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Posted at 10:45 AM EST
SoFi Hawaii Bowl
Saturday, December 22nd - Aloha Stadium – Honolulu, HI
HAWAII +108 over Louisiana Tech
10:30 PM EST. If there was a team this bowl season that had a true home field advantage, it would be the Rainbow Warriors of Hawaii who will be playing this contest on their own turf. The Rainbow Warriors will get an abundance of local support compared to LA Tech, who are tasked with flying eight hours to travel 4,000-plus miles, the farthest any bowl team has to travel, to play a game they likely were never to enthused to qualify for to begin with. After all, the Bulldogs have played the likes of SMU, Navy, Arkansas State, Illinois, and TCU in their previous five bowls and this is without question a step down in class. This is not some prestigious Bowl game for Tech, instead there could be a lack of motivation and plenty of distractions that come with a trip to this beautiful island.
Louisiana Tech’s reputation as a perennial Conference USA power combined with their bowl pedigree make them an appealing proposition here. The Bulldogs have qualified on an annual basis dating back to 2014 where they have won in every bowl they have appeared in since. Last year in particular was Tech’s most impressive effort under the Skip Holtz regime, as the Bulldogs absolutely ravaged SMU in the Frisco Bowl by a 51-10 score, a game that coincidentally Louisiana Tech closed as a 3.5-point underdog. Skip Holtz is a perfect 4-0 in bowl games at Louisiana Tech -- winning those four games by an average of 20.5 points. That’s nice but Tech is really not that strong a team. They lost three of its last four overall and thus “backed their way” into this bowl game. Louisiana Tech’s best win this season was on September 29th when they defeated North Texas on its own soil as a seven-point underdog but that result seems like ancient history compared to how the Bulldogs rounded off their season, as they haven’t won a game against a bowl-eligible team since that fateful day in September. They even lost by 15 to Western Kentucky to close out the year.
Hawaii not only played a tougher schedule than Tech, they also had a better record, as Tech finished 7-5 while the Alohas finished with eight wins. Hawaii pulled an outright upset of a Navy team that was favored to beat them by 13½-points on their own soil. The Rainbow Warriors also beat Colorado State and San Diego State, lost to Army by just seven and played a slew of very difficult opponents like Fresno State, Utah State, and BYU among others.
You may read or hear the pundits suggesting that Tech features a better defense, as Hawaii allowed some crooked numbers to some teams this year but again, one must consider the strength of the opposition. Hawaii was up against some offensive juggernauts week after week while Tech played marshmallow after marshmallow the entire season, outside of a game against LSU, where the ‘Dogs were buried, 38-17. Tech’s defensive numbers are skewed and frankly, we’re a little surprised that the Warriors will come into this game as a small dog when they should be favored.
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HAWAII +108 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.16)