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Fresno State vs. Houston Pick – Hawaii Bowl

Either the Toledo Rockets had no intentions of playing in the Dollar General Bowl or they were shaving points. Well, they didn’t score any points, so they didn’t even have to do that much. That was an disgraceful performance from the play calling to execution on the field. You have Logan Woodside, the guy has been one of the most prolific passers in the FBS the last two years, so let’s ignore passing the ball and keep it on the ground? Interesting.

31Toledo won the MAC Championship and were clearly content with that. In any case, it didn’t make the MAC look too good. We have a Christmas Eve tradition today, as another edition of the Hawaii Bowl plays out on the island of Oahu in Honolulu. The University of Hawaii gets an automatic spot in this game if they win 6 games, but they failed to get to 6. Their loss opened the door for another school to get a trip to Hawaii.

The 2017 Hawaii Bowl features the Fresno State Bulldogs and Houston Cougars. Not a bad matchup at all. If these schools focused on football just a little bit this past week, it should make for a good matchup. Fresno State are coming off an appearance in the Mountain West Championship against Boise State.

The Bulldogs didn’t come up successful in a 17-14 loss, but they at least put forth a nice effort. Boise were 10-point favorites, so they covered the spread at least. Houston rounded their season out with a 24-14 win over Navy in the season finale. It brought their regular season record to 7-4. The Cougars have been trying to find their way since Tom Herman left for Texas, but they’ve been stabilizing.

Fresno State have already been here this season. They flew to Hawaii for a matchup with the Rainbow Warriors on October 11th. Fresno State emerged with a 31-21 win. Their defense has been suffocating this season, and it nearly was enough to get them a Mountain West Championship. There is no Sunday Night Football in the NFL, so this is your only action on Sunday night. Head below for our free Fresno State vs. Houston pick in the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve.

Fresno State Bulldogs vs. Houston Cougars Betting Odds:

Spread:
Fresno State +2(-110)
vs. Houston -2(-110)

Total:
Over 49(-110)
Under 49(-110)

Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv

Fresno State vs. Houston Pick:

Fresno State based their season around their defense. Derek Carr is no longer at Fresno State to sling it. If they did have a quarterback like Carr right now, we could be talking about a 1 or 2 loss Fresno State team. The Bulldogs haven’t allowed more than 21 points since a 26-16 loss to UNLV on October 28th. Alabama and Washington took them to the cleaners, but other than that, Fresno State’s defense have been a wall. Note that they’ve allowed 319 yards per game for 16th in the FBS. Further, Fresno State surrendered just 17.2 points per game, and that’s after getting pasted by Alabama and Washington.

Take away those two games, and the Fresno defense allowed just 12.2 points per game. They were able to contain a good Boise State offense for just 17 points in back-to-back weeks. The Bulldogs also held a potent San Diego State offense to only 3 points. Quarterback Marcus McMaryion hasn’t put together dazzling stats, but he doesn’t need to with that defense. McMaryion has thrown 14 touchdowns and 4 interceptions with a 61.1% completion percentage.

Houston will counter with a defense that ranks 83rd in the FBS. They’ve had their moments at times, but have been playing inconsistent football. Their offense is 35th in the nation with 436 yards per game. D’Eriq King took over as the starter in late October and hasn’t looked back. He’s passed for 6 touchdowns and 1 interception in his first real game action of his career.

King is also a dynamic runner, as he has rushed for 341 yards and 8 touchdowns on 63 attempts. He is certainly more of what Greg Ward was at Houston. I expect big numbers from him next season, but I’m not so sure against the Fresno State defense in Hawaii. The Bulldogs have played in Honolulu already. It’s a normal trip for their program. If we’re looking for a distraction angle, it’d seem Houston would be distracted more than Fresno State. Most Fresno players are from California as well, the beach isn’t anything new. I would expect Fresno State to be more accustomed to the long flight than Houston players. I’d take a look at Fresno State on Christmas Eve in the Hawaii Bowl. Their defense will put on a clinic yet again.

PICK: FRESNO STATE +2 (-110)

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