Hawaii Warriors (7-6) -2, 48 O/U vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-6)
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, H.I., Dec 24th, 8:00PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
The Hawaii Warriors get to stay on the island when the bowl games come around as they will host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Ironically, the Warriors were invited to the Hawaii Bowl and you could definitely call it home field advantage when they take on Notre Dame at Aloha Stadium. The Fighting Irish barely received an invite to play in the college football postseason, but they travel across the country to take on a team that finished 2nd in the WAC Conference. The great part of bowl games is you get to see some teams that would normally not play each other and that is exactly what this game will showcase.
Notre Dame closed out the season losing 4 of their last 5 games including a 35 points defeat against USC in the last game of the season. Many thought head coach Charley Weis would be let go from Notre Dame after the season ended, but Weis will officially be back next year and the Irish can focusing on getting a bowl win. The Fighting Irish have lost a NCAA record 9 straight bowl games and they definitely would like the streak to end. The Irish have struggled to produce points this season averaging only 20 points per game ranking them in the bottom half of the nation. The Fighting Irish will look to get the ball in the hands of WR Golden Tate to help the offense emerge out of their slump. Tate has played well catching 52 passes for 903 yards and 7 touchdowns. Hopefully, Tate will be just what the Irish need to end their record bowl losing streak.
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What a convenience it is for the Warriors to get to play in their own stadium. Hawaii should be ready to defend their turf when they take on the Irish and they will be the slight favorites in the match-up. The Hawaii offense is not nearly as strong as they have been in recent years when they had quarterback Colt Brennan. The Warriors have been rather mediocre ranking right in the middle of college football teams in terms of total offense average 338 yards per game. The Warriors still bring a heaving passing attack to the table. Hawaii passing attack spreads the ball out to a talented group of receivers that have caught 21 touchdowns through the air this season. The Warriors will be looking to expose the Notre Dame secondary although they have played fairly strong this season.
Players Only Sportsbook has the betting line favoring the Island tribe by 2 points over the Fighting Irish. Hawaii seems to hold the slight advantage for the early betting pubic ATS and this game is anticipated to be a close one. The over/under total for the game is posted at the 48 point barrier while many early bettors are favoring the over for the game. ML numbers have not been released yet at time of print, but they should be pretty close to even odds when they are released.
The Warriors defense allowed 27 points per game this season and slightly over 350 yards of total offense per game. Hawaii hopes the defense can step up against the Notre Dame offense who has struggled all season long. Hawaii sports a promising offense that should post some pretty good numbers against the Irish, but the question will be if the defense can slow down the Irish? In the Warriors 6 losses this season, the defense has given up an average of 34.5 points per game in those contests. Hawaii must find away to keep Notre Dame off the score board if they plan to pick up the victory in front of the home crowd.
Notre Dame Sophomore quarterback Jimmy Clausen has had a fairly good season even though it may not have been as good as many would have expected. Clausen completed just fewer than 60% of his passes for 2,771 yards, with 20 touchdowns. The problem steps into the category under INT where Clausen has accounted for 17 interceptions this season. Clausen will need to keep the ball in the hands of the guys with the gold helmets if they plan to get the win. Clausen will be looking to hook up with wide receivers Golden Tate and Michael Floyd. Floyd had a strong year in Tates shadow catching 46 passes for 702 yards and 7 TDs. The two talented wide outs hope they can contribute to a much needed bowl win for the Fighting Irish.
Hawaii is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games. The Warriors have also reached the over total in 4 of their last 6 games. Notre Dame on the other hand is only 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games. The Warriors were also 5-1 SU this year at Aloha Stadium.
Jays Pick – Think this game will mean a lot more to Hawaii than it will Notre Dame, they playing in their home stadium in front of their fans and I believe the streak continues. Take Hawaii -2.