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NCAAF

Dec 23, 2021

Hawaii Bowl Picks, Predictions and Odds: Memphis vs. Hawaii

Dec. 24, 2021
Jonathan Willis
VI Betting Expert
VegasInsider.com

Christmas Eve will be spent in Hawaii as the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors will take on the Memphis Tigers for the Hawaii Bowl. The Green Christmas showdown is set for 8:00 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN from the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Score Prediction

Memphis 31, Hawaii 28

Best Bets

Hawaii +8.5 (-110) at DraftKings

Hawaii Bowl Predictions

The Hawaii Bowl is back after it was cancelled due to COVID last year. The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors will play in this game for the 10th time, and they will face a team making their debut appearance in the Memphis Tigers. Hawaii beat BYU in the most recent Hawaii Bowl, but Memphis is a sizeable favorite on Christmas Eve.

Memphis is making its eighth straight bowl appearance. The Tigers have lost five of their last six bowl games, but they did hammer Florida Atlantic in the Montgomery Bowl last season. This is a bowl game that has been full of upsets, so don’t be surprised if Hawaii toppled Memphis on the island.

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Hawaii Bowl Betting Odds

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Hawaii Bowl Betting Resources

  • Matchup: AAC vs. Mountain West
  • Date: Friday, December 24, 2021
  • Venue: Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex
  • Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
  • TV-Time: ESPN, 8:00 p.m. ET

Memphis Tigers Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 6-6
  • ATS: 4-8
  • O/U: 4-7-1

Seth Henigan had a very good freshman season for Memphis. Henigan completed less than 60% of his passes, but he threw for over 3,300 yards (8.5 YPA) with 25 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He was elite in the season finale against Tulane, yet he won’t have his best weapon for the bowl game.

Standout receiver Calvin Austin III will not play in this game as he is entering the 2022 NFL Draft. Memphis will miss his explosiveness as a receiver and a returner, and the top target for Henigan will likely be tight end Sean Dykes now. Dykes has 48 receptions for 657 yards and seven touchdowns on the year, and the only other receivers with more than 20 receptions are Eddie Lewis and Javon Ivory.

Brandon Thomas is the leading rusher on the Tigers, but he is doubtful to play in the Hawaii Bowl. Thomas has only recorded four carries since Memphis’ loss to UCF in mid-October, and he is not listed on the team’s depth chart. Rodrigues Clark will be the starting running back, but he has averaged 2.7 YPC or less in three of his last four games.

Memphis ranks 79th in Defensive SP+. The Tigers rank in the bottom five nationally in third-down defense though, and they have been unable to turn opponents over in 2021. Linebacker J.J. Russell led the Tigers in tackles and was a First Team All-AAC selection.

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 6-7
  • ATS: 5-7-1
  • O/U: 6-7

Sophomore quarterback Chevan Cordeiro hasn’t been particularly accurate and has been somewhat turnover prone this season. Cordeiro is completing just 55.2% of his passes and has thrown 11 interceptions, but he has been able to complete deep passes. He has averaged 8.0 YPA or more in each of his last three starts.

Nick Mardner has been one of the most explosive receivers in the country this season. Mardner is averaging 19.8 YPR for Hawaii, and he is 87 receiving yards away from cracking 1,000 on the year.

Running back Calvin Turner Jr. has been the Swiss Army Knife for this offense with 73 receptions for 876 yards and four touchdowns and 73 carries for 316 yards and eight touchdowns. Dae Dae Hunter is the leading rusher and is averaging 6.4 YPC, and Dedrick Parson is averaging 5.3 YPC with eight touchdowns.

Hawaii’s defense ranks 96th in SP+. The Rainbow Warriors rank 105th in total defense and are in the bottom ten in pass defense though. That has led to this defense looking to create havoc plays with linebacker Darius Muasau leading the team with 108 tackles, seven sacks, and five forced fumbles. Safety Khoury Bethley has five interceptions, and Cortez Davis leads the team with 18 passes defensed.

Inside the Stats - Memphis Tigers

  • Record: 6-6
  • VI Ranking: 82
  • Points Scored: 361
  • Points Allowed: 351
  • PS/G: 30.1 (52nd)
  • PA/G: 29.2 (90th)

Inside the Stats - Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

  • Record: 6-7
  • VI Ranking: 84
  • Points Scored: 374
  • Points Allowed: 408
  • PS/G: 28.8 (64th)
  • PA/G: 31.4 (98th)

Key Players to Watch

  • MEM: Seth Henigan - QB (235/393, 3,322 yards, 25 TD, 8 INT)
  • MEM: Brandon Thomas - RB (116 carries, 669 yards, 8 TD)
  • HAW: Chevan Cordeiro - QB (195/353, 2,793 yards, 17 TD, 11 INT)
  • HAW: Dedrick Parson - RB (117 carries, 618 yards, 8 TD)

Hawaii Bowl Betting Conclusion

This is a winnable game for Hawaii. The Tigers will likely be without their leading rusher and leading receiver, and they might not be fully focused on the island. The Rainbow Warriors are only three points worse than the Tigers per SP+, and they will be playing at home.

Hawaii Bowl Betting Trends

  • Hawaii has covered the spread in two straight games.
  • Memphis has failed to cover the spread in eight of its last 12 games.
  • Memphis has failed to cover the spread in five straight games away from Memphis.
  • Memphis has failed to cover the spread in five of its last seven games when playing as the favorite.


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