the front-seven, with a sometimes-iffy secondary. That could be a major matchup problem against a very aerial Hawaii offense. But in game one, Cole McDonald and the Rainbow Warriors air-attack didn’t really get untracked. McDonald had some success with 3 TD throws, but hardly the kind of showing that should have the Broncos worried this time around.

Hats off to the Rainbow Warriors for winning the West division in a season where they beat two Pac-12 teams, while winning their last four games overall to head into this rematch with a little steam. Head coach Nick Rolovich has turned around a program mired in misery and after winning 8 last season, he looks to really knock it out of the park this year. And when you think of past Hawaii teams that have done damage, this squad has similarities, namely a high-powered aerial offense, with a “D” that lags behind in terms of overall effectiveness. They now face a giant opportunity for the program.

Dealing with a flu, Hawaii starting quarterback Cole McDonald came off the bench on Saturday to throw three TD passes. Ball-catchers Jared Smart and Cedric Byrd, II. were both over 100 yards receiving, while effective running back Miles Reed ran for 92 yards on just 10 carries. The run is more an afterthought in this offense, but it’s effective when they go to it. Through the air, they have three very viable assets, with JoJo Ward having also hauled in 11 TD grabs this season. This offense already put 37 up on Boise earlier in the season and with maybe even more confidence now and if they can clean up some mistakes, they can improve on that number.

How well Hawaii does in this game and whether they cover the spread comes down largely to how the Rainbow Warriors’ defense plays. In allowing 59 points to Boise the first time around, they yielded a season-high in points to the Broncos. In other words, the Boise offense succeeded more against this defense than any other one they played this season. That doesn’t bode well for Hawaii. For a 9 win team, it’s pretty bad. Whereas Hawaii has averaged just over 35 points a game scoring, they’ve yielded close to 32 a game. It’s a pretty bad group to be seeing on a team that had this much success. With Boise’s ability to run the ball well in spots, it brings more to light Hawaii’s horrible run-defense, as they’ve given up over 200 yards a game on the ground. Still, with just 49 combined points allowed in their last three games, they’ve been a little better lately.

This means a lot for Hawaii, on the cusp of something really big. Boise is fired up too, but this is more old-hat for them. Hawaii needs to be respected with that offense and I don’t question that they can maybe do a little better this time around, with the stakes so high and so much on the table for this program. It’s just hard to come onto this field against this 11-1 Broncos squad with so little defense. Hawaii’s current recipe for success just doesn’t resonate in this setting against this complete of a team. I’ll take Boise.

Loot’s Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Boise State Broncos minus 15 points. Bet this game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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