The college football betting previews roll on as we head to the west coast. The Pac 12 has plenty of hopes coming into the season, but what does the championship picture look like? What are some of the best season over/under bets to look at? We present the Gambling.com Pac 12 betting guide for the 2018-2019 season.
The “Conference of Champions” hasn’t been able to produce much in the College Football Playoffs (CFP) yet, joining the Big Ten in missing out entirely in 2017. Despite the best efforts of USC and Washington, the Pac-12 fell victim to cannibalization as both teams limbed into bowl season with three losses and little hope of making the Playoff. Both teams would get pounded by angry Big Ten teams in bowl season, Washington only making a late run at Penn State after going down 21 in the second quarter.
It looks to be Washington vs the pack at this point. In fact, there’s not one game on paper that Washington doesn’t have a statistical probability of winning, and their opening game is Auburn. Washington’s defense in 2017 was straight terrifying, led by the man with the longest name in football: Tevita Tuliʻakiʻono Tuipulotu Mosese Vaʻhae Fehoko Faletau "Vita" Vea. He’s gone, so it’ll be up to Greg Gaines to cause havoc on opposing offensive lines.
On offense, Washington has Heisman dark horse Jake Browning (and with his worst Heisman odds hovering around 22/1, he’s worth a bet). He led the most efficient offense in the Pac 12 last season, and the return of RB Chico McClatcher will only help things. Compile all of this, and Washington, on paper, stands above the Pac 12 North.
Their competition is Oregon and Stanford. Rivals first: Oregon is led by Justin Herbert under center. He’s been super effective when healthy, and possibly worth a Heisman look if you can find odds on him (good luck). The defense took several steps forward under Jim Leavitt, but still allowed some seriously big plays. They’ll be dangerous if they can clamp down on those.
Stanford has Bryce Love, a true Heisman favorite. David Shaw has always been a power run coach, and he’s got the back to do just that. Unfortunately, inconsistent QB play has cost the Cardinal recently. Additionally, Stanford’s defense will need to be more consistent as well. It was good enough to get them to the Pac 12 title game last year, but it might not be enough this season.
Mirroring the Big Ten, one division is stacked and one is a one horse race. USC is the team to beat in the South, but they’re going to take a few steps backward. Losing a 1st round draft pick QB is always going to hurt some, but a program like USC shouldn’t experience growing pains the whole season (usually). The defensive line will experience some of those, but the rest of the defense should be fine.
It’s hard to pick against Washington, there’s little reason they shouldn’t win the Pac 12 and book a spot in the College Ffootball Playoff. Karamba offers the best odds for them at 13/10. If you’re looking for higher reward, Stanford is likely your best bet with 11/2 odds across most the top bookmakers online.
Dark horse pick: Utah. To paraphrase, the best thing about sophomores is that they turn into juniors, and that’s the Utah offense. The defense has been steady top 40 for the past decade. Utah’s odds of 20/1 at 888sport are best on offer.
The Pac 12 isn’t expected to win the College Football Playoff, so you can get pretty good odds on the Pac 12 conference favorites. Washington is considered the Pac 12's best shot in the CFP, with the best odds sitting at 22/1 at 888sport. Behind them USC and Stanford both sit at 50/1 at William Hill, as well as Oregon at 100/1. 2018 might be the chance for the Pac 12 to truly become the Conference of Champions.