2018 SoFi Hawaii Bowl Betting Preview: Hawaii Rainbow Warriors vs. La Tech Bulldogs – Dec. 22, 2018

by | Dec 22, 2018 | NCAA Football

Matchup at a Glance

When: Saturday, December 22, 2018 at 10:30 PM

Where: Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii

Point Spread: Hawaii Rainbow Warriors -1

Betting Total: 60

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The 2018 SoFi Hawaii Bowl will take place on Saturday, December 22, 2018 and will feature the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs taking on the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

The 2018 SoFi Hawaii Bowl is being played at the Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii with the kickoff scheduled to take place at 10:30 PM ET on ESPN.

BetAnySports has set the point spread for this game at Hawaii Rainbow Warriors -1 and has set the total for the over/under plays at 60 points.

SoFi Hawaii Bowl History

The Hawaii Bowl is one of the longest-tenured bowls played in the bowl season.  The Hawaii Bowl will be played for the 17th time this year and will feature teams from the Conference USA and the Mountain West.  

The La Tech Bulldogs will represent the Conference USA and Hawaii Rainbow Warriors will represent the Mountain West Conference.  Hawaii was pretty much guaranteed a bowl spot by being bowl eligible due to the “Hawaii Guarantee” which allows the University of Hawaii to play at home whenever they are bowl eligible and not offered to play in a higher level bowl game.  

The following are the previous Hawaii Bowl game history:

  • December 25, 2002 Tulane 36 Hawaiʻi 28
  • December 25, 2003 Hawaiʻi 54 Houston 48  
  • December 24, 2004 Hawaiʻi 59 UAB 40
  • December 24, 2005 Nevada 49 UCF 48  
  • December 24, 2006 Hawaiʻi 41 Arizona State 24
  • December 23, 2007 E. Carolina 41 Boise State 38
  • December 24, 2008 Notre Dame 49 Hawaiʻi 21
  • December 24, 2009 SMU 45 Nevada 10
  • December 24, 2010 Tulsa 62 Hawaiʻi 35
  • December 24, 2011 Southern Miss 24 Nevada 17
  • December 24, 2012 SMU 43 Fresno State 10
  • December 24, 2013 Oregon State 38 Boise State 23
  • December 24, 2014 Rice 30 Fresno State 6
  • December 24, 2015 San Diego State 42 Cincinnati 7
  • December 24, 2016 Hawaiʻi 52 Middle Tennessee 35
  • December 24, 2017 Fresno State 33 Houston 27

 

This is the 8th time that Hawaii has chosen to play in the Hawaii Bowl.  They are 4-3 in their previous 7 Hawaii Bowl games, while this is LA Tech’s first time ever playing in this bowl game.  

Previous Matchups

This will be the 11th time that Hawaii and La Tech have played each other in the history of the two teams.  In the serious matchup, Hawaii has won 8 out of the 10 games SU and 7 out of 10 games ATS. The following is the full results from all 10 of the previous matchups between Hawaii and LA Tech.

  • 11/18/2000 Hawaii 27 LA Tech 10
  • 10/18/2003 Hawaii 44 LA Tech 41
  • 11/06/2004 Hawaii 34 LA Tech 23
  • 10/08/2005 LA Tech 46 Hawaii 14
  • 11/11/2006 Hawaii 61 LA Tech 17
  • 09/08/2007 Hawaii 45 LA Tech 44
  • 10/11/2008 Hawaii 24 LA Tech 14
  • 09/30/2009 LA Tech 27 Hawaii 6
  • 10/02/2010 Hawaii 41 LA Tech 21
  • 10/01/2011 Hawaii 44 LA Tech 26

 

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors are staying home this year and playing in their home state hosted Hawaii Bowl. The Rainbow Warriors ended the regular season with a 8-5 SU and 5-7-1 ATS record.  The Rainbow Warriors played 8 of their 13 games over the posted total and went 5-2 this year at home.

The following is the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors complete schedule from the 2018 College Football Regular Season:

  • Saturday 11/24/18 @ San Diego State W 31-30  
  • Saturday 11/17/18 UNLV W 35-28
  • Saturday 11/03/18 Utah State L 17-56
  • Saturday 10/27/18 @ Fresno State L 20-50
  • Saturday 10/20/18 Nevada L 22-40
  • Saturday 10/13/18 @ Brigham Young L 23-49
  • Saturday 10/06/18 Wyoming W 17-13
  • Saturday 09/29/18 @ San Jose State W 44-41
  • Saturday 09/22/18 Duquesne W 42-21
  • Saturday 09/15/18 @ Army L 21-28
  • Saturday 09/08/18 Rice W 43-29
  • Saturday 09/01/18 Navy W 59-41
  • Saturday 08/25/18 @ Colorado State W 43-34

The Warriors will look to utilize their high powered offense to come out victorious in the Hawaii Bowl. They are averaging 32.1 points per game and like to run up the score in these homefield Hawaii Bowl games, where they’ve scored 50 points or more in 3 of their 4 Hawaii Bowl wins.

Hawaii’s offense is pretty much one dimensional as they are a very pass oriented offense.  They are ranked 9th in the country in passing but 121st in rushing. They are averaging 321.2 yards per game through the air led by QB Cole McDonald.

McDonald threw for 3,790 yards, 35 touchdowns and 8 interceptions on the season. McDonald’s favorite target has been John Ursua. Ursua has caught 89 receptions for 1343 yards and 16 touchdowns.  McDonald spreads the ball out very well, with Cedric Byrd, JoJo Ward, and Marcus Armstrong Brown all having over 500 yards in receiving and a combined 19 touchdowns.

The Warriors don’t have a single running back in the backfield that has carried the ball 100 times this season.  Their leading rusher was Dayton Furuta, who carried the ball 90 times for 450 yards and 2 touchdowns. Their top carrier was Fred Holly, who carried the ball 99 times for 411 yards and 4 touchdowns.  McDonald carried the ball more than all of the running backs, with 124 carries for 370 yards and 4 touchdowns.

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Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

The LA Tech Bulldogs finished the regular season 2 games over .500 at 7-5 SU and were 6-6 ATS on the year.  They were a defensive-oriented team, playing 8 of their 12 games under the posted total.

The following are the results from the LA Tech Bulldogs complete schedule from the 2018 College Football Regular Season:

  • Saturday 11/24/18 Western Kentucky L 15-30
  • Saturday 11/17/18 @ S. Mississippi L 20-21
  • Saturday 11/10/18 Rice W 28-13
  • Saturday 11/03/18 @ Mississippi State L 3-45
  • Friday 10/26/18 @ Florida Atlantic W 21-13
  • Saturday 10/20/18 Texas-El Paso W 31-24
  • Saturday 10/13/18 @ Texas-San Antonio W 31-3
  • Saturday 10/06/18 UAB L 7-28
  • Saturday 09/29/18 @ North Texas W 29-27
  • Saturday 09/22/18 @ Louisiana State L 21-38
  • Saturday 09/08/18 Southern W 54-17
  • Saturday 09/01/18 @ South Alabama W 30-26

 

The LA Tech Bulldogs will be playing in their 18th bowl game overall and their 5th in a row.  The Bulldogs have won all 4 of their previous bowls and will be looking to make it 5 straight when they face the Rainbow Warriors.

The Bulldogs will rely heavily on the defense, which is led by 2018 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year Jaylen Ferguson.  Ferguson has been a record-setting defender for the Bulldogs posting 42.5 sacks in his career and is a complete monster on opposing offenses.

Ferguson leads the country in sacks and if Hawaii doesn’t have an answer for him, it will be a long game for their offense.  Just to put it in perspective, he is one of only 3 players in the last 20 years to record 40 + sacks in his career!

The Bulldogs defense is ranked 55th against the run and 30th against the pass. They are a good quality defense that won’t make it easy for Hawaii to move the ball.

The Bulldogs offense is led by Quarterback J’mar Smith. Smith has completed 57% of his passes for 2,875 yards, 14 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.  He has a talented core group of backfield running backs that make his job easy. The backfield is led by RB Jaqwis Dancy. Dancy has carried the ball 109 times for 610 yards and 9 touchdowns.  

Handicapping Breakdown

This game is one of the harder games to handicap. For starters, both Head Coaches in this game have never lost in the Hawaii Bowl. LA Tech Head Coach Skip Holtz won the 2007 Hawaii Bowl with East Carolina, beating Boise State by the score of 41-38. Hawaii Head Coach Nick Rolovich won in his only appearance in 2016 with Hawaii and a win over Middle Tennessee by the score of 52-35.  

Diggin deeper and looking for an advantage, we find that Hawaii has never lost to LA Tech in Hawaii.  They are 5-0 and that always makes it difficult to play against them knowing they sort of dominate the past history.

The real sticking point for me that has swayed my decision is the Bulldogs defense.  When you look at comparable offenses to Hawaii, like North Texas, you will see that they held the Mean Green and Mason Fine to just 27 points, when they averaged 35 points per game.  This defense is really strong and they get to the QB. Ferguson is going to want to go out with a bang and make a statement in his final collegiate football game.

The system tells us that LA Tech should win by a touchdown.  With the line being Hawaii -1, we suggest you buy up the 1 point.  The reason being, if this game comes down to a close game, you want that extra point, especially if this is a close game and a 2-point conversion could decide the winner or loser of the game.  Don’t risk it, buy that extra 1 point and roll with LA Tech +2

Spooky’s Bowl Pick –  La Tech +2 

Update 12/22/2018 @ 10:31 AM – In the Hawaii Bowl, we will stick to our guns and play La Tech as a 3-Star play.  It's always tough to go into Hawaii and play but we think La Tech is the better football team with more to play for in this bowl.  Check back later on closer to game time to see if we have released a totals play for this game.  

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