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Hawaii Warriors quarterback Brayden Schager (13). (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)
December 21st, 2021
For college football fans and bettors everywhere, there is one tradition during the holidays that is unmistakably familiar and appreciated. I’m talking about the Hawai'i Bowl.
Played on Christmas Eve, it creates annual conversations among family members regarding their desire to take a tropical island vacation together. It also gives us something to bet on when the rest of the betting marketplace is quiet.
This year’s matchup features Memphis and the game’s traditional entrant, Hawai'i. Today let’s take a closer look at this seasonal treat and see if we can’t deliver an early gift with a winning pick.
Early bettors on Memphis in this matchup are going to benefit from a tremendous amount of closing-line value, as the line has drifted upward four points.
The reason Memphis has become a significantly larger favorite is a series of departures from the Hawai'i offense. Hawai'i’s starting quarterback this year was Chevan Cordeiro, who threw for 2,793 yards on the season. He also added 342 yards on the ground and totaled 20 touchdowns. He has entered the transfer portal and elected to end his time in Hawai'i.
CHEVAN EXITS: #HawaiiFB starting QB Chevan Cordeiro has announced he is entering the NCAA transfer portal, saying "It was an extremely difficult decision, but one that will ultimately be in the best interest of everyone involved."Best wishes to you, @iam_clcxii pic.twitter.com/pKVntkKhGM— ESPN Honolulu (@ESPNHonolulu) December 1, 2021
CHEVAN EXITS: #HawaiiFB starting QB Chevan Cordeiro has announced he is entering the NCAA transfer portal, saying "It was an extremely difficult decision, but one that will ultimately be in the best interest of everyone involved."Best wishes to you, @iam_clcxii pic.twitter.com/pKVntkKhGM
His teammate in the backfield was running back Dae Dae Hunter, who led the team with 651 rushing yards and an impressive 6.4 yards per carry. Hunter has also elected to transfer, leaving the Rainbow Warriors with essentially backups at their two primary offensive skill positions.
In Cordeiro’s stead will be Brayden Schager, who had just two touchdowns against five interceptions in his limited opportunities this year. Schager is also not the running threat that Cordeiro was, which makes this look like a clear downgrade at the most important position for the underdog.
‘They really believe in me just as much as I believe in them’ - @HawaiiFootball kicks off game week ahead of @HawaiiBowl matchup against Memphis on Christmas Eve w/ Brayden Schager as the new QB1 https://t.co/HzUzQwWsk9 @BraydenSchager #HawaiiFB #GoBows 🤙🏽 pic.twitter.com/GhCIq0irUk— Rob DeMello (@RobDeMelloKHON) December 21, 2021
‘They really believe in me just as much as I believe in them’ - @HawaiiFootball kicks off game week ahead of @HawaiiBowl matchup against Memphis on Christmas Eve w/ Brayden Schager as the new QB1 https://t.co/HzUzQwWsk9 @BraydenSchager #HawaiiFB #GoBows 🤙🏽 pic.twitter.com/GhCIq0irUk
The Hawai'i offense was just 73rd in the nation in yards per play in 2021 and will likely struggle to match its average output in this one.
Hawai'i head football coach Todd Graham hasn’t had the most impressive career trajectory. After a couple of stints in the Power Five, he landed at Hawai'i, where things appear to be trending downward.
He has obviously lost two key players, and multiple other players have reported negative experiences that have them questioning football and this program. Graham has always been a hard-nosed coach, and the game of football is full of toughness and profane language, but there’s plenty of evidence to question if Graham has lost this year’s team.
Memphis sits at .500, and while it hasn’t been profitable against the spread, the opportunity to finish the year with a winning record should be motivation enough to come out with conviction. Look for Memphis to show much greater efficiency offensively and outpace the home team to win and cover.
Score prediction: Memphis 34, Hawaii 20
Our predictive engine is calling for Memphis to win outright and Hawai'i to cover the spread.
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