Easy Money: Hawaii +8.5 Hosting Vanderbilt On Saturday Night

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The final game of college football’s opening weekend features the Vanderbilt Commodores visiting the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex in Honolulu.

Gamblers will be chasing to get even or finish ahead Saturday in Vanderbilt-Hawaii. Below I’ll give you insight into why HAWAII +8.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook is a good bet to end your college football Saturday.

Betting Deets (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 .096 non-garbage time predicted points added (PPA) is almost half as much last the 2nd-worst team (LSU, .179 PPA).

Their non-garbage time success 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 charted football programs in both metrics last season.

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

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

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors QB Brayden Schager is upended by Fresno State Bulldogs DB LJ Early at the Clarance T.C. Ching Complex in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Getty Images)

Hawaii Is Worse

The Rainbow Warriors are terrible. Well… they actually graded out better in PPA and success rate differential than Vandy last season. But Hawaii has the 2nd-worst returning production and the 126th-ranked recruiting class. Hawaii is on their 3rd coach in six seasons. You might remember him, Timmy Chang.

He lit it up for Hawaii at quarterback from 2000-04, throwing for 4,000-plus yards three times and 117 career TD passes. Chang has the 2nd-most passing yards in college football history and 11th-most passing TDs.

I’d lean towards Chang having success as Hawaii’s head coach. Chang is a Hawaii football legend and former NFL quarterback and has held several coaching positions. Maybe it was a desperation hire by Hawaii and trying to remove the stain of the previous regime.


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

Vandy won’t contend for an SEC East division crown and probably won’t be ranked this season. Sure, other conferences bow at the altar of SEC football. Yet the market misreads Hawaii’s opening games consistently.

Since 2010, Hawaii is 8-0 ATS with a plus-13.1 ATS margin at home in Week 1. The concept being Hawaii is a unique travel spot, especially early in the season. The mix of sending college kids to an island in a different time zone is apparently difficult.

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

Also, Vanderbilt’s pass defense was awful last year and doesn’t have much hope coming into 2022. The Commodores’ defense ranked 118th in non-garbage time passing PPA and 107th in success rate. Chang is allegedly bringing an Air Raid passing scheme to Hawaii’s offense, which may carve up Vanderbilt.

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

The bottom line is the final score of Vanderbilt-Hawaii will be closer to the sportsbooks’ original number than the market’s steamed-up line. In fact, more than three-fourths of the cash is on Vanderbilt per 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 until closer to kickoff for a better number on the Rainbow Warriors plus the points. But, HAWAII +8.5 (-110) is the right side.

Vanderbilt 31, HAWAII 27

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

Listen to the ‘OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark’ podcast HERE.

Written by Geoff Clark

Geoff Clark serves as OutKick’s sports betting guru. As a writer and host of OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark, he dives deep into the sports betting landscape and welcomes an array of sports betting personalities on his show to handicap America’s biggest sporting events.

Previously, Clark was a writer/podcaster for USA TODAY's Sportsbook Wire website, handicapping all the major sports tentpoles with a major focus on the NFL, NBA and MLB.

Clark graduated from St. John University.

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