Hawaii has a chance to build on its best win of the season when it travels to the mainland for a meeting with Nevada on Saturday night. The Rainbow Warriors have won their last two games, including a 27-24 win against No. 18 Fresno State two weeks ago. Nevada is off to a strong 4-1 start to the season, picking up a 55-28 win over New Mexico State last week.
Cordeiro expected to returnHawaii has been blown out by UCLA and Oregon State this year, but it has been a decent start to the season otherwise. The Rainbow Warriors picked up a 41-21 win at New Mexico State and they followed it up with a 27-24 win over No. 18 Fresno State two weeks ago—they had their bye week last week. Hugh Nelson II intercepted a Fresno State pass at Hawaii’s 2-yard line with nine seconds left in the game to preserve the win. The Rainbow Warriors trailed by 14 points entering the fourth quarter, but they scored the final 17 points of the game.
Hawaii forced six turnovers, picking up its first win over a ranked opponent since 2010. The Rainbow Warriors were without starting quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, who was listed as the starter on the depth chart but did not play. Freshman Brayden Schager made his first career start, completing just 11 of 27 attempts for 116 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Dae Dae Hunter carried the load, rushing 21 times for 127 yards. Hawaii ranks No. 54 offensively, averaging 417.5 yards per game. Cordeiro is listed as probable with a shoulder injury. He will be facing a Nevada defense that is No. 65, allowing 374.2 yards per game.
Nevada looking for another strong performance at homeNevada comes into this game with a 4-1 record, including a 1-0 mark in conference play. The Wolf Pack opened the season with a 22-17 win at Cal and followed it up with a 49-10 win against Idaho State. Their lone loss came in Week 3, where they were no match for Kansas State in a 38-17 setback. They bounced back with a 41-31 win at Boise State and then blew out New Mexico State in a 55-28 final last week. Nevada has an important game at Fresno State on deck. Quarterback Carson Strong threw a career-high six touchdown passes against New Mexico State, including four in the second quarter.
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Strong leads an offense that ranks No. 36, averaging 442.8 yards per game. He has completed 69.3% of his passes and has a 14-to-3 TD-to-INT ratio. The Wolf Pack really spread the ball around, with four receivers totaling at least 200 yards so far this season. They are led by Romeo Doubs, who has caught 22 passes for 304 yards and a touchdown. Running back Toa Taua has carried the ball 44 times for 307 yards, averaging a ridiculous 7.0 yards per carry. Hawaii’s defense might have recorded six turnovers last week, but it has not been good this season. The Rainbow Warriors are No. 105, allowing 437.3 yards per game.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
This is an excellent spot to fade a Hawaii team whose win against Fresno State was misleading. The Rainbow Warriors got lucky by forcing six turnovers, because their offense was unable to move the ball for most of the game. They are going to struggle against a solid Nevada defense on Saturday night. Hawaii is also one of the toughest places to travel to in college football, which works the same way when the Rainbow Warriors have to travel to the mainland. Nevada has been an excellent team this season and should win this game comfortably.
Full-Game Total Pick
Hawaii was forced to start its backup quarterback its last time out due to Cordeiro’s injury. He is expected to play on Saturday night, but the shoulder injury is certainly a concern. If he is unable to pose a downfield threat to Nevada’s defense, the Wolf Pack are going to give Hawaii a difficult time. Nevada has a balanced offensive attack that scores at a leisurely pace, which is going to help keep this game under a high total. I do not love backing the under when I am also on a large favorite to cover, but I think that it is the right play in this game.