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Hawaii Bowl Betting – Golden Eagles Soar In Honolulu

Posted by Blake Frazier on 12/16/2011 4:12:56 PM
hawaii bowl betting

Southern Miss overcame the online betting spread to win the Conference-USA title, and they’ll head into the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve to face Nevada, a team that is built similar to the Golden Eagles, especially offensively. But due to a few injuries and a defense that takes advantage of mistakes, the Golden Eagles should be able cruise to their 12th win of the season.

What: NCAA Football Betting
When: Saturday, December 24th, 8:00 PM ET
Where: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI
Pick: Southern Miss Golden Eagles -6.5

Why Bet On Nevada Wolf Pack (7-5 SU, 5-2 WAC, 5-7 ATS)

The Wolf Pack started off slow with four straight road games, losing three at Oregon, Texas Tech and Boise State, but head coach Chris Ault got the team back on track and they would have run the table to the WAC title if not for four-point losses to Louisiana Tech and Utah State, the two teams above them in the conference. The Wolf Pack are fifth in the country offensively, despite going between Tyler Lantrip and Cody Fajardo under center. The backfield is powered by the duel threat of Lampford Mark and Mike Ball, but Fajardo leads the team with 11 rushing touchdowns and Stefphon Jefferson averaged 6.1 yards a carry. Out of the pistol offense, Nevada can run any number of weapons at you. The defense is decent, ranking 52nd, but they’re 56th against the rush and 63rd against the pass. The rush defense has problems, but both aspect of Nevada’s defense has to step up because Southern Miss can hurt you either way.

Receiver Rishard Matthews (knee) was injured in a 56-3 rout of Idaho on Senior Day as the Wolf Pack were trying to get him enough receptions to lead the conference (which he did), and he should be fine for this game, while both quarterbacks, Lantrip (concussion) and Fajardo (ankle), are dealing with ailments. You’ll probably see both in this game (unless Lantrip isn’t cleared), but look for the Wolf Pack to lean even more heavily on the ground game. As a program, Nevada is 4-6 SU in bowl games and is going bowling for the seventh straight year. They’ve split two trips to the Hawaii Bowl, edging Central Florida in 2005 and then getting troubled by SMU in 2009.

Why Bet On Southern Miss Golden Eagles (11-2 SU, 6-2 C-USA, 8-4 ATS)

NCAA football betting players didn’t give the No.21 Golden Eagles much of a chance against Houston in the Conference-USA game; the Cougars were aiming for a BCS bowl and the title game was being played in Houston’s stadium. But Southern Miss played like a team with nothing to lose and rolled the Cougars 49-28 for their first conference championship since 2003 and the Golden Eagles did it with an offense that is incredibly balanced, finishing 23rd in rushing and 31st in passing for a total-offense ranking of 13th, although their opponents are balanced as well. Austin Davis owns most of Southern Miss’ records, but he gets plenty of help from running back Tracy Lampley, who is also dangerous in the passing game and as a punt returner, and like the Wolf Pack, the Golden Eagles are deep in the backfield. The defense is ranked 70th in passing defense, but they’re ninth in pass efficiency defense and even though they’re prone to giving up yards through the air, they force a ton of turnovers and only four teams in the nation have more interceptions than the Golden Eagles. Southern Miss is 9-12 in bowl games and this will be their tenth consecutive bowl game, but they’ve lost three of their last four.

The Golden Eagles were angry that no one had any faith in them and essentially put Houston in a BCS bowl; Southern Miss was still angry after whipping the Cougars as they felt they should have been in a BCS bowl and they’ll have to carry that over to this game against a very similar team. The Golden Eagles can make a big statement by blowing out the Wolf Pack and head coach Larry Fedora isn’t likely to let them forget that.

How It Will Play Out

Southern Miss enters this NCAA football betting matchup as 6.5-point favorites in Hawaii against Nevada, who have lost all three of their meetings with the Golden Eagles, but the two haven’t met since the 1990s. This is an excellent matchup to pass the time on Christmas Eve as the potential for a shootout is there whenever these two take to the field. Both teams have variety on offense and they have depth in the backfield, which means they can wear you down.

The edge goes to Southern Miss due to Nevada’s problems at quarterback and whoever is under center against the Golden Eagles, they’ll have to avoid turnovers against an opportunistic Southern Miss defense. In the end, Southern Miss has a chance to cap a glorious season with a victory and they’ll take advantage of the Nevada quarterbacks en route to covering the sports betting spread.

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Betting Pick: Southern Miss Golden Eagles

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