'Over' Looks Golden When Hawaii Hosts Louisiana Tech In Honolulu

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 9:18 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018 9:18 PM UTC

Get the latest college football picks on the Hawaii Bowl. The game from Honolulu, Hawaii is Saturday, December 22, at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. Bet confidently with tips from SBRpicks.com.

Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii (8-5 SU, 5-7-1 ATS) vs. Louisiana Tech (7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS)Saturday, Dec. 22, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HawaiiFree NCAAF Pick: OverBest Line Offered: 5Dimes

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The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors are going bowling for the second time in three years under head coach Nick Rolovich; they won the 2016 Hawaii Bowl, beating Middle Tennessee 52-35 as 7.5-point underdogs. The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs are in their sixth year under head coach Skip Holtz, with an impressive 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS record in bowl games over the past four seasons. Hawaii are 1-point favorites at press time after opening at –1.5, while the total has risen from 57.5 to 60.

How They Got Here

Hawaii doesn't always play in the Hawaii Bowl, but they do get an automatic bid if they’re bowl eligible and not headed to a New Year’s Six game. That’s the case this year after the Warriors finished third in the MWC West Division. The Bulldogs also finished third in the C-USA West Division, dropping three of their last four games and ending the regular season with a 30-15 loss to Western Kentucky (+10.5 away).

Why Hawaii Can Win/Cover

Playing at Aloha Stadium is clearly a good thing for the Warriors. Not a great thing, mind you; ESPN’s Brad Edwards and Seth Walder ran the numbers last year and found Hawaii performed minus-2.31 Points Above Expectation at home. That’s still within the 3-4 points we traditionally assign home teams in college football betting. As for the Hawaii Bowl, the Warriors are 3-3 SU and ATS at their signature game.

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#808Represent 🤙🏽 Kailua-Kona’s @johnursua5 & Mililani’s @mana_boyy earn All-@MountainWest honors • #HawaiiFB HC @NickRolovich explains the significance of the Homegrown Warriors for @HawaiiFootball #DefendPrideRock #Hawaii pic.twitter.com/iblTvwB7s1

— Rob DeMello (@RobDeMelloKHON) November 28, 2018
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Neither of these two teams is particularly good this year, but the Warriors definitely have the edge on offense, with a smaller advantage in special teams. Rolovich is continuing the run-and-shoot tradition that June Jones established during his successful run from 1999 to 2007 – Rolovich was Hawaii’s starting quarterback in 2001. QB Cole McDonald (35 TDs, eight INTs) has made the most of this opportunity, but don’t overlook RB Dayton Furuta (5.0 yards per carry) and RB Fred Holly III (4.2 YPC).

Why Louisiana Tech Can Win/Cover

The Bulldogs are the better team on paper, with easily the better defense of the two teams in question. And they’re projected to beat the Warriors by the slightest of margins; ESPN’s Power Football Index likes Louisiana Tech to win the Hawaii Bowl 51.9 percent of the time, or somewhere between a half-point and a point better on the point spread.

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.@LATechFB head coach Skip Holtz has absolutely nothing but praise for standout DE Jaylon Ferguson. #EverLoyalBe pic.twitter.com/fUsjdeJgr9

— Stadium (@WatchStadium) October 4, 2018
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Holtz’ defense also happens to be well-suited to stop Hawaii’s attack. Louisiana Tech is No. 49 in the FBS versus the pass, according to the S&P+ Ratings at Football Outsiders. That’s pretty good for a Conference USA team. The Warriors offense ranks No. 37 through the air, so if the Bulldogs can slow this machine down, they’ll get the chance to punish Hawaii’s brutally bad defense (No. 118 out of 130 teams).

Common Opponent/Series History

Both teams played Rice in 2018; Hawaii won 43-29 as 17-point home faves in Week 2, while Louisiana Tech (–24 at home) prevailed 28-13 in Week 11. The Warriors and Bulldogs were fellow members of the WAC before the conference dropped football, with Hawaii holding the series lead 8-2 SU and 7-3 ATS.

Final Verdict

The point spread for the Hawaii Bowl is super-tight. The projections don’t leave much betting value on either side, but there could be value in the OVER, even after that line move to 60 points. The OVER is 11-3 when Hawaii plays at home in December. Weather-wise, the long-range forecast looks pretty good for Honolulu, so it’ll be up to the Bulldogs defense to spoil this party. And if they do, Louisiana Tech will get more playing time against Hawaii’s horrible defense.

Check Out Hawaii Bowl History and Betting Trends
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