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How and what to watch for the New Mexico Bowl: Hawai’i vs. Houston

Hawai’i is leaving the islands for a non-NY6 bowl game for the first time since 1992.

Head coach Dana Holgorsen of the Houston Cougars waves to fans after the game against the South Florida Bulls on November 14, 2020 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

On Christmas Eve the 4-4 Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors trade the islands for the desert as they face the 3-4 Houston Cougars in the New Mexico Bowl. The game won’t take place in New Mexico this year due to Covid-19 restrictions in the Land of Enchantment, but instead at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Yes, they’re keeping the New Mexico Bowl name.

You know it’s a weird year when the best team playing in this bowl game is sitting at .500. It’s an even weirder year when you realize Hawai’i is leaving its home state for a bowl game, it's only the second time that’s happened since 1992. But the Rainbow Warriors have a tall task ahead of them against a decent Houston team. The ‘Bows will need to contain an offense that’s racking up nearly 450 yards and 32 points per game. The team from the islands has allowed opposing offenses to run for nearly 250 yards per game. RB Kyle Porter should be able to have one of his best games of his season this weekend against that defense. The Cougars’ offense isn’t highly potent on the ground but should be able to put up numbers against this run D.

The Warriors offense scores 26 points per game while conceding 29 on defense. Houston’s record is deceiving, their recent losses were all against pretty good teams as well, so the Rainbow Warriors will certainly have their hands full.

Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming

You can watch the Hawai’i Warriors and Houston Cougars in the New Mexico Bowl on Thursday, December 24 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. You can stream it via WatchESPN or the ESPN app with a cable or streaming service login.

Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends

Updated 2:50 p.m. December 24th:

Point spread: Hawaii vs Houston (-7.5)
Point Total: 59
Money line: Hawaii (+210), Houston (-335)

  • The Rainbow Warriors are struggling to cover the spread, going 2-5 ATS in their last seven.
  • They also don’t score a ton of points, so they under has hit in four of their last five games and all but one of their games this season.
  • The Coogs are just as bad as the ‘Bows against the number, going 2-4 ATS in their last six.
  • Houston is 4-8 overall in their last 12 games straight up.

New Mexico Bowl Betting splits

Hawai’i Warriors: (55% of handle, 49% percent of bets)
Houston Cougars: (45% of handle, 51% percent of bets)

The Best Bet

Outside of their win/loss record, there’s not a ton of reason to think Hawai’i should win this game. Houston is dominant in every statistical category and should be victorious. The level of competition the Coogs have faced in the American Athletic Conference is much better than what Hawai’i has seen.

Pick: Houston

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