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Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at UCLA Bruins Odds & Game Pick (2021)

by August 25, 2021

College Football is back!

This “Week 0” slate doesn’t provide us with the best matchups, but it’s still a nice little appetizer. Only two games feature Power 5 teams, and this UCLA vs. Hawaii contest represents one of them. 

Both teams should be ready to rock from the Rose Bowl. This game will be an afternoon game on ESPN, slated to kick-off at 3:30 ET. Of course, it will be 12:30 pm local time in California. 

UCLA steps in as home favorites of 17 points in this matchup. The total lands at 69 points, one of the highest within this brief Week 0 slate. In other words, we could see some offensive fireworks from both sides in this battle out west. A highly watchable back-and-forth contest could ensue. 

Let’s cover all the betting angles of this Saturday afternoon showdown.

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Bet $20, Win $100 if UCLA Wins or Loses Against Hawaii >>


  • Spread: UCLA  -17.5
  • Over/Under: 68.5
  • Last meeting: UCLA won 56-23 in 2017
  • Location: Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA 
  • Kickoff: 3:30 ET
  • TV: ESPN
o 68.0
u 68.0
Saturday 3:30 PM EDT – ESPN | Rose Bowl


UCLA has had problems lately. Last year’s 3-4 campaign marked their fifth losing season in a row. Head Coach Chip Kelly had high expectations when taking over for the Bruins, but things haven’t exactly gone his way over the last three seasons. Luckily, he’s dealing with an experienced QB and confident backfield to spearhead UCLA’s attack in 2021. 

The Bruins bring back 20 starters, including QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who showed plenty of improvement last season. He has an experienced offensive line ahead of him to go along with six of his top seven receivers from 2020.

UCLA brings back 10 players on defense, and that unit ranked second-best in the Pac-12 for rushing yards allowed last season. However, the Bruins ranked 113th nationally in opponent passing yards per contest in 2020. Hawai’i will look to attack that vulnerability on Saturday.

This is not the same Hawaii team from previous seasons. Throwing the ball all over the field is less of a priority for the Rainbow Warriors. Instead, they focus on an efficient rushing attack with the help of dual-threat QB Chevan Cordeiro. Of course, Hawaii will need him to throw the ball downfield to take advantage of UCLA’s suspect pass defense. Playmakers like Calvin Turner and Jared Smart should help him out in that regard. 

For defense, Hawaii ranked 23rd in the nation at stopping the pass. On the other hand, they were 100th in run defense while allowing 5.1 yards per carry. We mentioned earlier that UCLA has an explosive backfield, so RBs Brittain Brown and Zach Charbonnet could have plenty of running room. 


  • UCLA is 0-6 in non-conference games under Chip Kelly. 
  • UCLA is 2-6 ATS as a home favorite under Chip Kelly. 
  • Hawai’i beat Houston 28-14 in their last game, which was the Hawai’i Bowl. 

Bottom Line 

It’s difficult to trust UCLA’s defense to keep this one within the number. For that reason, it certainly feels like Hawaii +17 (hopefully, you can still get +17.5 or +18) or nothing here. The Rainbow Warriors could legitimately stay in this game right to the end. There’s always the potential for a backdoor cover, given that UCLA may play conservatively if they are winning by a few scores late in the game. 

Either way, I believe Hawaii has the talent to stay with the Bruins on Saturday, so go ahead and look towards the visiting side against the spread. 

The Pick: Hawaii +17.5 (-112 at FanDuel Sportsbook)

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Johnny Perun is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Johnny, check out his archive and follow him @JohnnyCovers.

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