San Diego State vs. Hawaii Odds, Pick, Preview: Will Aztecs Cover Spread Against Rainbow Warriors? (November 6)
Justin Fine/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: San Diego State football players.
- Hawaii and San Diego State close out Saturday's college football slate.
- The Aztecs are No. 24 in the latest CFP ranking and are a touchdown favorite over the Rainbow Warriors.
- Darin Gardner breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.
San Diego State vs. Hawaii Odds
|San Diego State Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
San Diego State saw its hopes for an undefeated season end last week after a home loss to Fresno State and looks to get back on track on the island on Saturday night.
You could say that the Aztecs saw their luck run out last weekend since they played in three one-score games up to that point and came out on the winning end of all of them.
Considering the fact that Fresno State was a division opponent, San Diego State will need some help to leapfrog the Bulldogs in the West Division race in the Mountain West now that both have one conference loss.
Hawaii, meanwhile, doesn't have to worry about any conference championship race this season. The Rainbow Warriors play in the same division as San Diego State and currently have a 1-3 conference record and sit at 4-5 overall.
Hawaii got 50-burgered last week against Utah State, and unfortunately, a San Diego State team coming off its first loss probably isn't what it needs to see right now.
Does San Diego State get it turned around here and keep its conference title hopes alive?
San Diego State Offense
San Diego State is one of the few ranked teams in the Group of Five, but it's not because of the offense.
The Aztecs' pass game hasn't been able to get much going at all this season and currently ranks 99th in expected points added (EPA) per throw.
They have split time at quarterback between Jordon Brookshire and Lucas Johnson, who they're riding with right now. Neither has been effective, though, with Johnson's 59.7 PFF grade ranking 126th among 147 quarterbacks with at least 100 dropbacks.
The Aztecs ground game has shown some signs of life thanks to a very solid offensive line that ranks ninth in PFF run-blocking grade. Unfortunately for that unit, running back Greg Bell hasn't been great from an elusiveness or tackle-breaking standpoint, but he's still averaging 4.8 yards per carry behind that unit.
San Diego State Defense
Simply put, this defense is loaded. It ranks second in points allowed per drive, and ranks in the top six in both Rushing Success Rate Allowed and Passing Success Rate Allowed.
The secondary and pass rush have both been very effective against opposing aerial attacks, with the Aztecs leading the nation in pressure rate and ranked seventh in PFF coverage grade.
Up front, the top performer on the edge has been Cameron Thomas, who has generated 5.5 sacks, 12 tackles for loss and ranks second in the nation in total pressures. He's not doing it alone by any means, though, considering the Aztecs have four players with three or more sacks.
In the secondary, cornerback Tayler Hawkins has eye-popping coverage stats. His 87.7 coverage grade ranks fifth at the position and he has allowed a total of 103 yards into his coverage this year on 29 targets, per PFF, for just 3.6 yards per attempt on him.
Quarterbacks are currently generating a passer rating of 25.5 when targeting Hawkins, which is a worse number than if they just dropped back and threw it into the stands on every play.
It's safe to say that Hawaii only has one way to consistently move the ball, considering it ranks 120th in EPA per throw.
However, some of that has been influenced by starting quarterback Chevan Cordeiro getting injured, which left backup quarterback Brayden Schager to start in three games.
The difference between the two was very noticeable, with Schager averaging just 5.7 yards per attempt to Cordeiro's 7.6. The passing game wasn't great with Cordeiro, but it became dismal without him.
Hawaii has an uphill battle to get anything going against this San Diego State passing defense, but can it get it done on the ground? It's been better there, but a ranking of 57th in Rushing Success Rate isn't scaring a ferocious Aztec front.
The Rainbow Warriors' one explosive player out of the backfield is Dae Dae Hunter, who is questionable for this game. Hunter has missed the past two games and is averaging 7.1 yards per carry, and his 4.95 yards after contact per attempt ranks sixth among running backs with at least 50 carries, per PFF.
The Aztecs passing game hasn't done much this season, but it has an opportunity to get something going against a defense that ranks 103rd in PFF coverage grade and 97th in Passing Success Rate Allowed.
It got picked apart last week against Utah State, allowing 12.7 yards per pass attempt and a whopping 176 yards on seven receptions to receiver Deven Thompkins.
Hawaii hasn't been great against the rush either, where it ranks 75th in terms of Success Rate. Overall, this has been a weak defense, ranking 92nd in points allowed per drive, so we'll see if San Diego State's offense can get something going here after struggling at points this season.
San Diego State vs. Hawaii Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how San Diego State and Hawaii match up statistically:
San Diego State Offense vs. Hawaii Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)
Hawaii Offense vs. San Diego State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams
|Plays per Minute
San Diego State vs. Hawaii Betting Pick
Over the course of this season, I can't remember showing an edge on San Diego State in my projections at any point in time.
I've been lower on the Aztecs than the market all year long, but that isn't the case this week. I'm projecting them at -10 against Hawaii, so the lack of line movement in favor of San Diego State this week has come as a surprise.
I expect this defense to completely dominate against a weak Hawaii offense, and while the Aztecs have struggled to score at times, this Rainbow Warriors defense hasn't proved that it can consistently get stops against anyone.
The market is definitely smarter than I am, but I really think this is a short price here for San Diego State.