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Hawaii Bowl: Coastal Carolina vs. San Jose State Expert Pick and Prediction – December 23, 2023

Hawaii Bowl: Coastal Carolina vs. San Jose State Expert Pick and Prediction – December 23, 2023

HAWAII BOWL: COASTAL CAROLINA VS. SAN JOSE STATE EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – December 23, 2023 — It’s homecoming for San Jose State quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, who closes out his college football career in his hometown of Honolulu. Cordeiro spent the first three years of his career playing for Hawai’i, before transferring this year to San Jose State. It’ll be his second game of 2023 in his hometown, as he already led his team to a 35-0 rout of the Rainbow Warriors.

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Unfortunately, the matchup of top quarterbacks won’t materialize. Grayson McCall’s injured again and hopped into the transfer portal, so Coastal Carolina will go with Ethan Vasko under center. Vasko hasn’t been bad, but the freshman is nowhere near what McCall brought to the table. With him under center, the Chanticleers got pounded by James Madison, and in the game he missed, Army beat Coastal without ever completing a pass.

The good news for Coastal, if you want to call it that, is that passing isn’t the way you beat San Jose State. The Spartans bring the Mountain West’s second-best pass defense, which is how they dealt pass-heavy Hawai’i its first home shutout since 1998. But the running game did nothing against either Madison, Army or Texas State, and the Chanticleers can’t exactly change who they are on the fly. Without its top athletes, Coastal’s walking into a tough situation.

The Odds

Matchup Open Spread Points Moneyline
Coastal Carolina

(7-5 SU, 8-4 ATS)

O54.5 +10.5 O52.5 +300
San Jose State

(7-5 SU, 9-3 ATS) 

-9 -10.5 U52.5 -380


When: Saturday, December 23rd at 10:30 p.m. EST

Where: T.C. Ching Complex, Honolulu


Public Bets: 64% on San Jose State

Public Money: 64% on Coastal Carolina

Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of December 20th, 2023.

Coastal Carolina vs. San Jose State In-Season Trends

After a 1-5 start, San Jose State looked like it was dead in the water to the untrained eye. To those who were actually watching the Spartans, it was clear that this was a good team facing a hard schedule.

Out of their first six games, San Jose State played two Power 5 opponents (USC and Oregon State), the Mountain West champion (Boise State), the MAC runner-up (Toledo) and Air Force, along with a win over an FCS foe.

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Since the schedule got easier, the Spartans have rarely been tested. UNLV was the only opponent over the final six to stay within one score, with most losing by 20 or more.

Coastal was more of a team that went in spurts. The Chanticleers put together a five-game cover streak and a three-game cover streak, with two sets of back-to-back losses in between. The Chanticleers mostly played under because of their defense, but they couldn’t stop Army and James Madison the past two games. Coastal closed the season by giving up 23 or more in four straight games, which is anything but ideal for this game.


It’s Hawai’i in the winter, which means one of three possibilities: raining, about to rain or 80 degrees and sunny. This game’s weather appears to be door no. 3, with temperatures sitting at 82 degrees and no rain in sight.

The Difference-Makers

Ethan Vasko has been Coastal Carolina’s quarterback since taking over for an injured Grayson McCall (Photo by Nell Redmond/AP)

With Coastal’s offense in flux, the pressure is really on Vasko here. Coastal doesn’t have the ground game to hit San Jose State where they’re weakest, so Vasko will have to either try to attack the Spartans’ strength or make plays with his legs.

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San Jose State, on the other hand, has strength on the ground. Kairee Robinson and Quali Conley combined for 26 touchdowns on the ground, with both averaging more than six yards per carry. The Spartans can also pass, as Cordeiro tossing 19 touchdowns against just four interceptions. This is an offense that can move the ball from any spot on the field, as seven different receivers have hauled in a pass of at least 35 yards this season.

The Pick

San Jose State seems to have been building to this game. For the past two months, the Spartans have been on the same page and have played excellent football. With Cordeiro getting a chance to end his career in his hometown, San Jose State has plenty of motivation to send him out a winner.

Coastal’s lacking that and doesn’t have the personnel needed to properly attack this defense. The Spartans have a big advantage here in both roster and mindset, which is likely enough to earn a cover here.

Dan’s Picks  

 San Jose State -2.5 

 Under 52.5 

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