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Hawaii-Vanderbilt Pick & Prediction: Saturday’s Total a Sharp Target (August 26)

It’s here: Week 0 has arrived, and that means it’s time to start betting on college football again. Every week, I’ll post my top college football picks by Monday and provide an update before each game — you can check out all of my college football Week 0 picks here. Let’s dig into today’s Hawaii-Vanderbilt betting odds as we make our predictions and pick the best college football Week 0 bet!

Looking for more 2023 college football predictions? OddsShopper’s experts are here to break down this college football season — make sure to check out the rest of our college football articles, including our best bets for Week 0. If you still need more picks, our market-based betting model might just be for you– or try it out now!

Hawaii-Vanderbilt Pick Week 0 Pick & Betting Prediction

Hawaii-Vanderbilt Betting Odds

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Hawaii: +680 | Vanderbilt: -1100
Hawaii +17.5: -115 | Vanderbilt -17.5: -105
Over 55.5: -110 | Under 55.5: -110

Hawaii-Vanderbilt Pick & Prediction

The Vanderbilt Commodores will host the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at a still-under-construction FirstBank Stadium in Nashville. Capacity is reduced from 28,500 to 40,350 as a result of the changes, which are supposed to be completed before the 2024 campaign. Although the ‘Dores aren’t a contender to win the SEC — or even to win the SEC East — they have been on an upward trend under head coach Clark Lea. After a tough 2-10 debut in 2021, Lea led the ‘Dores to 5-7 and a pair of SEC wins in 2022. The books expect a similar showing from Vanderbilt in 2023, as they own a win total of 4.5.

The total for this game has mostly remained the same since we bought the over at 55.5 in the early week column, but some books are getting a bit more aggressive. Caesars has already gassed it up to 56.5. Pinnacle, a sharp book, lists it at 56. It remains to be seen if the market is trending toward a higher number, but it’s better to be on the safe side and buy the over at 55.5 now than to risk losing out and having to buy it at 56 or higher.

Last year’s meeting between these teams was ugly, but it also came at a time of transition for Hawaii. Vanderbilt closed as a 6.5-point favorite and the total closed at 54.5, but the ‘Dores won 63-10, easily covering the spread and cashing the over by themselves. But the Hawaii team Vanderbilt faced then slowly congealed as the season progressed, and rookie head coach Timmy Chang led them to home wins against Nevada and UNLV. Still, Hawaii ended the year ranked a disastrous 127th in the FEI, far behind 72nd-ranked Vanderbilt.

It makes sense to see Vanderbilt listed as a much larger favorite for this year’s rematch, but it’s surprising to see the total mostly unchanged. These defenses were terrible last year and didn’t do much to get better. Vanderbilt ranked 129th in yards allowed per play (6.8) while Hawaii ranked 127th (6.7). Although the ‘Dores did have to contend with elite SEC competition, their 125th-place ranking in yards allowed per pass attempt (8.6) will make stopping a Chang-coached, pass-happy attack quite difficult — Hawaii threw the ball 56.1% of the time last year.

Both sides have the offensive playmakers necessary to put points on the board. Vanderbilt has second-year quarterback A.J. Swann, who recorded a reasonable passing efficiency grade of 126.8 across nine starts last year. He’ll get big-bodied boundary receiver Will Sheppard back, which is massive — Sheppard caught two touchdowns against the Rainbow Warriors last year. The Rainbow Warriors will turn to quarterback Brayden Schager, who has an extra year of experience under his belt and got to see the Vanderbilt defense firsthand last year. I don’t get why this total isn’t higher after last year’s scoring fest, so the over has to be one of our college football Week 0 picks.

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Hawaii-Vanderbilt Week 0 Pick: Over 55.5 -110 at FanDuel

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Isaiah Sirois

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Isaiah Sirois

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