Memphis Tigers vs. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Pick – Hawaii Bowl December 24, 2021

The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors stay home for their namesake bowl in the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve. The Hawaii Bowl is typically the only sporting event taking place. Unless Christmas Eve falls on an NFL day, the Hawaii Bowl is the only game in North America.

The Rainbow Warriors automatically go to the Hawaii Bowl if they’re eligible. The only exception is if Hawaii has some amazing season and goes to a top-tier bowl. They went to a BCS Bowl in 2008 versus the Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl.

Since getting crushed in the Sugar Bowl, 41-10, Hawaii hasn’t been back in the national discussion. An invite to the Sugar Bowl was enough of an accomplishment for the Rainbow Warriors. There wasn’t a Hawaii Bowl because of Covid-19 last year, so this is the first game since Hawaii won in 2019.

If you recall, and I do, Zach Wilson and the BYU Tigers lost a close one by a final score of 38-34. I was on the Rainbow Warriors as underdogs in that matchup and was happy to see Cole McDonald orchestrate a late touchdown drive, with BYU stopped a series earlier.

Hawaii is back in the Hawaii Bowl, but they were a better team back then. The Rainbow Warriors went to the Mountain West Championship in 2019 and finished at 10-5. Hawaii is dealing with players entering the transfer portal, including Chevan Cordeiro, who shared time with McDonald at quarterback.

It feels like Cordeiro has been at Hawaii forever now. After entering the transfer portal, Cordeiro will not be playing in the Hawaii Bowl. He has another year of eligibility left, though, and will check out what another program has to offer.

Along with Cordeiro, Hawaii starting running back Dae Dae Hunter is opting to sit out and transfer elsewhere. According to reports behind the scenes, there may not be many players left on the roster that want to play for head coach Todd Graham.

Graham has been the subject of mistreatment claims by players and other coaches. Since the regular season finale, Hawaii has had to address players transferring and abuse reports from their head coach.

Memphis arrives in Hawaii following a 6-6 regular season. They could be good, but an inconsistent year prevented them from doing better. Seth Henigan can sling the ball around, which is a concern for a Hawaii secondary with problems.

Head below for our free Memphis vs. Hawaii Hawaii Bowl pick on December 24, 2021.

Memphis Tigers vs. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Hawaii Bowl Betting Odds and Team Statistics:

The following odds are courtesy of BetUS:

Teams Spread Moneyline Total
Memphis Tigers -8.5 (-108) -300 Over 55.5 (-110)
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors +8.5 (-112) +250 Under 55.5 (-110)
Team Data Memphis Tigers Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
Overall Record 6-6 6-7
ATS Record 4-8-0 5-7-1
Away/Home Record 1-4 4-2
ATS Away/Home 0-5-0 3-2-1
Points Per Game 30.1 28.8
Points Against Per Game 29.3 31.4
Passing Yards Per Game 240.0 202.8
Rushing Yards Per Game 126.6 142.3

Memphis vs. Hawaii Prediction:

Even with Memphis and Hawaii at full strength, the Rainbow Warriors would probably have problems regardless against the Tigers’ passing game.

The Tigers love to air it out with quarterback Seth Henigan. He isn’t shy about letting it zip down the field. Henigan has passed for 3,322 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions on 59.8% completions.

Memphis is 17th in the country with 298.8 passing yards per game. They will pass it around the yard in Hawaii, and I think they will have success doing it.

Hawaii’s secondary has been getting manhandled in the secondary. They have an AAC team coming to the islands that can toss the ball around.

The Rainbow Warriors are 125th in the FBS, with 289.7 yards allowed per game. They didn’t have to meet with top passing teams in the Mountain West Conference, either.

Expect Henigan to have his way with the Hawaii defense on Christmas Eve. If reports are true regarding Todd Graham, it’s tough to see Hawaii caring enough anyway to chase around the up and down Memphis’ offense.

Memphis Tigers vs. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Betting Trends:


  • 17-3 overall in their previous 20 games as the betting favorite
  • 1-4 ATS in their previous five games
  • 1-5 ATS in their previous six bowl games
  • UNDER is 4-1 in their previous five games versus non-conference opponents
  • UNDER is 6-2 in their previous eight games after a win


  • 3-7 ATS in their previous ten games after a win
  • 1-4 ATS in their previous five games versus non-conference opponents
  • 0-4 ATS in their previous four games after a win by more than 20 points
  • UNDER is 7-1 ATS in their previous eight games after covering the spread
  • UNDER is 4-1 in their previous five games on a Friday

Veteran quarterback Chevan Cordeiro is opting out of the Hawaii Bowl and hitting the transfer portal. That leaves Brayden Schager as the starter for Hawaii. Schager has seen the field sparingly this season.

Entering the Hawaii Bowl, Schager has passed for 615 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions on 60.7% completions. The freshman needs the experience, so it isn’t the worst thing for him to receive a start in a bowl game.

Don’t expect him to make up for it on the ground if he can’t pass. Schager has rushed for -50 yards on 14 attempts. Cordeiro can move around, while Schager is more of a pocket passer.

It doesn’t bode well for the result of the Hawaii Bowl, though. Along with their starting quarterback and running back opting out, Hawaii is dealing with a Covid issue. We don’t know the extent of the situation, but we know there has been exposure to Covid.

The Tigers’ biggest weakness is their secondary. They’ve been mediocre, with 250.9 passing yards allowed per game. However, Hawaii doesn’t have a quarterback to exploit their defense on Friday.

All things point to a Memphis win in Hawaii on Christmas Eve. A final score of 33-20 or 36-21 doesn’t look that out of reach.


Memphis vs. Hawaii Pick
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.

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