Wolverines The Largest Chalk On The NCAAF Week 1 Odds As They Host Hawaii

Michigan Wolverines

Willie Bee

Wednesday, August 24, 2016 3:10 PM GMT

Ranked in the top 10 of both preseason polls, the Michigan Wolverines are heavy favorites on the NCAA football odds to run over the visiting Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

A lot of big things are expected from Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines this season. Whether or not the Maize & Blue fulfill those expectations remains to be seen, but 2016 should at least get started with a resounding win in front of the home fans against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors if the sports books are correct.

The march towards a possible spot in the College Football Playoffs begins on the first Saturday of the campaign with a noon (ET) kickoff on ESPN at Michigan Stadium. The Wolverines have been handed the largest Week 1 spread to cover, most shops forcing their backers to give up 41 and a few even listing the line -42. The only book to post a Moneyline for the affair is at 5Dimes where U-M is priced at -90000.

Totals are not out at many sportsbooks listed on SBR's live NCAA football odds due to Hawai'i still having a game to play before reaching Ann Arbor. Popular online sportsbooks like at BetOnline are carrying 52 for the scoreboard barrier while Heritage has it half a tick higher.

It's the third meeting between the two schools, but first at Michigan. The previous two games in 1986 and 1998 were both late-season tilts in Hawai'i where the Wolverines posted dubyas each time. They were 38 point chalk in the '98 meeting against a group of Rainbow Warriors that went winless on the season, and the Wolverines weren't quite able to live up to that spread in the 48-17 decision.

 

New Head Coach Looks To Open Warriors Offense Up
Hawaii is still trying to regroup after going 3-10 a year ago, former head coach Norm Chow axed midway through the schedule. Chris Naeole was named interim HC, and things didn't get much better with one win in four tries under him

Naeole is back to coaching the offensive line now, and he'll have four familiar faces and starters to work with on the front wall. The Rainbow Warriors went outside to hire a new head coach, but it's also a familiar face with former Hawai'i offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich returning after spending the previous four seasons as the OC at Nevada. Rolovich's first job will be to settle on a quarterback and revamp an offense that averaged less than 200 yards through the air in 2015.

All signs point to Ikaika Woolsey being under center to start Hawaii's first game against California in Australia this week. Beau Riley and Aaron Zwahlen, the latter a redshirt freshman, to run the offense that returns nine starters from last year.

 

Wolverines Again Figure To Rely On Running Game
Even if the Rainbow Warriors quickly return to their former high-flying offensive ways, the next question is can the defense do enough to stop an offense the caliber -- and size -- of Michigan's? Harbaugh has the same issue as Rolovich, finding a quarterback, but all the Wolverines might need for this game is someone to hand off to tailback tandem De'Veon Smith and Drake Johnson.

Junior Wilton Speight and senior transfer John O'Korn should both get snaps in this one, and whoever wins the job will have a massive O-line in front of them plus returning All-American Jake Butt at tight end. The defense is working in several new faces at linebacker, with Jabrill Peppers once again being counted on to wreak havoc in opponents' backfields. Still, it figures to be another solid unit as last season when Michigan ranked sixth in the country allowing 16.4 PPG.

Weather may or may not be a factor, and this far out it's impossible to precisely predict. There are some showers in the long-range forecast, and I believe a muddy track would favor the Wolverines to run away with the matchup for my free college football pick.

 

Free NCAAF Pick: Michigan -41 (-110)
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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