As NFL betting season slows in the final weeks of 2018 with a lot of meaningless/unplayable games, we get college bowl games to wager upon. However, the bowl season is one our favorite times of the football year to wager, as time allows just enough research to make things, as they say, interesting.
One of NFLbets’ perpetual favorites in the annual run of games is the Hawai’i Bowl, though we admit to some jealousy at these young whippersnappers getting to hang out in America’s most beautiful state and play football. We also insist that the name should be the Banana, Coconut or Pineapple Bowl (the latter of which was the 50th state’s bowl game for eight years in the 1940s and 50s). Come on, Idaho has the Potato Bowl and Arizona has the Cactus Bowl and – what’s that? The “Cheez-it” Bowl? Are you f*#&&@ing serious?
In any case, let’s talk
The Hawai’i Bowl – Saturday, December 22
Hawai’i -1 vs Louisiana Tech, over/under 61
The Hawai’i Bowl is traditionally a match of high-flying offensive attacks, and invites to this bowl are certainly geared that way, with a Mountain West team facing some high-scorer from the east. (Hey, compared to Hawai’i , everything is east.) Should the team not advance through the MWC into the Las Vegas Bowl or something similar, the home University of Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors are a default choice for this game. The ’Warriors are 4-3 SU in the 16-game Hawai’i Bowl history but haven’t appeared since ’10.
Did NFLbets say “high-scoring”? Check out these numbers: Ten of the 16 Hawai’i Bowls have seen 61 or more points scored – and last year’s score was Fresno State 33, Houston 27, for 60). All seven appearances in the Hawai’i Bowl have produced results of over 61. And the 2018 team is reminiscent of past Rainbow Warrior squads in the passing game, good for 321+ yards per game and the no. 9 ranking in ypg.
In fact, by Hawai’i Bowl standards, the 2018 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs are positively low watt: They’re averaging “just” 24.2 points per game. On the other hand, the Bulldogs do enjoy the passing game, averaging 246.8 ypg passing against a scanty 126.4 running; the latter ranks Tech 113th of 130 FBS teams in the stat.
Compounding the disadvantages for LTU is their current stumbling into the Bowl. The Bulldogs are 1-3 SU/ATS in their last four games; they’re 4-3 SU in away games but haven’t won as the visitor (which they essentially are in this game) since late October at Florida Atlantic. The only team with a winning record Tech has beaten this season are the North Texas Green Eagles, who recently got pummeled in the New Mexico Bowl.
Further, in four games against teams with winning records (LSU, North Texas, Mississippi State and Southern Miss), Louisiana Tech surrendered an average of 32.8 points per to teams averaging 31.8, 34.6, 29.1 and 26.2 respectively; the highest-ranked among these four offenses was UNT at 29th.
On top of this, Tech comes to Hawai’i not having traveled further west than Texas this season. Interestingly enough, travel didn’t seem to be a factor through the 2000s, but in the last five Hawai’i Bowls, the team traveling further west is 1-4 SU/ATS; teams from the Eastern time zone are 3-3 overall.
And yet, Hawai’i is just a 1-point favorite in this game, perhaps due to theirfour-game losing streak of October-November which destroyed a nice 6-1 mark to that point; in four games against western teams (at BYU, vs Nevada, at Fresno State, vs Utah State), the Warriors lost by an average of just under 29 points per game as the running game became next to non-existent. Freshman Miles Reed has steadily been picking up Dayton Furuta’s carries, and Hawai’i righted the ship (?) in winning their final two games by close margins.
So yes, that 1-point spread does make NFLbets a little nervous, but certainly not nervous to avoid betting the game. In fact, thanks to this line essentially making the Hawai’i Bowl a “pick ‘em”, the money line (ML) on Hawai’i may be had at 9/10 or 10/11 at some sportsbooks. NFLbets believes that the Warriors inherent advantages here will win them the game. We’re saying take Hawai’i -1 vs Louisiana Tech in the Hawai’i Bowl, and we’ll add the advice to take the over on an O/U of 61. Hopefully we can enjoy a nice romp.
Until next time, then, aloha!
NFLbets FBS bowl season betting record in 2018-19: 2-0-1.