Vanderbilt vs. Hawaii Odds & Picks: The First-Half Bet to Make in Week 0

Vanderbilt vs. Hawaii Odds & Picks: The First-Half Bet to Make in Week 0 article feature image

Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Vanderbilt quarterback Mike Wright.

  • The Vanderbilt Commodores head to the island on Saturday to take on the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in a late-night Week 0 matchup.
  • Odds have been moving significantly, as the Commodores have moved from -6.5 to -9.5.
  • Read on for Collin Wilson's best bet for Vanderbilt vs. Hawaii.

Vanderbilt vs. Hawaii Odds

Saturday, Aug. 27
10:30 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Vanderbilt Odds
-110o / -110u
Hawaii Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

No opening weekend of college football would be complete without a game from the island between two teams with low season win totals.

Vanderbilt started travel plans on Sunday for a rare trip as a road favorite in Honolulu. Clarence T. C. Ching Athletic Complex will be the site for the Commodores to start Year 2 under head coach Clark Lea, who had one of the more memorable quotes at SEC Media Days.

Despite the optimism from Lea, Vanderbilt won just two games last season over Colorado State and Connecticut. The SEC slate pounded the Commodores, as Vandy lost to Georgia, Florida and Mississippi State by a combined score of 149-6.

A win here and in Week 1 against Elon will certainly have Lea steering the program in the right direction before Labor Day.

On the island, there may not be more a rebuild in all of college football than what new head coach Tommy Chang is facing with the Warriors. Allegations of abuse against former head coach Todd Graham burdened a program that already suffered after the Nick Rolovich era.

Long gone are running back Dae Dae Hunter and quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, leaving one of the lowest marks in all of college football in returning experience.

There may be multiple Year 0s ahead for Chang as the Hawaii program continues a transition in coaches, players and home field.

Vanderbilt Commodores

Both Ken Seals and Mike Wright continued their battle for the starting position of quarterback into fall camp.

Both players posted a minimum of 175 passing attempts last season, providing stabilization to the position. Wright ultimately won the job and will start against Hawaii, but improvements are needed after a lukewarm 2021 that saw more than twice the number of turnover-worthy plays as big-time throws.

The difference between the two quarterbacks comes down to evasiveness in the pocket.

Mike Wright doing Mike Wright things.

— Vanderbilt Football (@VandyFootball) September 25, 2021

Wright serves as the dual-threat player who posted 193 scramble yards and 262 yards on designed runs last season. With 12 missed tackles forced and 11 runs over 10-plus yards, the Hawaii defense will be torched without a spy in the box on Wright.

Vanderbilt will lean on an offensive line that returns 80% of returning snaps and a heavy amount of rushing yards thanks to Rocko Griffin and Re'Mahn Davis.

If there was a positive from the defense last season, finishing top-30 in opponent third-down conversions was a blinding spotlight.

Now, 75% of the defense is back to run the 4-2-5 scheme Lea ran at Notre Dame.

Anfernee Orji returns a team-leading 93 tackles and a whopping 12.5 tackles for loss, making the linebacker the best defensive player in this game.

Linebacker @AnferneeOrji led the Dores with a career-high 1️⃣3️⃣ tackles in today's

— Vanderbilt Football (@VandyFootball) December 13, 2020

Despite Lea being one of the best defensive minds in college football, the Commodores allowed at least 21 points to every opponent on the schedule last season, including East Tennessee State.

While the offense has stability in the run game behind an experienced offensive line, the defense must improve in every aspect. Vanderbilt finished dead last in Passing Downs Sack Rate, which means live bettors should look to see if pressure can be generated against a depleted Hawaii front.

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Hawaii Warriors

Chang returns to his alma mater as head coach after a number of seasons as an assistant at Nevada. Famous for setting passing records as a first-team All-WAC quarterback in 2004, Chang inherits less than 30% on both sides of the ball.

There are a number of experienced offensive linemen for the new-look scheme under coordinator Ian Shoemaker, a former coordinator for Eastern Washington at the FCS level.

There's a philosophical difference in Shoemaker's high-octane offense at the FCS level versus Chang's "Run and Shoot" preference.

The offense will be a hybrid that focuses on balance in the run-pass ratio with plenty of tempo. An RPO-based run-and-shoot attack would be tough for any defense to prepare for, but the question is whether or not any of the four quarterbacks can execute the offense.

Ronson Young scores for the second team on a 22-yard rush in OT.

Brayden Schager finds Dior Scott for nine yards on fourth-and-goal but the second team defense gets the stop on the 2-pt conversion.

FINAL | Second team 14, First team 13

— Reece Nagaoka (@reecenagaoka) August 14, 2022

There's familiarity on the defense, as longtime assistant Jacob Yoro was promoted to the coordinator position after serving various roles for Graham and Rolovich.

Yoro will also struggle with experience, as less than 30% of pressures, tackles and passes defensed return. Only two starters from last season remain on the depth chart against Vanderbilt.

The Warriors are not expected to improve a defense that severely struggled with coverage and Success Rate in passing downs.

Vanderbilt vs. Hawaii Betting Pick

If this game was played at the end of last season, Action Network would have projected the total at 48. Vanderbilt is not expected to change tempo after a middling mark of 26.1 seconds per play.

The Commodores still lack the wide receivers and quarterback arm strength to hit explosive plays in the passing game, but with Hawaii on the schedule, there's a change in philosophy.

Hawaii's new RPO run-and-shoot hybrid is expected to use plenty of tempo no matter which of the four quarterbacks starts under center. While tempo has been thrown around throughout fall camp, the Warriors already played a fast style by averaging 24 seconds per play last season.

Hawaii finished last season as the 19th-fastest team — a number that's expected to remain with the Eastern Washington flavor provided by Shoemaker.

Vanderbilt ranked 128th in Offensive Success Rate, while Hawaii's offense finished 122nd in Finishing Drives — both indicators that there may be a lack of points.

The point spread traded on both sides of Vanderbilt -7 throughout much of the summer. However, game-week steam hit the Commodores, pushing the number up to -8.5 at some shops.

Action Network projects Vanderbilt at -10, so there's little to no value on the side now that the Commodores have eclipsed the touchdown mark. The side is a no-play unless +10.5 flashes for the Warriors or -7 becomes available for Vanderbilt.

The first-half total deserves attention with consideration to each offense. Vanderbilt will look to pound the rock behind the offensive line while allowing Wright to escape a busted pocket in passing downs.

The Commodores struggle to string first downs together and are still an unproven commodity in the red zone after scoring just 16 touchdowns in 31 attempts last season.

Hawaii enters with a new scheme, head coach, coordinators and a handful of quarterbacks looking to execute a hybrid offense.

While Vanderbilt didn't play quality defense against an SEC schedule, allowing only 21 points to Colorado State on the road last season is an indication that the unit can play at the Mountain West level.

The play is on the first half under, as there are still unknowns about how Chang will call the game or make adjustments at halftime.

Pick: First-Half Under 26.5 (Play to 24.5)

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