The Hawaii Bowl will feature SMU vs Fresno State as the bowl season kicks into full gear on Christmas Eve. From here until the national championship game between Notre Dame and Alabama there will be a bowl game on nearly every single day.
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The betting line shows just how much better the Bulldogs have played this year when compared to the Mustangs.
The Bulldogs are the better team according to the odds makers as the betting line opened with the Bulldogs as (-12.5) point favorites. Despite the Bulldogs attracting 67 percent of the action the line has dropped to (-12) at several sportsbooks.
The big concern with teams going to the Hawaii Bowl is the many distractions that the island can provide. This is where SMU will be more prepared. Head coach June Jones took SMU to the Hawaii Bowl in 2009 and he was the head coach of the University of Hawaii for nine years. This will allow the coach to properly keep his players focused while enjoying what Hawaii has to offer.
Fresno State has a different approach to the game.
Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter is allowing his players to venture off and have fun during this trip as long as they remain focused on beating SMU and staying out of trouble.
“What you’ve got to do is always to remember the task at hand, which is win the game on Monday,” DeRuyter said shortly after the team checked into the Westin Moana Surf Rider team hotel that offers beach-front views and is located next to several other tourist attractions. “In the meantime, we’re here for six days. It’s a reward to go to bowl games. …
“When you’re coming (here for) a league game, you fly out 48 or 24 hours before and your only mission is to win a game. When you come out here for a bowl, it’s a reward and it should be. You get a chance to take in the local culture.”
By the numbers the Bulldogs have the advantage as they finished the regular season among the top 20 teams statistically on offense and defense. The talent on the Bulldogs sideline will overcome any distraction that Hawaii will allow.
The college football bowl trends also side with Fresno State. The Bulldogs are 4-0 against the spread (ATS) in their last 4 non-conference games and 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games overall.
The offense led by quarterback Derek Carr who has thrown 36 touchdown passes, against only five interceptions, and his backfield mate Robbie Rouse rushed for 1,468 yards and 12 scores is too much to control for the Mustangs.
Mustang quarterback Garrett Gilbert will keep this game close early, but the Bulldogs defense will be the key factor in a big Bulldogs win.
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