Fresno State Bulldogs vs. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Picks and Game Preview - 10/02/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 11 p.m. ET, Oct. 2, 2021
Venue: Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex, Honolulu, HI
Where to watch: CBS Sports Network

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Fresno State -10; O/U 61.5; Fresno State -400, Hawaii +300
BetMGM: Fresno State -10.5; O/U 61.5; Fresno State -385, Hawaii +300
Caesars: Fresno State -10; O/U 62.5; Fresno State -400, Hawaii +310

Season record
No. 18 Fresno State: 4-1 (1-0 Mountain West)
Hawaii: 2-3 (0-1 Mountain West)

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Fresno State - Hawaii preview and analysis

Recent form
Fresno State: won 38-30 vs. UNLV on Sept. 24
Hawaii: won 41-21 at New Mexico State on Sept. 25

You can't stop the Fresno State Bulldogs. You can only hope to contain them.

And they were contained for a good part in the first half, until the Bulldogs realized they were facing the UNLV Rebels.

In a blink of an eye, Fresno State roared back and defeated UNLV by eight points. Although they didn't come anywhere close to covering, the Bulldogs are now 4-1 and bumped up to No. 18 in the country.

Now the Bulldogs, who have not lost since Week 1 against the Oregon Ducks, will try to push their winning streak to five games when they travel to Honolulu to face the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors on Saturday.

We will not be spending this time throwing any shade or slander on UNLV this day. The Rebels had a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and appeared to finally win an actual game in the Marcus Arroyo era. Then, Jake Haener turned up the gas. Haener finished the game going 30 of 42 for 378 yards and five touchdowns, four of them in the second half, and rallied Fresno State from down 12 in the second half for their fourth straight win.

Talk about Heisman candidacy, Haener has shown that he's not just a system quarterback in the Fresno State realm. He's leading an offense that's averaging 522.4 yards per game and Haener is averaging 397.6 YPG through the air for this team that seems to be on the fast track to winning a Mountain West Championship and being a legit threat come January.

And it's not just the offense that's running on all cylinders. Fresno State's defense has allowed only 313.4 yards per game, and the pass defense has not faltered by allowing just under 205 per contest.

Which means this is going to be a very interesting matchup to see where the Fresno State secondary matches up for the rest of the season. The Bulldogs are taking on a Hawaii team that has a fun passing attack of its own. Quarterback Chevan Cordeiro has nearly 1,500 yards over the course of the first five games.

But after that, it's a steep dropoff. Hawaii isn't a strong running team outside of running back Dae Dae Hunter. And if you take out Nick Mardner and Calvin Turner Jr., there's not much going on with the Hawaii offense and that becomes problematic to carry a defense that has given up a ton of points.

Hawaii had a strong outing at home against the San Jose State Spartans two weeks ago despite the loss, but rebounded with a 20-point victory against the New Mexico State Aggies this past Saturday. This is an entirely different beast for a middle-of-the-run Hawaii team with a dangerous offense on deck.


I don't want to say Hawaii can't cover because UNLV did that and nearly pulled off one of the biggest upsets in program history. But you'd like to think Fresno State will have a much better outing after letting one almost slip through the cracks. Fresno State by 14

Betting trends

Fresno State is 2-2 against the spread as a road favorite.

Hawaii is 9-8 ATS as an underdog in its last 17.

Players to watch

Fresno State: If you blink, you'll miss Jalen Cropper scoring another touchdown again. He's coming off a 10-reception, 108-yard, four-touchdown performance against UNLV.

Hawaii: Running back Dedrick Parson had 89 yards on only 11 carries and a touchdown against NMSU.

Statistical leaders

Fresno State:
Passing: Jake Haener -- 1,842 yards, 15 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Ronnie Rivers -- 346 yards, 3 TD
Receiving: Jalen Cropper -- 455 yards, 8 TD
Defense: Kevin Atkins -- 4.5 sacks

Passing: Chevan Cordeiro -- 1,410 yards, 7 TD, 6 INT
Rushing: Dae Dae Hunter -- 257 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Nick Mardner - 459 yards, 3 TD
Defense: Jonah Laulu - 3 sacks

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert football picks today. And if you enjoyed this Fresno State - Hawaii prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our daily NCAA projections and previews.

Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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