2017 Pac-12 Football Betting Preview

2017 Pac-12 Football Betting Preview

2016 was an eventful year for the Pac-12. After an 11-1 regular season, Washington won their first conference championship since 2000, and represented the conference in the College Football Playoff. The Huskies playoff invitation allowed USC to play in what was arguably the most exciting game of the season, a 52-49 Rose Bowl win against Penn State. It also marked the first time a Pac-12 team played in the Rose Bowl without first playing in the Pac-12 Championship (since the championship game was introduced in 2011).

The conference also featured several outstanding individual talents. Quarterbacks Sam Darnold (USC), Jake Browning (Wash.), Luke Falk (WSU), and Davis Webb (Cal) all had tremendous seasons in 2016, with Darnold ultimately establishing himself as the Heisman favorite entering 2017. Webb was drafted in the 3rd round of the NFL Draft by the Giants, but Browning and Falk will both be returning to their respective schools, making for what should be another exciting year in the Pac-12 (at least on the offensive side).

Of course the conference will be missing perhaps its most exciting player from 2016, former Stanford back Christian McCaffrey, who was drafted 8th overall by Carolina, and is expected to compete for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

As a whole, the Pac-12 had five of the top 20 teams in the final College Football Playoff rankings (Washington, USC, Colorado, Stanford, Utah), the most of any conference. Here’s how those teams are expected to fare in 2017.

2017 Futures

TeamWin Pac-12
(8/12 5Dimes)
Make/Miss CFP
(8/12 5Dimes)
Win National Championship
(8/12 5Dimes)
Win Total
(8/12 5Dimes)
USC+112+145/-185+82510 (o-120)
Washington+305+425/-675+235010 (o-155)
Stanford+1020+1600/-4800+110008.5 (o-125)
UCLA+1020+1800/-5400+103006.5 (o-165)
Oregon+1650+1700/-5100+115008 (u-135)
Washington State+1650+1900/-5700+160007.5 (o-130)
Colorado+4000+6000/-24000+350007.5 (u-175)
Utah+4000+5500/-21500+350006.5 (u-120)
Arizona State+5500+8000/-35000+600005 (u-140)
Oregon State+11000N/A+2500005.5 (u-170)
Arizona+11000N/A+4000005.5 (u-140)
California+50000N/A+7500003.5 (u-130)

Behind Sam Darnold, USC is carrying over a 10-game win streak from last season, a trend that should continue in 2017. The Trojans are +112 to win the conference, followed by Washington at +305, implying that oddsmakers are expecting a USC vs. Washington 2017 Pac-12 Championship Game. USC is also +825 to win the National Championship, tied with Ohio State for the second best odds in the country, behind only Alabama.

Interestingly, UCLA comes in a tie for the third best odds to win the Pac-12, despite being tied for seventh highest win total. The Bruins will be getting their star quarterback Josh Rosen back from injury, but have the toughest schedule in the conference, which is likely the reason for that low win total of 6.5.

Colorado ended the 2016 season as the 10th ranked team in the country, as well as Pac-12 runner-ups, but the Buffaloes are expected to regress in 2017. They’ll be replacing quarterback and team captain Sefo Liufau with sophomore Steven Montez, who went 2-1 as a starter in 2016. The Buffs also have a lot of remodeling to do on the defensive side, after losing eight defensive starters along with their defensive coordinator, Jim Leavitt.

2016 Results

TeamATSMoneyline Units (Record)Over Record
Colorado10-24.0 (9-3)5-8
Oregon State9-3-1.9 (3-8)5-7
USC8-41.5 (9-3)3-9
Stanford7-51.8 (9-3)5-7
Utah7-50.3 (8-4)6-6
Washington7-51.1 (9-1)8-4
Washington State6-61.1 (8-4)7-4
Arizona State5-6-2.8 (5-7)7-5
California5-7-0.9 (5-7)8-4
UCLA4-8-6.9 (4-8)4-7
Oregon2-9-4.2 (3-8)7-5
Arizona2-10-8.0 (2-9)7-5

Colorado’s unexpectedly impressive season made them a great pick for spread bettors. At 10-2, they were behind only Temple as the best team in the nation against the spread. Unsurprisingly, the Buffaloes were also the best Pac-12 team on the moneyline, earning 4.0 units over the course of the season.

Washington’s 41.8 points per game in 2016 (ranked 8th in the nation) made the Huskies one of the conference’s two most profitable “over teams” along with Cal. The Golden Bears scored 37.1 points per game, and both teams finished with over records of 8-4.

2017-18 Heisman Candidates (8/14 BetOnline):

  • Sam Darnold (QB, USC) +350, Jake Browning (QB, Washington) +1600, Josh Rosen (QB, UCLA) +2200, Luke Falk (QB, Washington State) +3300, Justin Herbert (QB, Oregon) +6600

Having five of the 12 starting quarterbacks in the conference as Heisman contenders is nothing to scoff at. We should be in for a treat watching the quarterback play in the Pac-12 in 2017. However, Sam Darnold bettors beware. The preseason Heisman favorite has not won the award since the historical odds data became available (before 2009).

Interested in our other conference previews? ACC, Big Ten

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Danny Donahue

If John Mellencamp ever wins an Oscar, I am gonna be a very rich dude. @dannyjdonahue on Twitter

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