Fading Hawai’i Has Been a Lucrative College Football Betting Strategy for a Decade

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Hawaii Football ATS
(Photo by Eric Broder Van Dyke)
Andrew Doughty @DoughtyBetMGM Sep 28, 2021, 10:48 PM

Lane Kiffin wasn’t thrilled with how USC won in his first game as head coach, though he didn’t take out his frustration on the Trojans’ opponent, Hawai’i, in Week 1 of the 2010 college football season.

After the Rainbow Warriors trimmed the deficit to 13 points, 49-36, with three minutes remaining at Aloha Stadium, Kiffin called seven straight run plays to kill the clock and notch the program’s first victory of the post-Pete Carroll era. In doing so, Hawai’i didn’t allow an eighth touchdown and comfortably covered the 20-point spread.

It was the first of nine straight wins against the spread (ATS) for Hawai’i, seven of which came in 2010 as they won 10 games (outright) for the fourth time in the last nine seasons. But since that nine-game ATS winning streak, they are 19-41-1, by far the worst ATS home record in college football betting (FBS, min. 40 home games) over that time.

  • 2011: 2-5
  • 2012: 3-3
  • 2013: 3-3
  • 2014: 3-4
  • 2015: 1-6
  • 2016: 1-4
  • 2017: 0-5-1
  • 2018: 3-4
  • 2019: 2-4
  • 2020: 2-3
  • 2021 (entering Week 5): 1-0

Hawai’i doesn’t have a home-field betting advantage because opponents have longer-than-usual flight times to Honlulu. If that myth is still being peddled in college football circles, it’s 100-percent false.

Similarly, the Rainbow Warriors have been awful covering on the road. Over that same period, they’re 22-35-3 ATS on the road, the fourth-worst record in college football. Only North Texas, Kansas, and UConn, have a worse road ATS winning percentage since 2011. The Rainbow Warriors have one above-.500 road ATS record over that time:

  • 2011: 1-4-1
  • 2012: 2-4
  • 2013: 4-2
  • 2014: 2-3-1
  • 2015: 2-4
  • 2016: 3-3
  • 2017: 1-5
  • 2018: 2-3-1
  • 2019: 3-3
  • 2020: 1-2
  • 2021: 1-2

Hawai’i returns home in Week 5 against Fresno State, whom they’ve played each year since 1992. They covered (+2.5) against the Bulldogs last year in a 34-19 win. It was their first outright win in the series since 2016 (and just their second since 2010) and first ATS win in the series since 2014. As of Tuesday, Sept. 28, Hawai’i is a 10.5-point underdog in college football odds.

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About the Author

Andrew Doughty

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Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM with a focus on college football, NFL, college basketball, and NASCAR. A graduate of the University of Kansas, he previously wrote for Sports Illustrated and HERO Sports.

Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM with a focus on college football, NFL, college basketball, and NASCAR. A graduate of the University of Kansas, he previously wrote for Sports Illustrated and HERO Sports.