Hawaii vs. UCLA Odds & Betting Preview: UCLA Open Season As Big Home Favorites

The UCLA Bruins open as big home favorites across multiple sports betting platforms for their season opener against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. Do the bookies have it right with the NCAAF odds and lines?
Nikki Adams
Tue, August 24, 12:28 PM EDT

Hawaii Warriors vs UCLA Bruins Odds & Betting Preview

Date: Saturday, August 28

Time: 3:30 PM ET

Location:  Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA)

Hawaii Record: 0-0 (0-0 Mountain West)

UCLA Record: 0-0 (0-0 Pac-12 South)

Hawaii vs. UCLA Odds:

Click Here For Hawaii Vs UCLA Odds

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors vs. UCLA Bruins is up on the board and drawing dollars as kick-off at Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California fast approaches. Early NCAAF betting lines opened with the Bruins as the 16-point faves at home while the total hovers anywhere between 68 to 69 points depending on the preferred sportsbook. However, since the markets opened doors, the line has been on the move and currently sits at 17 points. Below we preview the matchup and serve up some discerning thoughts, complete with a choice NCAAF pick.

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

 2020 Record: 5-4 overall, 4-4 in Mountain West

 2020 ATS Record: 4-5-0 ATS

 2020 Total Record: 2-7-0 

 Head Coach: Todd Graham, 2nd year 

The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors finished with a 5-4-0 overall record and a 4-4-0 record in Mountain West Conference action. And yet, they capped their 2020 campaign with a dominant 28-14 win over the Houston Cougars in the New Mexico Bowl. 

It was a topsy-turvy season. Strong start and finish but with a lot of confusion and adjustment in between. Perhaps, some allowances should be made for what was a rather trying year, turned upside down by an unimaginable global pandemic that presented challenges across the entire college football landscape. On the flip side, though, their modest campaign can be attributed to cultural and schematic changes.

Todd Graham inherited a team that boasted a high-octane offense that could put the frighteners on just about any opponent; a side that went 10-5-0 overall and a 5-3-0 in conference play in 2019 and capped off its campaign with a 38-34 shootout win over BYU in the SOFI Hawaii Bowl. Under his guidance, the Warriors transformed into a defensive-minded unit predominantly. 

The defense allowed a total of 408.8 yards per game and 27.6 points on average, but it was most effective against the passing game and held opponents to an average of 197.1 yards per game. The offense didn’t blow anyone’s socks off, but it managed decent numbers. The passing game accounted for at least 200 yards per game, and the ground game also made inroads. Overall, the offense averaged a total of 398.5 yards and 26 points per game.  

Hawaii: Player(s) To Watch:

Quarterback Chevon Cordeiro enters his sophomore year with the Warriors, knowing he doesn’t have to look over his shoulders. He led the team in rushing, but, arguably, it came at the expense of the passing game. He went for 2,083 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions while also rushing for 484 yards and 7 scores last season. It would be great if improvements were there this season with more significant plays that would bump up last year’s 11 yards per pass average. Whether that happens remains to be seen. The onus is on Cordeiro to combine with his targets more often, such as Jared Smart, who led the team with 36 catches.

The Warriors look to have a good chunk of last season’s roster returning – almost 20 players in total spanning defense and offense. Consistency will be key for the Warriors as they enter the second year of Graham’s makeover and look to reach the Mountain West title game for the second time in three years. 

UCLA Bruins 

2020 Record: 3-4-0 overall, 3-4-o in Pac-12 South

 2020 ATS Record: 4-3-0 ATS

 2020 Total Record: 4-3-0

 Head Coach: Chip Kelly, 4th year

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The UCLA Bruins have managed an abysmal 10-21-0 record under Chip Kelly, with last season being particularly disappointing as the Bruins whimpered to a 3-4-0 record overall. It goes without saying, high expectations precede Kelly as he embarks on his fourth season with the Bruins. However, only time will tell if those are warranted because his record so far says otherwise. 

It bears repeating; last season was challenging for all those concerned in the NCAA sphere. At one point, it wasn’t even clear if the college football season would get underway at all. Then, after several conferences started leading the way, resuming the NCAAF action, the Pac-12 reversed course too and resumed the season – albeit late in the day. That certainly impacted the quality of football in general. 

Kelly’s Bruins suffered the consequences of that uncertainty. That showed most in the 3-4-0 SU finish on the season. On the flip side though, because all four losses were decided by merely a handful of points (combined 15 points), there’s a sense of positivity hanging over the Bruins. That UCLA may be onto something finally this season, and that encouraging outlook has transcended the betting. 

The Bruins averaged 455 yards of offense per game and an average of 35 points per game. The defense was solid in certain aspects, such as sacks—they led the Pac-12 in sacks. However, they did concede 409.9 yards per game and 30.7 points per game on average.

UCLA: Player(s) To Watch: 

With 19 starters returning to UCLA’s roster, there’s a sense of optimism about a program that now boasts a wealth of experience. Dorian Thompson-Robinson is expected to be the chosen one, but his results have been mixed. The dual-threat signal caller’s passing game was so-so: 1,120 passing yards, 12 TDs, and 4 INTs. He also rushed for 3 scores. However, Thompson-Robinson does have competition from Chase Griffin, who showed potential last season through three games In which he put up 451 yards, 6 TDs, and 2 INTs. Against Stanford Cardinals, Griffin played lit it up with 127 passing yards, 4 touchdowns, and no interceptions. 

Elsewhere, RB Brittain Brown (543 yards, 4 TDs), Michigan transfer RB Zach Charbonnet (129 yards, 1 TD), and youngster RB Kazmeir Allen will be key to the ground game. In addition, TE Greg Dulcich, who trotted up 517 yards, 5 TDs, and an average of 19.8 yards per catch, and WR Kyle Philips, who put up 370 yards, 2 TDs, and an average of 9.7 yards per catch, provide some top targets on the offense.  

Team Odds
Hawaii +17.5
UCLA -17.5

Hawaii Vs. UCLA Odds

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Hawaii vs. UCLA Preview & Predictions

UCLA is mired in its worst slump in history, and patience is running thin. It’s been five straight losing seasons. So, Chip Kelly’s warm seat is poised to get hotter if things don’t go to plan right from the start. He’s built up the team over the last few seasons, but now it’s time to begin winning again. It’s now or never. 

Books favor the Bruins for this game, despite the disappointments of last season. Suppose the thinking is that the positives far outweighed the negatives; that is, the close losses in the four games played. Additionally, rightly or wrongly, the Warriors are deemed to be a team that a Pac-12 stalwart such as UCLA should beat comfortably. But what if the Bruins are being overrated? Put it another way, this is precisely the sort of game that UCLA can blow. After all, it’s the first game of the season. The pressure is all on them…..things have a way of going against the grain in such instances.

To give the Warriors their due: Todd Graham’s first season culminated in a bowl win. With starters coming back for a second season under Graham, the Warriors have the experience to lean on too, and there’s the defense that’s coming off a solid campaign. All things being considered, the Warriors may just be catching way too many points on the NCAAF odds board, and for that reason, they practically leap off the page as the choice NCAAF pick.

Hawaii vs. UCLA Betting Pick: Warriors +17 (-110) 

Hawaii vs. UCLA Betting

As for the public betting we’ve seen for Hawaii vs. UCLA Betting, it’s been extremely lopsided.

Since the market for this game has opened, 94%% of all spread bets for this game are on UCLA to cover. Meanwhile, just 6% of bettors believe Hawaii can keep this one closer than the books are suggesting. 

Team Spread Public Betting %
Hawaii +17 6%
UCLA -17 94%

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