Analysis and Odds
Michigan has big plans this season with Jim Harbaugh in his second year. Ranked as the No. 7 team in the preseason polls and one of the favorites to reach the College Football Playoff, the hype is there for the Wolverines. Part of that has to do with a favorable Schedule that has them in five home Games to start the year. First up is Hawaii, who lost a shootout to California 51-31 in Australia. Unsurprisingly, the Wolverines are a -40 point favorite with a total of 54.5 as seen at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
Michigan’s defense was the main reason for their success a year ago, often dominating opponents. In fact, they went a stretch of allowing just 14 points through five Games early in the year. While they lose some faces and bring in a new defensive coordinator, the Wolverines still have multiple big-name playmakers. All-American Jabrill Peppers moves to more of a hybrid strong-side linebacker spot, while another All-American in cornerback JOurdan Lewis returns. To go with top-end recruiting, expect one of the best defenses in the country again for the Wolverines.
Hawaii isn’t exactly a team to take lightly, especially after scoring 31 points in the opener, but that was against the porous defense of California. Ikaika Woolsey is an acceptable quarterback, but is nothing special. It was the running Game that went for 248 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. But it’ll be almost impossible for them to reach that total in Ann Arbor. The Rainbow Warriors may be better than a year ago, but it’ll be hard for them to reach double-digits in this Game.
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It was only a year ago that Hawaii travelled to Ohio State and was shutout 38-0. The spread for this Game is at 40 points for a reason, and maybe partly because of that result.
On the other end, the Warriors aren’t much better after being one of the worst in the country last season. They allowed 51 points to California, but that’s kind of run of the line against that offense. The question will be if the Michigan offense can match that total.
The first thing for Harbaugh to do is to name a starter, if he hasn’t already within the team. The battle is between transfer John O’Korn and sophomore Wilton Speight. Whoever gets the call will have an extremely favorable matchup against a secondary that allowed 441 yards and Four TDs through the air in the first Game. With receivers Amara Darboh, Jehu Chesson and Jake Butt still there, the quarterback will have options.
But that’s not to say they won’t run the ball. De’Veon Smith should get a large workload along with Drake Johnson. Considering California ran for 189 yards against Hawaii, the Wolverines could go for 300-plus if they focus on the run Game most of the way.
This spread mostly depends on how good Michigan’s defense is this year. If they want to match last year’s group, they’ll need to hold the Rainbow Warriors scoreless. And even with an unknown at quarterback, 40 points will be attainable against the Hawaii defense, which will be traveling from Australia to Hawaii and to Michigan in the matter of two weeks.
Our Pick – Hawaii/Michigan OVER 54.5