Arizona Wildcats (0-0) at Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors (0-0)
College Football: Saturday, August 24th, 2019 at 10:30 PM ET (Aloha Stadium)
Moneyline: Arizona Wildcats (-380), Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors (+350)
Spread: Arizona Wildcats (-11, -105), Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors (+11, -105)
Khalil Tate and Cole McDonald face off in a matchup between two of the most dynamic players in college football as the Arizona Wildcats travel west to face the Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors. After emerging as a threat for the Heisman Trophy in 2017, Khalil Tate struggled in 2018 when he was hampered by injuries. He and the Wildcats look to bounce back by doing what they couldn’t last year – win early. Arizona lost its first two games of the season last year: a 28-23 defeat at home against BYU followed by a 45-18 rout against Houston and D’Eriq King (another dynamic quarterback and a dark horse Heisman candidate this season). Unlike the Wildcats, the Rainbow Warriors got off to a fast start in 2018 by going 5-1 before sputtering in the second half of the season to finish 5th in Mountain West. Subscribe now to Cover The Spread 365 to find out why you should take the Rainbow Warriors and the 11 points in tonight’s late night matchup.
Arizona Wins if…
QB Khalil Tate and RB J.J. Taylor have themselves a day. It’s going to take a ton of points to win this one, and the Wildcats will try to do most of their damage on the ground and the Hawai’i defense that allowed 204.6 rush yards per game last year (103rd out of 130 teams). Will we see the healthy Khalil Tate of 2017 who averaged 9.2 yards per rush, or will we see the 2018 version who ran for just 3.0 yards per carry? I believe it will be the former, and J.J. Taylor, who had 1,434 yards rushing and 5.6 yards per carry, will also play a pivotal role in the run-pass option. Look for Arizona to utilize their speed on the edges and set up some deep shots for Tate down the middle. Arizona will be rebuilding its passing attack after losing their top 4 receivers from last year, but look for the Wildcats to pound the ground game to set up the pass.
Hawai’i Wins if…
Their defense forces turnovers. The Rainbow Warriors return an experienced team with 18 starters. On offense, having a veteran offensive line and every skill position player returning except star WR John Ursua will be huge. Cole McDonald is one of the best kept secrets in college football, and he will have a chance to shine against a poor Arizona pass defense. U of A was 115th in the nation in pass completion percentage allowed last year at 63.9%. They also finished 121st in pass yards per game allowed with 269.5. Cole McDonald wasn’t the same in the second half of the season last year as an injury limited his running ability – a key part of the read option employed in Hawai’i’s “Run and Shoot” offense. Despite the injury, McDonald still finished last year with the 6th most passing touchdowns (36) and 8th most passing yards (3,875).
Expect the Rainbow Warriors to move the chains with ease and put points on the board, but they will need to force turnovers to break serve and win because (as aforementioned) they will have trouble stuffing the Arizona rushing attack. Kaimana Padello led the team with 8.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss last season. He will need to step up for the Rainbow Warriors to win as the team finished last in interceptions gained and fumbles recovered in 2018.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
Arizona are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games.
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Arizona’s last 5 games.
Arizona are 5-10 SU in their last 15 games.
Arizona are 1-7 SU in their last 8 games on the road.
Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors
Hawaii are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 games.
Hawaii are 2-5 SU in their last 7 games.
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Hawaii’s last 6 games at home.
Hawaii are 1-10 SU in their last 11 games against an opponent in the Pacific 12 conference.
College Football Free Picks Arizona Wildcats vs Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors
Expect a shootout with the Wildcats edging the Rainbow Warriors by single digits. The leading returning receivers for Hawai’i, Cedric Byrd II and Jojo Ward, combined for 130 receptions and 1,835 yards. Don’t be surprised if Ward, who averaged 16.96 yards per reception, takes the top off the Arizona defense at some point tonight. This has all the makings of a shootout, but we will lean with the 11 points and the underrated Cole McDonald in his second season running the Run and Shoot offense. The experience of the Hawaii O Line and skill position players give them a chance combined with the momentum of a home crowd on the season opener. Pick the Rainbow Warriors and the points, and don’t be surprised if they pull the upset.