Hawaii Vs Cal College Football Week 1 Expert PickNoah Williams
Welcome to the first game of the 2016 College Football betting season. Sure, the California Golden Bears hosting the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors may not be the most glamorous matchup on the 2016 Week 1 NCAA football schedule, but it is a contest that is offering a ton of value, which is ultimately, the most important thing for collegiate gridiron gaming enthusiasts.
Now, let’s find out why this matchup, which takes place ‘down under’ in Sydney, Australia, is so attractive to college football bettors.
College Football Week 1 Hawaii Warriors vs. California Golden Bears Odds & Expert Pick
What: College Football Week 1
Who: Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (0-0) vs California Golden Bears (0-0)
When: Friday, August 26, 2016
Start Time: 10:00 PM ET
Where: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Stadium: ANZ Stadium
Spread: Cal -22.5
Moneyline: Hawaii +925 vs Cal -1400
Game Total: 63
Stream: Watch ESPN
Listen: Hawaii vs California
Why Bet The Hawaii Warriors at +22.5
The best reason to bet on Hawaii in their College Football week 1 tilt is that they’re getting a whopping 22.5 points on the spread as a neutral site underdog.
After never winning more than four games in four seasons under former head coach Norm Chow, Hawaii turns over the reins of its program to former program quarterback Nick Rolovich and that change alone should give the Rainbow Warriors (3-10 SU, 3-10 ATS) a big morale boost in 2016.
Hawaii has nine returning starters on offense including dual-threat signal-caller Ikaika Woolsey, but the Rainbow Warriors will likely lean heavily on senior running back Paul Harris who enters 2016 looking to improve on his 1,000-yard campaign from last season.
Defensively, Hawaii has just six returning starters – and some serious question marks after ranking 105th nationally in points allowed (35.6 ppg) last season.
Why Bet the California Golden Bears at -22.5
The Bears are a good bet in this Week 1 matchup because they’re superior to Hawaii in all three phases of the game. But should you bet on Cal at -22.5 points on the College Football spread?
Head coach Sony Dykes will turn to Texas Tech transfer Davis Webb to replace former starter Jared Goff, the No. 1 pick in this year’s NFL Draft.
California (8-5 SU, 6-7 ATS) also lost its top six receivers from last year’s team, so clearly, the Golden Bears will have a different look to their passing attack in 2016. The good news is that Dykes could lean on his rushing attack more as he has three running backs on the roster that all rushed for at least 500 yards a year ago.
Defensively, Cal lost its best player when linebacker Hardy Nickerson Jr. transferred to Illinois to play for his father. The defensive line looks solid, but the secondary is weak, particularly at safety and at cornerback opposite returning starter Darius Allensworth.
My College Football Week 1 Expert Pick & Final Score Prediction
Simply put, without an experienced quarterback like Jared Goff leading them into battle, I just don’t see Cal beating Hawaii by three touchdowns-plus.
While Cal has gone 3-2 ATS over their last five regular season openers, the Rainbow Warriors have compiled a perfect 5-0 ATS mark over the same span while also posting a respectable 6-7 ATS mark over the last five seasons in games which they a 20-plus-point underdogs.
California gave up an overly generous 30.6 points per game in 2015 to finish 89th in points allowed and I suspect they won’t score the ball as well as they did in finishing 17th in scoring like they did under Goff’s guidance last season (37.9 ppg).
Hawaii might have averaged pitiful 17. 6 points per game last season while allowing whopping 35.6 per contest defensively, but I expect the Rainbow Warriors to be bit better on both sides of the ball in 2016, making Hawaii the easy pick to keep the final score somewhere around a two-touchdown difference and cover the spread in this opener.
My Pick: Cal 35 Hawaii 21