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Memphis vs. Hawaii Odds & Picks: Don’t Expect Much Offense in Hawaii Bowl

Memphis vs. Hawaii Odds & Picks: Don’t Expect Much Offense in Hawaii Bowl article feature image

Joe Murphy/Getty Images and Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured, from left: Jacobi Francis (1) of the Memphis Tigers and Calvin Turner Jr. (7) of the Hawaii Warriors.

Editor’s Note: Hawaii has withdrawn from the Hawaii Bowl due to COVID-19, season-ending injuries, and transfers.

Memphis vs. Hawaii Odds

Friday, Dec. 24
8 p.m. ET
Memphis Odds
-110o / -110u
Hawaii Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Hawaii Bowl
Friday, Dec. 24 · Honolulu, HI

Ryan Silverfield will coach his third bowl game in just two years as the head coach of Memphis.

The longtime offensive line coach took over for Mike Norvell just before the 2019 Cotton Bowl, as he was named the head coach before a shootout loss to Penn State. Silverfield finished the pandemic 2020 season with a Montgomery Bowl win before navigating the 2021 schedule with a freshman quarterback.

Todd Graham is also in his second full season as head coach with Hawaii, electing to fill the offensive coordinator position with his son Bo Graham.

The Rainbow Warriors lost their seventh game before mid-November and did not expect to make a bowl, but because an additional bowl game was added after the regular season, Hawaii will play host.

This season has gone off the rails, as the divide between Graham and the locker room grows with allegations of mistreatment.

Memphis Tigers

Silverfield will be without one of the team’s top targets in Calvin Austin III. The wide receiver was hobbled with an ankle injury that held him to just nine receptions over the last three games.

The rest of the offense remains intact for freshman quarterback Seth Henigan.

A 25:8 touchdown-to-interception ratio masks his 17 turnover-worthy plays, as the former three-star is more comfortable with the deep ball over short passes. Henigan has 19 big-time throws to just four turnover-worthy plays on attempts over 20 yards this season.

🎯🎯🎯 @seth_henigan |

— Memphis Football (@MemphisFB) October 2, 2021

The Hawaii safeties will be the focal point of attack when Memphis elects to pass.

Both of these teams are top-20 in plays per minute, but an offensive rank of 90th in Finishing Drives indicates that Memphis scoring may come from long distance and not the red zone.

The 3-3-5 defense has lost coordinator Mike MacIntyre, who has moved on to the head coaching position at Florida International. Defensive backs coach Charles Clark will continue the scheme that sends blitz on just 19% of snaps.

The Tigers play their best defense in passing downs, collecting ranks of ninth in limiting explosiveness and 23rd in Sack Rate.

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Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

Two of Hawaii’s best offensive players hit the transfer portal after the regular season.

Running back Dae Dae Hunter cited mental health for his decision to leave the island, eventually electing to land at Liberty for the 2022 season. Quarterback Chevan Cordeiro also hit the transfer portal electing to play at rival San Jose State next season.

There has been a mass exodus of players for this Hawaii program, as a number of starters have moved on.

Quarterback Brayden Schager is expected to start after posting just two big-time throws in 107 passing attempts. Four of Schager’s five interceptions have come in pressured dropbacks, giving Memphis every reason to blitz on Christmas Eve.

While the offense looks for replacements, the Rainbow Warrior defense stays mostly intact.

Pick 6️⃣ HANA HOU
This one from Darius Muasau. 75-yard interception return for a TD.
UH 4️⃣1️⃣, NMSU 2️⃣7️⃣, 12:06 left in the 4th quarter.#HawaiiFB 🏈🏈🏈

— Spectrum Sports HI (@specsportshi) October 24, 2021

The biggest loss comes at cornerback with Cameron Lockridge, who graded out as the best coverage defender on the Hawaii squad.

The Warriors defense has posted a top-25 ranking in Line Yards and Finishing Drives under a scheme that flips between a nickel and dime package. The defense excels in limiting scores in the red zone, allowing just 26 touchdowns in 48 opponent attempts.

Memphis vs. Hawaii Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Memphis and Hawaii match up statistically:

Memphis Offense vs. Hawaii Defense
Rush Success8052
Line Yards8724
Pass Success2198
Pass Blocking**8539
Big Play8369
Finishing Drives9023
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Hawaii Offense vs. Memphis Defense
Rush Success6072
Line Yards6799
Pass Success7985
Pass Blocking**4386
Big Play2934
Finishing Drives10269
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling2961
Middle 877104
SP+ Special Teams9042
Plays per Minute1220
Rush Rate48.3% (106)48.3% (107)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

Memphis vs. Hawaii Betting Pick

The losses of Cordeiro and Hunter cannot be stated enough on the Hawaii side. Both are responsible for a large portion of statistics through Graham’s 21 formations. T

his is an offense that was outside the top 100 in Havoc Allowed and Finishing Drives before the transfer portal activity, so the scoring from the Rainbow Warriors may be limited in this game.

Without Austin, Memphis will be limited in the passing game when it comes to experience. Henigan targeted Austin on 121 passing attempts, as no other player has over half of those targets.

The next most targeted player is tight end Sean Dykes, but he’s rarely used on the third-down attempts. Wide receivers Javon Ivory and Eddie Lewis were targeted 28 times on third downs this year. The loss of Austin will be felt in the offensive explosiveness, but there’s enough remaining for Henigan to move the chains and put points on the board.

While both teams are top-20 in pace, Hawaii will struggle on offense with Schager under center. Memphis also loses its most explosive target for Henigan, who prefers the deep pass.

The Tigers have fared poorly in scoring position, indicating a possible low-scoring event with Hawaii patrolling the red zone as well as any Group of Five team.

The Action Network projection for the game is Memphis -8 with a total of 56. The Tigers have taken all of the steam in the market from -3 to over a touchdown in this game, but keep in mind that the players remaining on the roster for Hawaii still want to play for the program.

The best bet in this game is to catch the total before the key number of 55. There are too many offensive pieces missing for both sides and a Warriors defense that limits scoring opportunities.

Pick: Under 55 or Better

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