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Memphis vs. Hawaii prediction and pick for Friday's Hawaii Bowl in Honolulu, HI. Mike Spector tells us how he's playing this one. Check it out here
ANALYSIS

Memphis vs. Hawaii Prediction, Pick Against the Spread, and Latest Odds

Memphis Tigers vs. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors - Hawaii Bowl

Spread: Memphis -8.5

Total: 56

Game time: Friday, 8 p.m. ET, Honolulu, HI

Where to watch: ESPN

Memphis vs. Hawaii odds

Memphis vs. Hawaii Prediction

While most bowl games are at neutral sites, the EasyPost Hawai'i Bowl will be a true road game for the Memphis Tigers, who travel to face the Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors. The 6-6 Tigers are looking to cap their season with a winning record, while Hawai'i looks to even their record at 7-7. These two teams have the college football slate all to themselves on Christmas Eve, so let's take a look at the best bet for this enticing bowl game.

After a 3-0 start that included a win over Mississippi State from the SEC, Memphis lost six of their last nine games to end the regular season. Their first three-game losing streak came by a total of 12 points, and four of their six losses were by less than a touchdown. The Tigers ranked 17th in the country with 298.8 passing yards per game and finished 52nd in the FBS in scoring at 30.3 PPG. Memphis appears in a bowl game for the eighth consecutive season and broke a five-game bowl losing streak with last year's 25-10 win over FAU in the Montgomery Bowl.

In their first four games, Hawai'i stumbled out of the gate with three losses, but they played a brutal non-conference schedule early in the season. Their first two losses were to Pac-12 schools (at UCLA, at Oregon State), and just one of their seven losses on the season was by fewer than seven points. However, the Rainbow Warriors enter this game with some momentum, winning their last two games by a combined 88-59. Hawai'i finished 36th in FBS with 262.2 passing yards per game and ranked 64th in the country averaging 28.8 PPG. This is Hawai'i's fourth consecutive bowl appearance, and they are looking to extend their bowl winning streak to three.

As is the new trend with bowl games lately, this game is heavily impacted by players in the transfer portal. Hawai'i quarterback Chevan Cordeiro and running back Dae Dae Hunter opted to transfer from the school before their bowl game, leaving a big void in the Rainbow Warriors offense. Cordeiro threw for 2,793 yards and ran for another 342, amassing 20 total touchdowns. The quarterbacking duties will now be left to Brayden Schager, who had a higher completion percentage than Cordeiro (60.7% to 55.2%) but is not at all a running threat like Cordeiro is. In addition, Schager struggled with turnovers, throwing five interceptions in 107 pass attempts to just two touchdowns.

While Cordeiro's loss will be felt most given how important the quarterback position is, Dae Dae Hunter's loss is impactful nonetheless. He was their leading rusher with 651 yards on the season, and his 6.4 yards per carry also led the team. Now the running back duties lie with Dedrick Parson, who ran for 618 yards this year. Parson is not familiar with being a workhorse back, as he has just one game with more than 11 carries this season.

In some situations, it is a disadvantage for the opponent going against an unfamiliar quarterback, as there is not as much tape by which to scout them. However, Schager has played enough football this year that Memphis will know his tendencies well.

The Tigers allowed 29.3 points per game and an average of 418.0 total yards, which does not make them a necessarily stout defense. However, the Rainbow Warriors are a limited offensive team without two key starters. We are tempted to lay the -7.5 points with Memphis but do not like that they have not covered the spread in any of their last nine road games. Thus, the safer play is the under on Hawai'i's team total, given how out of sorts they will be without Cordeiro and Hunter.

Memphis vs. Hawaii Prediction

  • PICK: Hawai’i Team Total UNDER 23.5 points (-105)

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Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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