Memphis @ Hawaii +8.5

This year’s Hawai’i Bowl features the Memphis Tigers and the hometown Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. Let’s start with this: it’s a long trip from Tennessee to Hawaii, but for many of these kids Honolulu isn’t such a bad place to spend Christmas. Psychology is a major factor in College bowl games, and Memphis isn’t quite as down about travelling as you might think. Next, with the way Memphis closed out the season they are likely thankful to even make a bowl game. After starting the season 3-0, Memphis found a way to lose six of their final nine games. It was a disappointing year for Memphis who has been a force in the AAC the past few seasons. Hawaii is dealing with its own turmoil right now as it will be playing the bowl game without two major components of its offense: quarterback Chevan Cordeiro and running back Dae Dae Hunter. Both of these players have entered the transfer portal, and will be looking for new schools next season. That leaves quarterbacking duties up to backup Brayden Schager, who performed well through the air this year but lacks the dual threat nature of Cordeiro. The true handicap of this game will depend on how Hawaii’s offense performs. Both defenses are in the bottom half of the nation in total yards allowed and total points allowed per game. You can easily see why Memphis is laying more than a touchdown on the road here, but there is always uncertainty in going up against an unknown quarterback. I think Memphis’ defense is so bad that Hawaii will be able to put up points regardless of who is under center. Seth Henigan has been fine but not spectacular for Memphis, but the Tiger’s strong running game should carve up the Hawaii defense. Give me the over 55.5 in this matchup on Christmas Eve.

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