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Hawaii Bowl Picks & Odds: Rainbow Warriors 2-Point Underdogs Despite Home Field Advantage

Aloha Stadium
Aloha Stadium will give Hawaii a big home field advantage when Hawaii faces BYU but can the Rainbow Warriors take advantage? Photo by NAVFAC / Flickr
  • BYU (7-5) travels to Honolulu to face Hawaii (9-5) in the Hawaii Bowl
  • The Rainbow Warriors beat SDSU this season while the Cougars lost to them their last game
  • WR Cedric Byrd is the most electric player in this bowl game and is expected to build on the 95 receptions and 1,068 yards he put up in the regular season

There’s home field advantage and then there is the Hawaii bowl that’s played between BYU and, well, Hawaii.

Hawaii Bowl Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
BYU Cougars -2 (-110) -125 O 64 (-110)
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors +2 (-110) +105 U 64 (-110)

Odds taken Dec. 17

The Rainbow Warriors have the clearest home-field advantage ever but are still on the board as 2-point underdogs in the Hawaii vs BYU odds. Take the points or take the moneyline, that decision is yours, but whatever you do bet on Hawaii and here’s why.

Common Opponent Provides Valuable Information

Both Hawaii and BYU played San Diego State this year and that helps give some context to the capability of both teams in this game. Earlier this year the Rainbow Warriors won a slugfest against the Aztecs 14-11. The game may have been ugly but Hawaii moved on after collecting the victory.

Last week SDSU met the Cougars and shut them down almost entirely, coming away with a 13-3 win. Neither team was very successful on offense and that could lead you to consider the “Under” here, but I’m choosing to use this as evidence Hawaii may just be the better football team.

Dynamic Duo of McDonald & Byrd Worth Watching

Hawaii has a potent offensive attack thanks to quarterback Cole McDonald and star wide receiver Cedric Byrd. McDonald completed over 64% of his passes this year for 3,642 yards and 29 touchdowns. 10 of those scores were thrown to the electric Byrd who finished third in the country with 95 receptions despite a 5’9″ frame.

Hawaii loves to get the ball out fast and the speedy Byrd allows them to do just that. He had over 1,000 receiving yards this year and I would expect him to see the ball early and often against a BYU team that almost never gets to the quarterback. The Cougars finished the year with only 12 sacks which was more than only Middle Tennessee and Akron.

Hawaii Needs to Win Turnover Battle

One cause for pause when it comes to the Rainbow Warriors? Their penchant for turning the ball over. They had a -14 turnover margin and BYU just so happens to be 6-2 when they win the turnover battle. If Hawaii can hold on to the ball I don’t have any doubt their offense will be able to not only keep pace with BYU but to outscore them and win this home field bowl game straight up.

One last piece of advice to help drive the point home – BYU was 4-8 against the spread this year. Hawaii was only 7-7 but that looks great compared to the underwhelming Cougars.

Pick: Hawaii Moneyline (+105)

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