Hawaii Rainbow Warriors vs. Houston Cougars Pick – New Mexico Bowl December 24, 2020

In a day usually reserved for the Hawaii Bowl, the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors and Houston Cougars will meet in the New Mexico Bowl in Frisco, Texas. As a result of Covid-19 restrictions in New Mexico, the game has been relocated to Frisco for this year. There’s a lot to digest there. We have the Rainbow Warriors playing in the New Mexico Bowl in Texas on Christmas Eve, which is typically the Hawaii Bowl degenerate special.

At least we have football on Christmas Eve this year. It wasn’t looking too good that we’d be playing college football at all early in the season. There isn’t much at all for sports on Christmas Eve. The New Mexico Bowl is the biggest sporting event taking place. However, if you need more picks for today, consider checking out our horse racing page.

Hawaii would have preferred staying home and welcoming a visiting team to the islands, but Frisco will have to do. I’m sure the Rainbow Warriors are just content with going to a bowl game. If they weren’t, Hawaii would have dropped out of their bowl like several other schools. Some of those teams that called it quits may have not made a bowl anyway, and some of them I didn’t have much interest in. It would have been nice to see USC and UCLA play again, though.

The Rainbow Warriors are one year removed from a trip to the Mountain West Championship. Cole McDonald and Hawaii went to Idaho for the championship game against the Boise State Broncos. It didn’t go so well, but getting to the MWC Championship was an accomplishment in itself, and Hawaii also edged BYU out in the Hawaii Bowl at home. There were no complaints with a 10-5 season for Hawaii.

Hawaii were unable to duplicate that success after McDonald left early for the NFL. They’ve been mediocre with a record of 4-4. Not a terrible season for the Rainbow Warriors, though, and an opportunity presents itself for Hawaii to win back-to-back bowls. It would be their third bowl win since 2016. Hawaii are coming off a 38-21 win over UNLV after a hard-fought loss against San Jose State, the champs of the MWC, 35-24. Head below for our free Hawaii vs. Houston pick for December 24, 2020.

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors vs. Houston Cougars New Mexico Bowl Betting Odds:


  • Hawaii +10 (-110)
  • Houston -10 (-110)

  • Hawaii +310
  • Houston -380

  • Over 59.5 (-115)
  • Under 59.5 (-105)


Hawaii vs. Houston Prediction:

This has not been a picturesque season for the Houston Cougars. They enter the New Mexico Bowl with a record of 3-4. That is not a solid season by any means for Houston. Do they deserve to be bowling in a three-win season? Absolutely not. But Houston blew out Tulane and South Florida. That’s not bad right? It’s fine, but Houston’s three wins have been against Tulane, South Florida, and Navy. That’s not an impressive resume, and not something that should have gotten Houston to a bowl game. They’ve suffered big losses against BYU, 43-26, UCF, 44-21, and Cincinnati, 38-10.

Houston lost a lot of its luster after D’Eriq King took a grad transfer to Miami to play with the Hurricanes. The offense just didn’t look too exciting with Clayton Tune at the controls. I and a lot of people were expecting big things out of Tune this season. Tune passed for 13 touchdowns and 7 interceptions on 60.7% completions. He struggled often against teams that had an above average secondary. The offense never really took off with Tune at quarterback. Houston scored an average of 32.3 points and 423.4 yards per game. Most of those points came against really bad defenses.

Hawaii, surprisingly enough, have been an underrated defense, especially their secondary which has been getting the job done against the pass. Their secondary has been the strength of this team. Hawaii has conceded an average of 190.6 yards passing per game. They had to play against some good offenses, too, including Fresno State, Boise State, and San Jose State. They hung in there tough against Boise State, and managed to make the Spartans work for their win as well.

Rainbow Warriors’ QB, Chevan Cordeiro, has been serviceable for Hawaii. He’s passed for 11 touchdowns and 6 interceptions on 62.1% completions. The sophomore is perhaps best at using his legs to find yardage. Cordeiro has gained 450 yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground. He’s a slippery runner and can turn nothing into something. Expect Cordeiro to be motivated to play well for Hawaii on Thursday afternoon. This game as a whole likely means more to Hawaii than Houston. I don’t believe a trip to the New Mexico Bowl is what the Cougars had in mind this season. Ten points looks a bit too much here. I will take my chances on Hawaii with the points.


The Bet
Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of TheSportsGeek and has spent nearly a decade providing accurate sports picks and writeups here. He has been a sports handicapper for 10+ years and started sharing his picks and thoughts in 2011 at TheSportsGeek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, NHL, and horse racing. Prior to writing for TheSportsGeek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily only at TheSportsGeek.