When the stakes are high, most coaches get conservative. But when nothing of real significance is on the line in most bowl games, there’s no reason to play it safe, and the Hawaii Bowl fits the profile of one that should be wide open and entertaining.
Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich is a gambler by nature with his play-calling. The Rainbow Warriors average 33.6 points with the nation’s sixth-ranked passing offense at 325.9 yards per game. Rolovich will let quarterbacks Cole McDonald and Chevan Cordeiro, who combined for 37 touchdown passes, air it out against a Brigham Young defense that’s tougher against the run.
The Cougars went 4-1 down the stretch while averaging 42.8 points in victories over weak defensive teams — Massachusetts, Idaho State, Liberty and Utah State. With a poor run defense and explosive passing offense, Hawaii can get into shootouts. BYU beat the Warriors 49-23 in 2018 in Provo, Utah.
Sharp money showed on Hawaii at plus 2, dropping the line to plus 1½, and Over the opening total of 62. The Hawaii Bowl winner has scored 30 points or more in 16 of the last 17 years, so try to ride the high-scoring wave on Christmas Eve in Honolulu.
The pick: Over 64.