Rice-Hawaii Bet to Watch: Is America’s Favorite Team Overvalued?

Rice-Hawaii Bet to Watch: Is America’s Favorite Team Overvalued? article feature image

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Nahshon Ellerbe

Rice at Hawaii Betting Odds

  • Spread: Hawaii -17.5
  • Over/Under: 70
  • Time: 12 a.m. ET (Sunday)

Could it be? Is Hawaii America’s new favorite college football team?

After two weeks, it sure seems like it. The Rainbow Warriors shocked both Colorado State and Navy, restoring offensive prowess to a program that could pretty much name its own score about a decade ago.

Rice survived an upset bid from FCS Prairie View A&M in Week 0, but bounced back with a cover against Houston last Saturday as 25-point underdogs. The Owls led for a good chunk of the game and controlled the ball before falling apart late.

Key Metric

  1. These numbers are based in large part on the preseason, but FootballOutsiders’ S&P+ still ranks Hawaii’s defense as the worst in FBS despite those two upset wins. The offense ranks 25th.
  2. Rice has played at one of the slowest paces in the country through two weeks, running just 1.98 plays per minute (11th-slowest). The Owls also rank top 20 in average drive time.

Hawaii-Rice Bet to Watch

The world has fallen over the rainbow in love with quarterback Cole McDonald and Hawaii.

Coach Nick Rolovich’s new run-and-shoot offense has produced two straight-up victories as double-digit underdogs and nearly 1,000 total yards for McDonald in just two games.

When I saw this number, I knew there would be a late-night play. My power ratings make this a 7-point ball game, while no other power-ratings system has Hawaii as a double-digit favorite. Have none of us adjusted the Rainbow Warriors far enough to have a truly accurate picture of Rolovich’s team? Or are oddmakers baiting you into taking a red-hot Hawaii?

Rice has two games under its belt, and head coach Mike Bloomgren has brought a couple of characteristics over from Stanford, where he was the Cardinal’s offensive coordinator. The Owls are plus-two in net turnovers and rank fourth in the country in time of possession.

If you want to stop McDonald and Hawaii’s offense, it may be in your best interest to play keep away with the ball. Rice had four drives of more than seven plays against Houston in the second half last week, and I expect a grind from the Owls to close out the night.

That puts value on a huge underdog line.

Play On: Rice +17.5