Hawaii vs Middle Tennessee Hawaii Bowl Betting Pick & Prediction

Posted by Peter Boysen on December 22, 2016 in

Hawaii (6-7) is one of the few teams with a losing record to qualify for a bowl, but to be fair, their first two games of the year were against Cal and Michigan, significantly better competition than what they face in conference play. They knocked off Fresno State and UMass in the last two games to earn bowl eligibility. Middle Tennessee State (8-4) took third place in the East of Conference USA, beating Charlotte and Florida Atlantic to finish out their season. The only other time these teams have played was also in Honolulu, way back in 1993. The Rainbow Warriors prevailed in a 35-14 whipping. Take a look at our prediction for this bowl game as well as the rest of our college football betting picks for the rest of the bowl games.

Hawaii vs Middle Tennessee Hawaii Bowl Betting Pick & Prediction

When: Saturday, December 24, 2016, 8:00pm ET
Where: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI
TV: ESPN
Radio: Hawaii / Middle Tennessee
Live Stream: WatchESPN
NCAA Foobtall Odds: TBA

Why should you bet on the Blue Raiders?

Quarterback John Urzua has played decently (60% completion percentage, 8 touchdown passes but also 8 interceptions) filling in for the injured Brent Stockstill (collarbone). They will rely heavily on tailback I’Tavius Mathers, who has picked up 1,504 yards on just 220 attempts, finding the end zone 16 times. When Urzua has to drop back and pass, he will be looking for leading receiver Richie James, who hauled in 97 passes for 1,463 yards and 11 scores on the season. While neither defense has distinguished itself this year, the MTSU defense has done a better job of limiting opponents than Hawaii has. However, the Rainbow Warriors have a mammoth running offense that will give the Blue Raiders all they can handle.

Why should you put your money on the Rainbow Warriors?

While quarterback Dru Brown does boast a 62 percent completion rate for the season, the Hawaii offense thrives on the run. Steven Lakalaka has scored 12 touchdowns to lead the team, while Diocemy Saint Juste led the team in yardage with 836. Paul Harris is the third back, who leads the team in average, as he has gained 537 yards on just 77 attempts. Those three backs, combined with a solid offensive line, gives Hawaii a real edge in this game. There is also, of course, the fact that Hawaii isn’t the team traveling to a tropical paradise on Christmas Eve — they don’t have nearly the distractions that Middle Tennessee State will face in game preparation.

Betting Pick and Final Score Prediction

I like the season that Middle Tennessee State put together this year, but I don’t see them surviving the onslaught from the Hawaii running back. Neither team plays much defense, so I see this turning into a bit of a track meet. I predict a final score of Hawaii 44, Middle Tennessee State 34.