Hawaii at San Jose State Predictions and College Football Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 10/12/2011
Hawaii Warriors at San Jose State Spartans
Friday, Oct. 14, 9 p.m. ET
ESPN must be less than thrilled with this game. After a few good games in a row on Friday nights they have one that, on the surface at least, isn’t the most compelling pairing ever. These two teams are a long way from relevant nationally, and at least one won’t be a big factor in their own conference.
Hawaii was a national story back when Colt Brennan was taking snaps and June Jones was drawing up plays, but both guys are long gone by now. Despite the lack of marquee appeal, though, there’s a good chance that this one will be interesting because both teams are a heck of a lot better at scoring points than they are at keeping their opponents out of the endzone.
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This is the homecoming game for San Jose State. Headline writers everywhere will have a field day with that given that 73-year-old former San Jose State Head Coach Dick Tomey — the guy who brought the program out of a deep hole — has come out of retirement to coach special teams for the Warriors.
Tomey only left San Jose State after the 2009 season, so he knows the juniors and seniors well and will have a unique insight into their capabilities. That familiarity will give Hawaii an edge,, though i would be more significant if the two conference mates didn’t play every year.
The travel can often be a factor for Hawaii, but it shouldn’t be here. The trip is relatively short for them. They had a week off last week so they won’t be fatigued, and this will be their fourth trip off the island in five games, so by now they are used to it.
Hawaii at San Jose State Betting Storylines
When you think of Hawaii over the years you probably think of quarterbacks who can really sling it — guys like Brennan and Timmy Chang. Senior Bryant Moniz might not quite be at that level, but he certainly has some game.
Moniz passed for more than 5,000 yards last year, and while he’s off that pace this year — 1,578 yards in 5 games — he has completed 65 percent of his passes and has 15 touchdowns and just one interception. Eleven of those scores have come in the last two games, including an incredible record-setting performance against UC Davis two games back in which he had seven touchdown passes in the first half.
In short, the guy can play, and he’s in fine form right now. It’s reasonable to be optimistic about his chances here — he’ll face a San Jose State defense that is ranked just 92nd overall and which just lost their best cornerback, senior Brandon Driver, for the season due to injury.
Driver isn’t the only player with injury concerns for the Spartans. Their running back position has been hit so hard by injuries that it’s almost comical at this point. Three guys have gone down to injury, with one lost for the season and two likely limited or out for this game.
That puts the pressure on the shoulders of freshman Tyler Ervin, who would be making his first start. Senior starter Brandon Rutley averaged more than 100 yards a game before being injured before last game. He has been practicing but without contact, so his presence is uncertain.
San Jose State’s offense is anemic at the best of times, but the running is better than the passing, so they need to have a running game in good shape if they want to be able to compete with Moniz and the Warriors. Hawaii has a Top-20 pass defense, so this is an area of obvious concern for the Spartans.
Hawaii at San Jose State Betting Odds and Trends
There is some very interesting line movement here. The Warriors opened as seven point favorites, according to college football odds, and more than 80 percent of bets have been on them. Despite that, though, the line has dropped and can be found as low as six in many places.
When the line moves against one-sided action like that, it’s a pretty clear sign that smart money is on the opposite side of the public, and that they are betting actively.
Hawaii is 9-1 ATS in their last 10 conference games. The WAC has been far less kind to San Jose State — they are just 5-18 ATS in their last 23 conference contests. In the last 10 annual meetings between the squads Hawaii has nine wins, but has only covered the spread five times. They have covered the last two games.
Hawaii at San Jose State Predictions and College Football Picks
I always take note when the line moves like this, but I just can’t back the Spartans despite that.
Hawaii is playing with a lot of confidence after their last two big wins, and they have a very potent weapon at quarterback. They are the best team in conference, though that’s not that impressive in the lousy WAC this year.
San Jose State is going to struggle to contain the passing game of Hawaii, and they are really going to struggle to keep up offensively. Hawaii should be able to get out to a hot start and maintain their lead.
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