College Football is one of the most highly-anticipated sports to return each and every year. In 2021, the anticipation is higher than ever with the return of fans in the stands and, hopefully, a sense of normalcy. College football Week 0 lines include our game of the week – the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at UCLA Bruins.
Each week, TheLines will choose a game from the college football slate that bettors should keep an especial eye on. Included is a market analysis, a game breakdown, and a look at the numbers being offered at different sportsbooks.
Week 0 Game of the Week: Hawaii at UCLA
Hawaii and Week 0
There’s a reason this game is listed with the highest point total. Since 2016, Hawaii has been an annual contestant in the Week 0 festivities. In that time, the Rainbow Warriors are 3-1 and those games have had an average point total of 78.9 points (note: Hawaii did not participate in Week 0 in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic). The over hit in all four of those games.
This year, Hawaii travels to their closest Week 0 game yet at the Rose Bowl. Their point total with UCLA is , high by typical standards, but modest compared to Hawaii’s recent history.
Battle of the quarterbacks
Measuring 2020 success is tough when it comes to most programs, but especially in the Pac-12. UCLA played just seven total games (3-4). Their strength of schedule within the conference was rough, handling Oregon and Arizona State both on the road and hosting unbeaten USC. Star quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson returns as does a majority of the offensive line and defense. DTR recorded 40 total touchdowns in just 16 games over the past two seasons.
Sophomore quarterback Chevan Cordeiro returns for Hawaii after a solid freshman outing. He passed for over 2,000 yards and 14 touchdowns while adding seven touchdowns on the ground in 2020. Though Hawaii’s offense faltered last season, their highlight ability did not; they also return 10 of 11 defensive starters.
While Hawaii may not field the same amount of talent as UCLA, their feisty playmakers could make things interesting.
In short, UCLA () is a heavy favorite for good reason. As a Pac-12 program, the Bruins have a wide talent gap between them and the Rainbow Warriors. 2020 saw UCLA improve vastly on defense while still taking on the conference’s toughest teams (Oregon, Arizona State, and USC). Their yards per play allowed improved by 1.27 yards, tied for the biggest improvement in the nation (6.5 ypp allowed in 2019 to 5.6 ypp allowed in 2020).
With superstars like Thompson-Robinson, UCLA is looking like they will be able to outpace Hawaii this game. If it came down to defense, UCLA’s shown the chops to get stops when they need.
While Hawaii runs an uptempo offense– their 74.1 plays per game is in the top-third of the FBS– UCLA runs one of the fastest offenses in the nation. Head coach Chip Kelly, who is a pioneer in the no-huddle offense, led UCLA to 75.9 plays per game in 2020 (29th) and a blistering 79.3 plays per game in 2019 (fifth). Hawaii allowed 5.6 yards per play in 2020 (68th) and 6.4 yards per play in 2019 (111th).
At UCLA’s average pace of play between 2019 and 2020, we can expect them to pick up 465 yards in this game (based on Hawaii’s average yards allowed per play between 2019 and 2020). Using the same method, Hawaii should see between 380-415 yards of offense themselves.
With an expected offensive showcase, the over () could be under stress from the opening bell.
Where is the money going?
Before diving in, let’s take a look at some definitions. Handle refers to the total amount of money bet on the game. Ticket share and “total bets” refer to the total number of bets on the game.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, UCLA to cover the spread commanded 77% of the total handle and 94% of the total bets outright, as of August 25. Due to that much money coming in on the Bruins, the spread shifted from an opening mark of UCLA -16 on July 7.
However, Hawaii is getting looks to cover the spread; their 39% of the ticket share is Hawaii’s largest backing in the market.
The under is also an overwhelming favorite, with 90% of the handle and 72% of the tickets landing on the under. The influx of money brought the point total down from 70 on August 7.
College Football Week 0 Lines
|Date||Game||Line (Click To Bet)|
|8/28||Nebraska @ Illinois||NEB|
|8/28||UConn @ Fresno State||FRES|
|8/28||Hawaii @ UCLA||UCLA|
|8/28||UTEP @ New Mexico State||UTEP|
|8/28||Southern Utah @ San Jose State||SJSU|