Hawaii Bowl Odds
The SMU Mustangs (6-6) and Fresno State Bulldogs (9-3) will lock horns Monday, Dec. 24 at 8:00 PM ET in the Hawaii Bowl, which takes place at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, HI. Oddsmakers have listed Fresno State as an 11.5-point favorite and have set the total at 59.5.
Why Fresno State Covers
The Bulldogs enter the postseason on some kind of roll. They have won each of their last five games and these wins have come by a whopping 25.8 points per game on average.
Fresno State has been an unbelievable investment this season. It is 11-1 against the spread in all games, including a perfect 9-0 against the number when listed as the favorite. It has won these nine by an average score of 46.9 to 19.8.
The Bulldogs have been a better investment than SMU when playing away from home. They are 5-1 against the spread outside Fresno this season while the Mustangs are just 1-4 against the number in games away from home.
SMU upset Tulsa in its regular-season finale to become bowl eligible, but it is on a 3-12 against the spread slide in road/neutral field games following an upset win. They are 0-7 against the spread in the aforementioned situation if they are checking in off an upset win over a conference opponent as an underdog of six points or more.
Fresno State is the superior team on both sides of the football, and this claim is backed up by statistical evidence.
The Bulldogs rank 12th in the nation in scoring with 40.2 points per game while the Mustangs rank 60th with 29.5 points per game. The Bulldogs rank 14th in total offense with 489.2 yards per game while SMU ranks 95th with 366.2 yards per contest.
Fresno State ranks 19th in the country in total defense with 335.8 yards allowed per game while SMU ranks 66th with 400.2 yards allowed per game. The Bulldogs rank 27th in scoring defense with 22.2 points allowed per contest while the Mustangs rank 57th with 27.0 points allowed per game.
It is also worth noting that Fresno State has won the last five meetings in the series with these five wins coming by an average of 21.2 points.
Why SMU Covers
Fresno State has been an awesome investment this season but could be a little overvalued here because of it. Books know the public would much rather side with a nine-win team that has covered the number in all but one of its games.
The Mustangs haven’t been too bad of an investment themselves. They have covered the number in four of their last six and seven of their last 11 games.
SMU has been a strong bowl team in recent years. It rocked Pittsburgh 28-6 as a 3.5-point underdog in last season’s Compass Bowl. You might also recall that it crushed Nevada 45-10 as a 10.5-point dog in the 2009 Hawaii Bowl. It lost its 2010 bowl game to Army but only by two points.
Fresno State, on the other hand, hasn’t been a good investment in bowl games. It is just 1-4 against the spread in its last five bowl games.
It is also worth noting that the Mustangs are 5-1 against the spread in their last six games versus Mountain West Conference opponents.
I have picked Fresno State as the straight up winner of this game. Check out this page for the rest of my bowl predictions. And be sure to check out which team Brandon Lee, Carolina Wins, Vegas Top Cappers, Ryan James, and Jack Jones have picked to win the Hawaii Bowl.