- The Bulldogs D stepped up against the best offenses it played this season and are well positioned for a tight spread against Hawaii in Honolulu.
Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii Rainbow Warriors vs. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (+1)
Sat. December 22, 10:30 p.m. ET
Three things to know before betting on Hawaii-Louisiana Tech:
1. The Rainbow Warriors have only played in a bowl other than the Hawaii Bowl once since 2000. Hawaii has gone 4-3 straight up and 3-4 against the spread in seven Hawaii Bowl appearances. This season's team enters at 8-5 SU and 5-7-1 ATS. Playing on its home turf accounts for Hawaii's status as one-point favorites over Louisiana Tech in this one, but Hawaii went 3-4 ATS at home this year and 1-4 ATS as a favorite. Since head coach Nick Rolovich took over before the 2016 season, the Warriors are 13-23 ATS overall and 2-10 ATS as favorites.
2. The Bulldogs went 7-5 this season (6-6 ATS) to earn their bowl bid, and their track record under head coach Skip Holtz suggest they're in a good spot to cover the spread (and therefore win) in the Hawaii Bowl. During Holtz's time as coach, Louisiana Tech is:
- 3-1 against the spread in bowls
- 8-2 ATS in non-home games where the total is between 56.5 and 63 (this game's total is hovering around 60)
- 16-3 ATS vs. defenses allowing at least 200 rushing yards per game (Hawaii allows 207.5),
- 9-0 ATS vs. offenses averaging no more than 120 rushing yards per game (Hawaii averages 113.5).
3. Hawaii's run-and-shoot offense has served it well this season (32.1 PPG, 42nd in FBS), and is certainly fun to watch. But the Warriors attack has been less potent when facing strong defenses. Against Wyoming, BYU, Fresno State, Utah State and San Diego State—the best defenses Hawaii has faced—the Warriors went 2-3 and scored only 21.6 points per game. Louisiana Tech's defense is perfectly built to slow down Hawaii's pass-happy offense. It has allowed only 6.5 yards per pass attempt (32nd in FBS) and sacked opposing quarterbacks on 9.2% of dropbacks (ninth) this season.
Louisiana Tech's defense plays up to its competition. Its best games came against the most productive offenses it faced. The Bulldogs held a North Texas team averaging 36.4 points per game to only 27 points in a two-point road win as a 7.5-point underdog and shut down a dynamic Florida Atlantic offense in a 21-13 road victory as a 3.5-point underdog. Even in a 38-21 loss to a far superior LSU team, the Bulldogs limited the Tigers to 5.38 yards per play, a shade under their season average, to cover an 18.5-point spread. With that strong track record, Louisiana Tech is a great bet as a one-point underdog.
Pick: Louisiana Tech +1
Confidence Level: High (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)