Hawaii + 8.5 Hosting Vanderbilt Saturday Night – OutKick

The final game of college football’s opening weekend features the Vanderbilt Commodores visit the Hawaiian Rainbow Warriors at the Clarence TC Ching Athletic Complex in Honolulu.

Players will look to tie or finish ahead Saturday at Vanderbilt-Hawaii. Below I will explain why HAWAII +8.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook is a good bet to end your college football on Saturday.

Betting Details (DraftKings Sportsbook)

  • Moneyline: Vanderbilt (-315), Hawaii (+260)
  • Against the Spread (ATS): Vanderbilt -8.5 (-110), Hawaii +8.5 (-110)
  • Total: 54 — Over (-110), Under (-110)

Vanderbilt is bad

Vanderbilt finished 2-10 last season and 0-8 in SEC play. The Commodores ranked dead last in several advanced stats last season in the SEC, and by a wide margin. Vandy’s 0.096 non-garbage time points added (PPA) is almost half that of the 2nd worst team (LSU, 0.179 PPA).

Their waste-free time pass rate (33.7%) is nearly seven percentage points lower than the next closest SEC team (South Carolina, 40.2%). Vandy ranked 116th out of 130 football programs listed in both metrics last season.

On top of that, the Commodores rank 108th in returning production according to ESPN’s college football data manager Bill Connelly. But, 247Sports ranks Vanderbilt’s 2022 recruiting class 32nd and 63rd in transfer gate pickups in the country.

So I guess the question is “How bad is Hawaii?”

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors QB Brayden Schager is knocked down by Fresno State Bulldogs DB LJ Early at the Clarance TC Ching Complex in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Getty Pictures)

Hawaii is worse

The Rainbow Warriors are terrible. Well… they actually did better in PPA and in success rate differential than Vandy last season. But Hawaii has the 2nd worst returning production and 126th recruiting class. Hawaii is on its third coach in six seasons. You may remember him, Timmy Chang.

He lit it for Hawaii at quarterback from 2000 to 2004, throwing for over 4,000 yards three times and 117 career touchdowns. Chang has the 2nd most passing yards in college football history and the 11th most passing touchdowns.

I would lean towards Chang having success as Hawaii’s head coach. Chang is a Hawaiian football legend and former NFL quarterback and has held several coaching positions. Perhaps it was a desperate hire by Hawaii and an attempt to erase the stain of the previous regime.


Vanderbilt opened as a 5.5 point favorite in the consensus market and Circa Sportsbook in Las Vegas with the Commodores laying down a touchdown. But, now that Vanderbilt-Hawaii has crossed the key number of “7”, it’s time to take a stand with the Rainbow Warriors.

Vandy won’t be vying for the SEC East division crown and likely won’t be ranked this season. Of course, other conferences bow to the altar of SEC football. Yet the market consistently misinterprets Hawaii’s early games.

Since 2010, Hawaii is 8-0 ATS with an ATS margin of over 13.1 at home in Week 1. The concept being that Hawaii is a unique place to travel, especially at the start of the season. The mix of sending middle schoolers to an island in a different time zone is apparently difficult.

What have we seen from Vandy to make him more than a TD favorite on the road? The SEC and Vanderbilt talent advantage over non-Power Hawaii 5 is built into this line.

Plus, Vanderbilt’s pass defense was awful last year and doesn’t hold much hope for 2022. The Commodores’ defense ranked 118th in non-playoff time passing PPA and 107th in passing rate. success. Chang would bring an Air Raid overrun program to the Hawaii attack, which could cut out Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt was 0-2 ATS in 2021 as a favorite by a minus-26.8 ATS margin. The Commodores were beaten 23-3 by the FCS East Tennessee State Buccaneers at home in Week 1 last season.

Ultimately, the final Vanderbilt-Hawaii score will be closer to the original sports betting number than the fleshed-out market line. In fact, over three quarters of the money is on Vanderbilt by Pregame.com and 75% of sports bettors do NOT beat the house.

Typically, public bettors chase the Hawaii game at the end of College Football Saturdays. Consider waiting closer to kickoff for a better number on Rainbow Warriors plus points. But, HAWAII +8.5 (-110) is the right side.

Vanderbilt 31, HAWAII 27

  • A $110 bet on Hawaii Rainbow Warriors +8.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook nets you a profit of $100 if Hawaii wins or loses by 8 points or less.


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