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Middle Tennessee vs San Diego State Prediction, Odds and College Football Betting Picks for Hawai’i Bowl

The annual Christmas Eve tradition that is the Hawai’i Bowl returns on Saturday night with a matchup between the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders and the San Diego State Aztecs. After struggling early on, both teams put together strong finishes to the season to secure bowl eligibility and a trip to Honolulu. The Middle Tennessee vs San Diego State odds and college football betting picks have pegged the Mountain West representative as a touchdown favorite for this Christmas Eve showdown.

The following game preview provides the college football betting odds, trends and FEI Index ratings before sharing our official Middle Tennessee vs San Diego State prediction for the Hawai’i Bowl matchup.

Middle Tennessee vs San Diego State Prediction | College Football Betting Picks

Hawai’i Bowl
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (7-5, 4-4 CUSA) vs. San Diego State Aztecs (7-5, 5-3 MWC)
Date: Saturday, December 24, 2022
Time: 8 p.m. EST
Venue: Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex — Honolulu, HI
Coverage: ESPN

Middle Tennessee got a brief moment in the national spotlight early in the season when it sprung a Power 5 upset over Miami. Unfortunately, the Blue Raiders failed to carry that momentum into Conference USA. Losses in each of the first three league games quickly eliminated MTSU from contention. However, the Blue Raiders closed the regular season by winning four of their final five games to become bowl-eligible. Senior quarterback Chase Cunningham finished fourth in C-USA in passing yards for the year.

Much like its Hawai’i Bowl opponent, San Diego State also got better as the season went on after a slow start. The Aztecs were a sub-.500 team at the end of September but went on to win five of their last seven games. SDSU’s defense was stout all year, and the offense improved significantly in the second half once Jalen Mayden took over at quarterback. However, consistency was still lacking, evidenced by the Aztecs only managing to score three points in a loss to Air Force in the regular-season finale.

Jalen Mayden Middle Tennessee vs San Diego State prediction odds college football betting picks Hawai'i Bowl predictions
Credit: Gary Kazanjian / Associated Press

Middle Tennessee vs San Diego State College Football Betting Picks and Odds

All college football betting odds for Middle Tennessee vs San Diego State can be found at BetOnline Sportsbook.

Moneyline: MTSU: (+210) | SDSU: (-250)
Point Spread: MTSU: +7 (-114) | SDSU: -7 (-106)
Total: 48.5 — Over: (-110) | Under: (-110)

College Football FEI Ratings

The following table shares the Fremeau Efficiency Index rankings for both teams involved in this Hawai’i Bowl matchup. The purpose of the FEI ratings is to represent the per-possession scoring advantage that a team would be expected to have on a neutral field against an average opponent. The rankings for offense and defense are out of 131 total FBS-level teams.

Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) ratings are froFootball Outsiders

TeamOverall FEI (Rk)OFEI (Rk)DFEI (Rk)
Middle Tennessee-.52 (107)-.62 (101)-.54 (104)
San Diego State-.26 (85)-.91 (123).13 (49)
  • Blue Raiders are 5-1 ATS in their last six non-conference games.
  • The OVER is 7-0 in the Blue Raiders’ last seven games following a straight up win.
  • Each of the Blue Raiders’ last five bowl games has gone OVER the total.
  • Aztecs are 9-1 ATS in their last ten games when their opponent finished with a turnover margin of +3 or better in their previous game.
  • The UNDER is 13-2 in the Aztecs’ last 15 games following a straight up loss.
  • Aztecs are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games after rushing for less than 100 yards in their previous game.
  • Aztecs defeated their most recent Conference USA opponent, UTSA, by 14 in last year’s Frisco Bowl.

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Middle Tennessee vs San Diego State Prediction | College Football Betting Picks

Unlike many other bowl games, the Hawai’i Bowl is not expected to be impacted by players opting out and/or entering the transfer portal. With motivation and bowl game coaching experience also believed to be even between the two teams, bettors can focus on simply handicapping the Middle Tennessee vs San Diego State odds at face value. 

It should be noted that the point spread has moved three points or more across the market relative to the Las Vegas opening number of San Diego State -3.5. Bettors must try to discern not only why the move has transpired but also whether or not the adjustment has gone too far.

There is no disputing the fact that San Diego State’s defense will be the best unit on the field in Honolulu. While the Aztecs’ offense improved immensely over the course of the season, the unit has still lacked consistency since dual-threat QB Jalen Mayden took over under center. Provided that Middle Tennessee can keep him from breaking off big plays with his legs, it’s difficult to have much confidence in the SDSU offense.

Although the Blue Raiders’ team stats aren’t great, veteran quarterback Chase Cunningham is certainly capable of making plays. With the added time to prepare for this bowl game, Rick Stockstill and his coaching staff figure to have a solid game plan in place.

What’s more, Middle Tennessee is no stranger to being faded heavily as an underdog in the postseason. The Blue Raiders managed to win its bowl game outright last year despite closing as a 10-point underdog.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE COVERS will be our official college football betting Middle Tennessee vs San Diego State prediction for the Hawai’i Bowl.

For what it’s worth, the ESPN Matchup Predictor gives San Diego State a 53.4% chance to win this game outright.

Bet: Middle Tennessee +7 (-114 at BetOnline Sportsbook)

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