The Washington Huskies begin the Chris Petersen era and hope he can lead the team to the type of 92-12 mark he achieved at Boise State in the previous eight years.
Petersen could not beat the Huskies in last year’s season opener, losing 38-6, so he joined them and now faces a much easier opponent to kick off 2014. His new team visits the Hawaii Warriors on Saturday.
Point Spread: Washington opened as 21.5-point favorites; the total was 58.5 at Aloha Stadium, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).
Odds Shark Computer Prediction: 43.3-18.9 Huskies
Why Washington Can Cover the Spread
Washington plays in a far superior conference in the Pac-12 compared to the Mountain West, where Hawaii went winless a year ago at 0-8 straight up and just 3-5 against the spread.
Petersen will also find that he has much better talent with the Huskies, even though they will eventually face tougher competition down the road in conference play.
Under former head coach Steve Sarkisian, Washington went 5-1 ATS in its last six nonconference games, and his replacement may be considered an upgrade based on his history at Boise State. The Huskies have also covered the last two meetings with the Warriors, splitting the games straight up.
Why Hawaii Can Cover the Spread
Hawaii has also enjoyed great success against nonconference opponents recently, beating the line in five straight games under that scenario, including three times as a double-digit underdog.
Opponents have also been known to have trouble staying focused in beautiful Honolulu, which is normally considered a prime vacation destination.
USC and Fresno State both failed to cover in each of the first two home games for the Warriors last season, as they also beat the number in three of their first four overall. And of Hawaii’s 11 consecutive losses to start last year, only three were decided by more than 17 points.
But they face a team that has failed to cover the past four season openers.
The Warriors will get what could end up being an added bonus here, as Washington's projected starting quarterback, sophomore Cyler Miles, is suspended for the season opener due to an offseason altercation.
Miles got some experience last year backing up the departed Keith Price, and now the Huskies will turn to fellow sophomore Jeff Lindquist to run Petersen’s offense.
Lindquist has appeared in only three games without attempting a pass, and he could fall into the dangerous trap of struggling mightily with his first career start coming on the road. For that reason, it may be a good idea to fade Washington and back Hawaii in this spot.
- Warriors have not won as double-digit home dog since 1997
- Hawaii is 6-1 ATS vs. Pac-12 since 2009
- Past four Hawaii openers have been ATS covers and over bets
- Huskies are 0-4 ATS past four openers
All point-spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark, and all quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury updates and line-move updates, and get the free odds tracker app.