Hawaii Bowl Pick – December 24th
A Christmas Eve tradition, the Hawaii Bowl should once again be a fantastic game for college football betting fans to sink their teeth into. The Fresno State Bulldogs will take on the SMU Mustangs for the right to claim the last bowl game of the year before Christmas.
The Bulldogs are the heavily favored side in this one, and for good reason. They were one of the hottest teams in the MWC at the end of the campaign, as they won their last five games and covered all five, most of which came with relative easy. This is one of the more dynamic offensive teams in the country as well, as it is one of the few that truly have a fantastic game both through the air and an explosive game on the ground. QB Derek Carr, brother of former Fresno State great, QB David Carr, threw for 3,742 yards and 36 TDs against five picks in the regular season, and some were clamoring for him to get some Heisman love with numbers like that. He hooked up with WR Davante Adams 89 times for 1,168 yards and 13 scores on the campaign. RB Robbie Rouse, probably a future NFL back, rumbled for 1,468 yards and caught 58 passes for 406 yards out of the backfield, totaling 14 TDs. There’s a reason that this team scored 42+ seven times on the campaign. DB Phillip Thomas also led the nation with eight picks for a defense that allowed just 335.8 yards per game.
The Mustangs might seem to be overmatched, but they are going to come to Hawaii with some confidence, as this was the home for Head Coach June Jones for a number of years with the Warriors. This was a 6-6 team and a very average 6-6 team at best this year, and it is a team that many think is the worst in a bowl game this year. QB Garrett Gilbert, a transfer from the Texas Longhorns, threw for 2,720 yards on the campaign, while RB Zach Line had 1,207 yards and 12 trips to the end zone. There really isn’t a heck of a lot to love about this time, though Gilbert is going to get up and go and put the ball in the air 40-50 times if he has to. WR Darius Johnson and WR Jeremy Johnson combined for 123 receptions on the campaign, though there wasn’t a receiver on the team that had more than 11 catches that averaged more than 12.6 yards per reception, and Gilbert only averaged 5.7 yards per pass attempt on the campaign.
Still, this is a lot of points to be giving up in a bowl game. SMU can play with some of the big boys and surprise every now and again, and the team came to play in last year’s BBVA Compass Bowl, blowing out the Pitt Panthers. This won’t be a romp by any stretch of the imagination, and the Bulldogs should prove to be victorious, but we think that it’ll stay within 10 or so. Fresno State 31 – SMU 20