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Public betting splits and line movement for New Mexico Bowl: Hawai’i vs. Houston

We break down the public betting splits and how the lines have moved for Hawai’i Warriors vs. Houston Cougars in the New Mexico Bowl.

Head coach Todd Graham of the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors coaches his players on the sideline during the second half against the Boise State Broncos at Aloha Stadium on November 21, 2020 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images

Update: With the late line movement in this game, we’ve updated these numbers as of 2:50 p.m., 40 minutes before kickoff.

Today we get the poorly-monikered New Mexico Bowl, which in a bout of 2020 isn’t taking place in New Mexico this year. The Houston Cougars face the Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors in Frisco, Texas at Toyota Stadium instead, with kickoff scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Thursday. And if you’re looking Christmas Eve football, this is your only option.

So where are sports bettors going as we get closer to game time? Let’s take a look. All odds and info were provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.

Point Spread

As of now the Houston Cougars are -7.5 point favorites, with 55% of the handle and 49% of the bets on the in-state team.

Is the public right? The Coogs have improved as the season has progressed under quarterback Clayton Tune. In their last two outings, they rolled a bad South Florida team, then kept the Memphis Tigers close in a 30-27 loss in the Liberty Bowl. On the islands Chevan Cordeiro also seems to be getting the hang of Todd Graham’s offense, beating Nevada and UNLV while falling to Mountain West Champion San Jose State 35-24 in Honolulu on December 5th.

Both these teams are rounding into shape, but the gap might not be double digits. We’ll take the Bows with the hook.

Update: There is no hook with the Bows anymore, but we still like Hawai’i with anything over 7 because of all these Houston injuries and opt-outs.


The total is set at 59, with 67% of the handle and 72% of the bets on the over.

Is the public right? Seems like your basic public over on the surface. but both these teams play with plenty of pace. Also many times defenses in second-tier bowl games are more worried about the gift bags than how to shade in Cover 2 man. It’s a stayaway from us, but we might join the Over Train if forced to choose.


Houston is -335 on the moneyline, and is getting 68% of the handle with 68% of the bets. The Bows at +210 getting just 32% of the handle and 32% of the bets.

Is the public right? Fading Hawai’i on the mainland is a wagering tradition as old as time, and that seems to be holding here. But new head coach Todd Graham might be able to inject some postseason presence for the Warriors. We’re not laying that price with Houston against an offense that can score, so we’ll take a taste of Hawai’i if we have to choose.

New Mexico Bowl: Hawai’i Warriors vs. Houston Cougars

Opening line: Houston -11.5
Current line: Houston -7.5

The line seems to be moving towards Hawai’i, but you’ve got to be careful with a team flying eight hours on Christmas Eve for a bowl game with very few implications. We’ll take the Bows, but not for that many units with a lot of uncertainty surrounding this one.

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