Hawaii Bowl Picks

By Tom Wilkinson

The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders play the San Diego State Aztecs on Saturday night in Honolulu, Hawaii in a game that can be seen on ESPN. Middle Tennessee is 7-5 SU and 5-6-1 ATS with seven games going over the total and five going under, while San Diego State is 7-5 SU and 5-7 ATS with five games going over the total and seven going under. This game will mark the return of the Hawaii Bowl, as the last two games were cancelled due to COVID. Six of the last eight games in the Hawaii Bowl have been decided by double-digits. The Aztecs are a 7-point favorite in this game with a total of 49. Let’s look at Hawaii Bowl picks.


Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders vs. San Diego State Aztecs

Date and Time: Saturday, December 24, 2022 at 8:00 PM EST

Location: Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex, Honolulu, Hawaii

TV Coverage: ESPN


BetMaker previews the upcoming matchup and gives a prediction for Wednesday night’s contest.



Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders vs. San Diego State Aztecs


Middle Tennessee got off to a shaky start this season but they rallied to win their last three games to make a bowl game. The Blue Raiders averaged 29.2 points per game and put up 391.1 yards per contest. The defense allowed 28.1 points per contest and gave up 413.3 yards per game. Frank Peasant led the team with 747 rushing yards, Chase Cunningham threw for 2,920 yards, while Jaylin Lane led the team with 829 receiving yards.


This is Middle Tennessee's 10th bowl under head coach Rick Stockstill, and until the previous few bowls, the results haven't been all that fantastic. Up until 1964, the team had a bowl record of 2-2, and everything else was managed by the current head coach, who has overseen a 3-6 overall bowl record but Middle Tennessee did beat Toledo in the Bahamas Bowl last year.


San Diego State has had an odd year. Its 38-20 loss to Arizona in the stadium opener marked the beginning of a disastrous offensive run and a rough 2-3 start that was only saved from being worse by a somewhat miraculous late drive against Toledo. It all came together when the team changed offensive coordinators and when former Mississippi State quarterback Jalen Mayden took over as the starter.


San Diego State averages just 21.3 points and puts up just 321.5 yards per contest. They give up just 20.2 points and allow 335.4 yards per game. Jordyn Byrd leads the team with 389 rushing yards, Jalen Mayden has thrown for 1,721 yards while Tyrell Shavers has 581 receiving yards.


San Diego State's bowl performance is hit-or-miss. Out of the previous six outings, only the 42-35 loss to Army in 2017 was a closely contested game. The Aztecs defeated a capable UTSA team in the 2018 Frisco Bowl, and then easily defeated Central Michigan in the 2019 New Mexico Bowl to make it four victories in the previous six bowl games. In his tenure at SDSU, head coach Brady Hoke is 2-0 in bowl games.


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Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders vs. San Diego State Aztecs Free Pick


This game will likely come down to turnovers, as if San Diego State hangs onto the ball they are going to win. Middle Tennessee simply doesn’t score enough points to win games without help. They forced two or more turnovers in eight of their 12 games. The Aztecs were 1-4 when they committed multiple turnovers and 6-1 when they turned it over fewer than two times. Middle Tennessee was 0-5 when they gave up 35 points or more and 7-0 when giving up fewer than 35 points. When they lose, they lose big, as all five defeats for Middle Tennessee were by 15 points or more. The Aztecs are similar, as when they gave up 27 points or more, they were 0-4. This game has all the looks of one that should be competitive and low scoring. I’ll go with Middle Tennessee plus the points and the game under the total


The Pick: Middle Tennessee +7 and Under 49


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