Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Hawaii vs. Arizona in College Football Week 0
Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Fred Holly III
- Our staff gives their favorite bets for Florida vs. Miami and Hawaii vs. Arizona on Saturday night, available to EDGE subscribers.
Some version of Week 0 in college football has existed since the sport began.
But for the first time in the last 15 years, we’ll have a ranked team in action in Week 0 when No. 8 Florida takes on in-state rival Miami, before what should be a fun late-night tilt in Hawaii when the Rainbow Warriors host Arizona.
Our staff has been hard at work prepping for this college football season and after much deliberation, have boiled down the two-game slate to come up with their favorite bets of the weekend. Let’s dive in.
- Bet: Hawaii-Arizona under 74
- Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
Monday, the most respected pick service in the game released a play on the over, which triggered rapid movement from 70 to 74.
There are plenty of reasons to think it will be a shootout, from the health of quarterbacks Cole McDonald and Khalil Tate to historically poor defenses to the perception that games on the Island are shootouts.
But a closer look at the advanced stats will have me laying money on the under. My projections for the total make this game 60.5.
When I subbed the 2017 Arizona offense into my projections to capture a healthy Khalil Tate, I still did not get the total to 70 in this game. And that 2017 offense was so good down the stretch that’s probably Arizona’s offensive ceiling this year.
I have turned on a line alert in The Action Network app, and will look to see when resistance comes in the market to take on under on the Action Network App.
- Bets: Hawaii 1st Half Moneyline (+275), Hawaii/Arizona Double Result (+550)
- Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
This isn’t an endorsement of Hawaii or an indictment of Arizona, but instead a bet on variance in high scoring games.
Per Bet Labs, when the full-game total is at least 60 and the full-game spread is within two touchdowns, the underdog leads at halftime in almost 38% of games. So the game must be high scoring and the two teams can’t be that far apart in ability.
With Hawaii’s first half moneyline at +275, the market is saying the Rainbow Warriors will only lead at halftime almost 27% of the time if this game were played an infinite number of times. I’d put it at more like 32-33%.
It makes sense to me anecdotally, too. There’s definitely a talent gap between the two teams, but both can score, and that talent gap won’t manifest as much over the first two quarters as it will over the full game. I’ll take a stab on Hawaii’s offense getting a late score to take the lead into the locker room.
- Bets: Florida-Miami under 47 or higher
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
The total doesn’t hold as much value as it once did, but I still like the under in Miami-Florida. However I wouldn’t go much lower than 47…if at all. I touched on the under more here.
These two coaches are extremely familiar with each other, especially on the defensive side of the ball. So, normally, I might look at an over in Week 1, knowing each coach had all summer to prepare an attack for a familiar defensive scheme.
However, I’m just not sure how either team will consistently move the ball.
Dan Mullen’s scheme is predicated on the offensive line preventing pressure, so it has time to identify and exploit the mismatches. Last year, the offensive line was excellent, led by two stud offensive tackles Martez Ivey and Jawaan Taylor. Well, both are now on NFL rosters and Florida will have to replace four OL starters in total.
That doesn’t bode well against an excellent Miami defensive front seven, which includes one of the best linebacker groups in the nation. No team was better at getting in the backfield last year as Miami, which led the country with 10.5 tackles for loss per game.
Maybe the offensive line will pan out as the season progresses but putting out four new starters against this Miami front seven is certainly not ideal.
Now, let’s look at Miami, which will not only have a freshman quarterback making his first career but also two freshmen offensive tackles.
I just can’t see the Miami offense sustaining many drives. As a result, I think Manny Diaz and Dan Enos (whose offenses have always been snails in the past) will go with a very conservative game plan to limit the mistakes that killed Miami throughout 2018.
As long as we don’t see a bunch of flukey turnovers that lead to quick scores, I like the chances of the under hitting in a game that should be controlled by both defensive fronts.
- Bet: Florida -7
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
Florida is the better team by any metric. The Gators are No. 8 in the AP Poll, No. 6 in S&P+ and No. 6 in The Action Network college football betting power rankings.
Miami wasn’t included in the preseason poll, ranks 19th in S&P+ and 26th in our power rankings.
S&P+ has the Gators winning by 10.7 points while our power ratings see Florida topping Miami by 8.5 points.
Since 2005, the SEC is 52-45-1 (54%) ATS vs. the ACC in regular season games including 32-21-1 ATS as a favorite and 10-5 ATS on a neutral field.
There is value betting on Dan Mullen’s team as a 7.5-point favorite.
- Bet: Hawaii-Arizona over 70, up to 74
- Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
There’s nothing in college football like a healthy Khalil Tate. In 2017, the electric quarterback rank for 1,411 yards, more than 9 yards per carry, and 12 touchdowns while competing 62% of his passes.
Tate suffered an ankle injury early in his first year under Kevin Sumlin and struggled adapting to Noel Mazzone’s offense, though. Despite his struggles, Arizona still finished 43rd in S&P+ offense and 21st in explosiveness.
Hawaii’s Cole McDonald also proved to be an explosive quarterback before suffering an injury in Week 5. Even with a hobbled quarterback, Hawaii’s offense ranked 23rd in explosiveness, showing they can strike quickly. The Warriors lose their leading receiver but with Cedric Byrd II and the dynamic JoJo Ward, this offense shouldn’t miss a beat.
Neither defense was good last year and one of the big reasons why was their inability to defend explosiveness. Arizona ranked 96th in defensive IsoPPP+ while Hawaii came in 109th. Both of these defenses are in the top-11 in returning defensive production so last year’s numbers hold significant weight. Arizona wants to run the ball on offense but I don’t think Hawaii will be able to stop them at all.
These are two of the best quarterbacks in the country when fully healthy and all reports suggest they’re good to go. They’ll be lining up behind offensive lines that should have an advantage over the defensive linemen across from them.
I put in a bet on The Action Network app at over 70 a couple weeks ago and the total has climbed up to 74. I still feel confident in an over at that number.