It’s the Hawaii Bowl and we will see the Fresno State Bulldogs take on the Rice Owls at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. The game has a start time of 8:00 pm (Eastern) and will be televised on ESPN. Current Vegas odds have the Owls listed as 2.5 point favorites, while the total is set at 59.5.
Analysis: The Fresno State Bulldogs come in with a 6-7 record on the year. Normally a sub .500 team doesn't get to a bowl, but this team did win the West division of the MWC and that was enough to get them a bowl invite. The Bulldogs are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games overall, but just 17-40-2 ATS in their last 59 games following a S.U. loss and 0-5 ATS in their last 5 bowl games. The Over is 5-0-1 in Fresno State's last 6 non-conference games, while the Under is 4-0 in their last 4 vs. Conference USA. Fresno State has been an average offensive squad, ranking 56th in total yards, 58th in passing, 45th in rushing and 73rd in scoring (28.1 ppg). The Bulldog defense has not been good at all, ranking 111th in yards allowed, 96th vs the pass, 105th vs the run and 101st in points allowed (32.6 ppg).
The Rice Owls had an up and down year, as they started 0-3, then went on a 6 game run before finishing up the year 1-2 in their final 3 games. Overall the Owls went 7-5, which includes a 5-3 Conference USA mark. The Owls are 10-1 ATS vs. a team with a losing record and 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. MWC, but just 2-5-1 ATS in their last 8 games after accumulating less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game. The Under is 5-1 in Rice's last 6 neutral site games, while the Over is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings between these teams. Rice has been a very average offensive team this year, ranking 73rd in total yards, 71st in passing, 58th in rushing and 68th in scoring (28.7 ppg). The defense for this team has not been great, ranking 65th in yards allowed, 93rd vs the pass, 47th vs the run and 91st in points allowed.
Pick: I will look to the Over in this game. Both teams have allowed 30+ ppg on the year and these offenses are more than capable of taking advantage of bad defenses. The defenses for these teams have been much worse vs bowl teams this year, as the Owls have allowed 43 ppg vs them, while the Bulldogs have allowed 38 ppg vs them on the year. Neither team has scored a bunch vs Bowl team, but in this one I do expect the offenses to get the better of the defenses. For the year Fresno comes in averaging 28.1 ppg, while Rice put up 28.7 ppg. I can see this as a 34-31 type game.
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