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Hawaii Bowl betting preview

Fresno State, tri-champions of the Mountain West Conference, makes its return to bowl play after a one-year absence when it takes on Southern Methodist in the Hawaii Bowl Christmas Eve in Honolulu (8 pm ET, ESPN).

In early Hawaii Bowl betting odds the 9-3 Bulldogs were favored by 11 points over the 6-6 Mustangs of Conference USA.

Underdogs are 6-1 ATS past 7 Hawaii Bowls and the best underdog lines are available on our NCAA football odds pages.

[ More Hawaii Bowl betting trends, picks and preview information ]

View Southern Methodist vs Fresno State Odds and Stats.

Betting Line: Bettors looking to back the visiting Mustangs in this one found them as 12-point underdogs on the opening college football point spread at TopBet. The total was 59.5 earlier, check for the latest at Bovada.

SMU Bowl History

YearBowlTeam1ScoreTeam2ScoreTeam2LineATS win
2009Hawaii BowlSMU45Nevada10-11SMU
2010Armed Forces BowlArmy16SMU14-7ARMY
2011Compass BowlSMU28Pittsburgh6-4SMU

Fresno State Bowl History

YearBowlTeam1ScoreTeam2ScoreTeam2LineATS win
1999Las Vegas BowlFresno State16Utah17-5FRESNO
2000Silican Valley BowlAir Force37Fresno State34-1AIRFOR
2001Silican Valley BowlMichigan State44Fresno State35-4MICHST
2002Silican Valley BowlGeorgia Tech21Fresno State306.5FRESNO
2003Silican Valley BowlUCLA9Fresno State173FRESNO
2004MPC Computers BowlFresno State37Virginia34-6FRESNO
2005Liberty BowlTulsa31Fresno State24-7.5TULSA
2007Humanitarian BowlFresno State40Georgia Tech28-5.5FRESNO
2008New Mexico BowlFresno State35Colorado State402COLOST
2009New Mexico BowlWyoming35Fresno State28-10.5WYOMNG
2010Humanitarian BowlNorthern Illinois40Fresno State171.5N.ILL

How They Match Up:
Offensively, the game matches up Fresno State's No. 12-ranked offense (40.2 PPG) against a Mustangs defense that ranks No. 57 at 27 PPG. The Bulldogs passing attack has averaged 322.6 yards per game, more than the Mustangs give up through the air (271.2 YPG on average).

Defensively, the Mustangs feature the league's No. 42-rated road run defense, allowing 146.8 yards per game. Fresno State, meanwhile, ranks No. 65 in rushing offense at home.

In their last action, Southern Methodist was a 35-27 winner at home against Tulsa. They covered the 6-point spread as underdogs, while the combined score (62) was profitable news for OVER bettors. Garrett Gilbert tore up the turf for 111 rushing yards in the latest Mustangs game, a 35-27 win over the Golden Hurricane at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

Fresno State was a 48-15 winner in its last match at home against Air Force. They covered the 16.5-point spread as favorites, while the total score of 63 sent OVER bettors to the payout window. Derek Carr's 452-yard performance through the air was enough last time out, as Fresno State earned a 48-15 win over Air Force on Saturday at Bulldog Stadium.

Southern Methodist Mustangs Trends:
When playing in December are 1-3
When playing on turf are 6-4
After being outgained are 6-4
When an underdog on the road are 2-8

Fresno State Bulldogs Trends:
When playing in December are 3-7
When playing on turf are 4-6
After outgaining opponent are 6-4
When favored at home are 7-3

A few Mustangs at Bulldogs trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Southern Methodist's last 7 games
Southern Methodist is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
Southern Methodist is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games when playing Fresno State
Fresno State is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Fresno State is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Southern Methodist
Fresno State is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Southern Methodist