2017/2018 Gildan New Mexico Bowl Picks & Preview: Marshall Thundering Herd vs. Colorado State Rams

by | Dec 6, 2017 | NCAA Football

Matchup at a Glance

Where: Dreamstyle Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Date & Time: Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 4:30 PM ET
Spread: Colorado State Rams -5.5
Over/Under Total: 58
Quick Pick: Marshall Thundering Herd +6 (Buy up half point)

Marshall Thundering Herd and Colorado State Rams will square off on Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 4:30 PM ET in the 2017 Gildan New Mexico Bowl.  This game is being played at Dreamstyle Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico and can be watched on ESPN.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl

The Gildan New Mexico Bowl has been around since 2006.  Gildan took over as the premier sponsor of the bowl game back in 2011 and have been ever since.  The conference tie-ins for the Gildan New Mexico Bowl are the Mountain West and the Conference USA.  

This will be the first time playing in the New Mexico Bowl for Marshall but the Rams from Colorado State are not only experienced, they are undefeated in Gildan New Mexico Bowl history.  The Rams are 2-0 in the New Mexico Bowl, winning 40-35 against Fresno State in 2008 and 48-45 in 2013 over Washington State.    

Previous Matchup History

This will be the first time that Marshall and Colorado State have faced off against each other.  There are no previous matchup history for this bowl game.

Marshall Thundering Herd

The Marshall Thundering Herd were 7-5 SU and 8-4 ATS in the regular season.  They played 7 out of 12 games under the posted total and went 3-3 on the road.  The Thundering Herd 5-0 ATS in their last 5 bowl games.  They are also 5-0 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.  Marshall is 19-6-1 ATS in their last 26 non-conference games.  

Marshall comes into this game with losing their last 2 games of the regular season and losers of 4 of their last 5 games overall.  In their last game, the Thundering Herd lost to Southern Miss but had a chance to win the game in the end.  With a little more than 2 minutes remaining in the game, QB Chase Litton led the Thundering Herd down the field on a 6 play drive that led to a 9 yard touchdown pass.  Instead of going for the tie, the Thundering Herd went for the win but came up short on the 2-pt conversion.  

The Thundering Herd are led by QB Chase Litton. Litton has completed 60% of his pass attempts this year for 2853 yards.  Litton has thrown 23 touchdown passes but has had his fair issues with throwing 12 interceptions on the season.  Litton must control those turnovers if the Herd want to win ballgames!  The Herd split backfield duties this year between Keion Davis and Tyler King.  Davis leads the Herd in carries with 161 but King leads the Herd in yardage with 714 yards.  

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Colorado State Rams

The Colorado State Rams were 7-5 SU and 4-8 ATS in the regular season.  The Rams failed to cover the spread in their final 6 games of the year.  They split their games for totals this year, playing 6 over and 6 under the posted total.  The Rams have gone 16-6-1 ATS in their last 23 non-conference games and are just 2-5 ATS in their last 7 bowl appearances.  

The Rams won their final game of the year over San Jose State but were losers of 3 of their last 4 games.  In the game with San Jose State, QB Nick Stevens passed for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns and led the Rams to a 42-14.   

Stevens has completed nearly 64% of his pass attempts this year and has thrown for 3479 yards.  Stevens has compiled 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on the year. RB Dalyn Dawkins is the Rams leading back, rushing 216 times this year for 1349 yards.  Dawkins has 8 touchdowns on the year, which ties him with Izzy Matthews for the touchdown lead for running backs. Matthews carried the ball nearly half the amount of times (122 carries) and posted 583 yards with 8 TD’s.   

Gildan New Mexico Bowl Handicapping

If you look at all of Colorado State’s losses this year, they really struggled with stopping the run.  In the Alabama game, they gave up 239 yards rushing.  In the Air Force game, they gave up 421 yards. In the Wyoming game they gave up 162 yards and in the Boise State loss, they gave up 310 yards on the ground. There is no way they can give up that amount of rushing yardage in a game and expect to win.  

That will mean that the Thundering Herd backfield should be fairly busy as they will look to expose this front line of the Rams and rack up the yardage.  We expect to see a significant amount of running plays in the first half for the Thundering Herd, which is a complete opposite of what they normally utilize in their gameplans but that will open up the passing game in the second half as the Rams try to stack the box to stop the run.  If Marshall gets this running game going, it could be a long night for the Rams.  

Spooky’s Selection

Our system tells us that the Herd should keep this game close and should be the pick here. Bookmaker has the odds on this game at Colorado State -5.5 and the total set at 85.  We recommend that you buy up the half point and bet this game at Bookmaker on Marshall +6.  That being said, don’t be afraid to move up to +7 in this game on the Thundering Herd.        

Spooky Express Pick: Marshall +6 (Buy up half point)

Note: This bowl game is being handicapped and broken down weeks in advance of the game being played.  Please be sure to check back periodically to determine if any changes have been made and be sure to check the day of the game, to receive and over/under plays that we may provide.

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