I have never been to either New Mexico or Hawaii. I can confidently say I will never visit the former (I’m sure it’s lovely) but that I will get to the islands at some point. I can also say I don’t think I have ever seen New Mexico’s football team in action and that I probably haven’t caught a Hawaii game since Colt Brennan left. Back in the day of the Run ‘n Shoot, Hawaii games were can’t-miss TV late at night – much like those when those UNLV basketball teams of Larry Johnson, Stacy Augmon, etc., played during the Runnin’ Rebels’ heyday.
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So perhaps you are wondering why I would preview a game between New Mexico (3-3, 0-1) and Hawaii (1-4, 0-2), two teams that certainly won’t factor in the Mountain West Conference race. It’s simple: the game kicks at midnight Eastern time on Saturday night/Sunday morning. That means it’s your final college football betting option of the day by far and a chance to get some momentum with NFL kickoffs just 13 hours later.
The Warriors are one of the worst teams in the nation under first-year coach Norm Chow, who finally got his head-coaching shot after nearly three decades as an assistant. New Mexico is led by former Notre Dame coach Bob Davie, also in his first season. And assuming UNM wins this game, it has a realistic shot at a bowl game with a pretty easy schedule the rest of the way -- Boise State is already in the rear-view mirror, and, even should the Lobos lose to current MWC leaders Nevada and Fresno State (both visit Albuquerque), then all they would need to do is win every other game (doable) to finish 8-5. Teams that visit Hawaii each year are allowed a 13th regular-season game to offset the heavy travel costs. The trade off for UNM is that it doesn’t have a bye week all year.
New Mexico at Hawaii Betting Storylines
The University of New Mexico can break an embarrassing skid on Saturday as it has lost 24 straight games outside of its state. The Lobos’ last road win over a team that wasn’t New Mexico State was in 2007 (San Diego State), the year New Mexico last played in a bowl game. This is UNM’s first trip to Hawaii in 14 years, which was the last time the teams faced off, then as members of the WAC.
Don’t look for much passing Saturday. The Lobos rank dead last in college football by averaging 48.8 passing yards a game. They rely on a running game that is No. 8 at 270.7 ypg. Tailback Kasey Carrier comes off a 191-yard, four-touchdown effort in last week’s 35-14 win over Texas State. UNM had 370 yards rushing in that game and attempted three passes, completing one for nine yards. New Mexico already has rushed for more yards than it did all last season and its three wins matches what the school had the past three seasons combined.
Hawaii is near the bottom of the country in just about any stat that matters: passing yards No. 113 (162.4), rushing yards No. 114 (104.2), scoring offense No. 109 (20.4), scoring defense No. 123 (43.8). Throw out a 54-2 home rout of FCS Lamar, and the Warriors have allowed at least 47 points in every game and have lost each by at least 38 points. UH has allowed 969 yards rushing in its last three games.
Believe it or not, it’s hard to recruit to Hawaii because of the distance from, well, everywhere. That’s why the Warriors’ roster includes 16 junior college transfers and 11 transfers from four-year schools. One of those latter transfers is starting QB Sean Schroeder, a California native who came from Duke (where he never played a down). He is just 26-for-55 for 220 yards in the past two games and Schroeder has generated 144.2 yards a game in total offense, the worst mark in the MWC. However, Chow says there are no plans to make a move there. Schroeder is one of 21 Warriors to have made their first FBS start this season, tops in the country.
New Mexico at Hawaii Betting Odds and Trends
UNM is a 3.5-point favorite with the total at 53.5 on WagerWeb. New Mexico is 3-2 ATS this season and 1-4 “over/under”. Hawaii is 1-3 ATS and 2-2 O/U.
The Lobos are 5-0 in their past five games following an ATS win. New Mexico is 2-8 ATS in its last 10 games following a win of more than 20 points. Hawaii is 1-6 ATS in its past seven overall and has failed to cover its past six home games. The under is 6-0 in UNM’s past six road games. The over is 6-1 in Hawaii’s past seven home games.
New Mexico at Hawaii Predictions and College Football Picks
It’s homecoming at Hawaii, and the school actually has won 10 straight homecoming games. Davie, meanwhile, has to be in consideration for early MWC Coach of the Year as UNM was easily one of the nation’s top-three worst programs when he arrived.
The problem with teams playing at Hawaii is that it’s rather tough to focus on football. Davie is saying all the right things, that it’s business, no sightseeing, snorkeling, etc. I tend to believe him, so take the Lobos and give the points. I really love the under here – disregard that over trend on Hawaii home games as this isn’t a pass-happy team any longer.
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