The Colorado State Rams will take on the Marshall Thundering Herd in the 2017 Gildan New Mexico Bowl. Kickoff is set for 4:30 EST on Saturday, December 16th. The game will be played in Albuquerque at Dreamstyle Stadium. It will be televised on ESPN.

Oddsmakers currently have the Rams listed as a 5.5-point favorite with the total set at 58 points. Check out our NCAAF bowl odds page for a full betting schedule and links to more previews. You can also click here for our expert bowl predictions on who will each matchup straight up.

Marshall vs Colorado State Vegas Game Odds & Betting Preview

The Thundering Herd finished up the season at 7-5 and posted a 4-4 record in C-USA (T-3rd in East). It was a nice bounce back year for Marshall, who had gone just 3-9 last season. It started off great for the Herd, who opened 6-1, but they couldn’t keep the momentum going. Marshall went just 1-4 over their last 5 games. The Herd were also 6-1 ATS in their first 7 games and finished the year 8-4 against the number.

The Rams also finished up the year at 7-5. They went 5-3 in the MWC and T-2nd in the Mountain Division, but that was considered a disappointment. Many thought with Colorado State getting to host Boise State and all that talent coming back, they were going to contend for the MWC title. The Rams got off to a strong 6-2 start, with a 4-0 record in league play, but then lost 3 straight, before righting the ship in the final game against San Jose State. Colorado State went just 4-8 ATS, which isn’t a big surprise seeing how they didn’t live up to their preseason hype,

2017 New Mexico Bowl Free Pick & Betting Predictions: Colorado St -5.5

As of right now I would have to lean towards laying the points with Colorado State in this one. A big reason for that is the injury situation for Marshall. There are several key players on both sides of the ball who are listed on the injury report. That includes two of the top secondary players in Malik Gant and Chris Jackson. Gant is second on the team in tackles and Jackson is 4th, plus he has a team-high 3 interceptions. You also have starting left tackle Sandley Jean-Felix and top wide out Tyre Brady also listed. However, all of the reasons for why these players are questionable are currently undisclosed, so it’s hard saying who will and won’t play.

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If any of these injuries are serious, it certainly won’t help matters that Marshall has to play on the first day of bowl games. Another factor here outside of the matchup is the location of this game. The Thundering Herd haven’t played in the Mountain Time Zone since they traveled to UTEP back in 2009. It’s the furthest west they have ever traveled for a bowl game in their program history. On the flip side of this, Colorado State isn’t all that far from New Mexico. I think that’s a big edge for the Rams, plus you have to think their will be a lot more CSU fans in the stands.

Colorado State will be playing in a bowl game for the fifth straight year, but have lost each of their last 3 trips. I think there’s going to be a little extra focus with this veteran team, led by senior QB Nick Stevens to make sure they don’t end the careers having gone 0-4 in bowl games.

If Marshall ends up not having Gant or Jackson, that’s really going to make it tough on them defensively, as the Rams have a potent passing attack. Stevens completed 64% of his attempts for 3,479 yards with 27 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions. Colorado State also has a decent ground game, led by Dalyn Dawkins, who enters with 1,349 yards and 8 scores (6.2 yards/carry).

Even if both Gant and Jackson play, chances are the Rams offense is going to be able to put up some points. I just question whether Marshall can keep pace. The Herd had a number of games where they offense couldn’t get anything going and a big reason for that is they have no running game. Marshall was 104th in the country, averaging just 132 ypg on the ground. That really makes it tough on the offense, as they get a lot more 3rd and long situations. I really think they need Brady to even have a chance here and it’s not guarantee if he does play they will do anything. This is a team that scored just 14 points against Charlotte. Give me Colorado State -5.5.