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Hawai’i Bowl: Fresno State Bulldogs at Houston Cougars

Final Pre-Christmas Bowl Kicks Off at 8:30 p.m. E.T.

This year’s Hawai’i Bowl, which starts at 8:30 p.m. E.T., features the Fresno State Bulldogs (9-4) at the Houston Cougars (7-4). It’s expected that this will be a close game. Our Fresno State plays Houston 2017 Hawai’i Bowl pick has the Bulldogs at -2.5 and the over/under at anywhere from 50.0 to 51.5. Fresno State took the West Division of the Mountain West Conference this year with a 7-1 mark and then lost the championship game to the Boise State Broncos 17-14. Prior to that loss in the title game, the Bulldogs had finished off the regular season strong with a run of four straight wins. That run included a 28-17 victory over the Broncos. The Cougars finished second in the American Athletic Conference West Division with a 5-3 record. They were 3-2 for their final five, including ending the regular season with a 24-14 win over Navy.

Fresno State Overview

The Bulldogs are scoring on average 26.7 PPG. They are holding opponents to merely 17.2 PPG, including 319.0 total yards and 202 in the air. Junior QB Marcus McMaryion (61.1 COMP%, 14 TDs, 4 INTs) has a good arm and is a decent rusher, averaging 5.3 YPA. WR KeeSean Johnson (69 REC, 918 YDs, 13.3 AVG, 8 TDs) is the team’s top pass catcher. Fresno State features a trio of rushers. Jordan Mims is the club’s top running back with 609 total yards on 143 carries, while Josh Hokit is right behind him, averaging 4.4 YPA and scoring seven TDs while accumulating 519 yards.

On defense, Fresno State has 13 FF, 41 PD, 31 sacks, and over 80 TFL. DB Jaron Bryant has grabbed three picks and has defended six passes. LB Robert Stanley leads the teams with 10.5 TFL while three other players have totaled 25 TFL. LB Jeffrey Allison leads the club inn tackles with 113. These guys can disturb and shut down offenses.

Bulldogs Summary

  • Rush offense is powerful
  • McMaryion solid and athletic
  • Defense is especially tough

Houston Overview

The Cougars are putting 28.5 PPG on the scoreboard. That’s a little better than their opponents. But they are allowing 23.0 PPG. That stats a lot higher than their opponents. The offense will be led by sophomore, third-string QB D’Eriq King who has taken over for the team’s two injured QBs, Kyle Postma and Kyle Allen. King has done well connecting on 69.8% of his passes while tossing six TDs and just one INT. He’s also a fine rusher who is averaging 5.4 YPA. King has run for eight scores. Wideouts Steven Dunbar and Linell Bonner each have more than 65 catches and over 850 yards. Duke Catalon is the top running back with 138 carries, 621 yards, and eight touchdowns.

The defense is giving up over 400 yards per game to opponents. That includes 150 on the ground and 268 in the air. They do have 49 PD, 14 INTs, and 22 sacks. They have also posted more than 70 TFL. Two players, Terrell Williams and Garrett Davis, have four interceptions each. LB D’Juan Hines leads the team with 104 tackles, while DT Ed Oliver is tops in TFL with 14.5 and in sacks with 5.5.

Cougars Summary

  • The athletic King has played well as a replacement
  • Offense can score
  • D has trouble keeping teams out of end zone

Three Hawai’i Bowl Takeaways

In developing our Fresno State plays Houston 2017 Hawai’i Bowl pick, we’ve come up with the following tri of takeaways-

  1. Houston offense holds edge
  2. Fresno State defense hold edge
  3. Bulldogs a bit deeper

Our 2017 Hawai’i Bowl Pick

Our Fresno State plays Houston 2017 Hawai’i Bowl pick is the Bulldogs at -2.5. We think they will be able to hold off the Houston offense just enough to win this game. We are taking Fresno State at -2.5 and the under at 51.5.

Summary Fresno State Plays Houston Picks- Bulldogs at -2.5 and under 51.5

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pmroczka

Paul has been writing about sports betting and sports for more than a decade, offering picks on the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA, as well as on college sports and European football. He's written thousands of season and post-season previews, innumerable articles on sports betting strategies, and various books on sports and sports betting.

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