College Football Conference Championship Bets and Win Totals: Pac-12 Conference
College football season is nearly upon us, and there are plenty of NCAA football odds and outrights on FanDuel Sportsbook we can explore.
After a few down years where its top programs were struggling, the Pac-12 has a path to their first team in the College Football Playoff since 2017. Southern California's dynamic offseason has them positioned as the conference favorite, but stalwarts Utah and Oregon aren't far behind.
Here's how the conference winner odds shake out for this year overall.
Conference Winner(s) to Bet
USC Trojans (+170)
While the price isn't tremendous, Southern Cal should be easily favored to win what's been a weak conference for years.
They nabbed Lincoln Riley and top prospect Caleb Williams from Oklahoma this offseason, and Riley's offensive reputation has created a superteam in Los Angeles. Travis Dye has transferred from Oregon to USC, and Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison came with him from Pitt.
The lack of rules and regulations around NIL has led to a spending spree in SoCal, and the market really hasn't adapted to it. Even ESPN's SP+ rankings are down on the Trojans, ranking them just 54th overall.
Even if you just plugged Riley's 2021 team of Sooners into this weaker conference, they'd win it going away, so I don't really understand that considering that the OU squad didn't have weapons like Addison and Dye.
USC sports a top-10 quarterback, running back, and wideout in a division with just one other projected bowl team (UCLA). They'll be a glamorous argument for a playoff spot based on a weak schedule that likely results in 11 or 12 wins.
Utah Utes (+250)
Personally, the only viable alternative to bet is the Utes.
Kyle Whittingham's commitment to Utah has led to unmatched continuity on his staff and roster. That'll only aid Cameron Rising, who arguably played his best game of the season during a shootout with Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.
Tavion Thomas should be a Doak Walker Trophy dark horse in this run-heavy offense. In terms of offensive SP+, the rankings see Utah as a top-10 offense behind this duo, but they're also 31st in defensive SP+.
They could potentially be favored in every game this year since they are positioned as 2.5-point road favorites at Florida in the opener. That'll be more critical to their playoff chances than their conference hopes.
They'll be more well-rounded -- but less dynamic -- than USC, and they draw the Trojans at home. Still, their trip to Eugene to face the Ducks this year could lose them the Pac-12 North.
Win Total(s) to Target
Oregon Ducks Over 8.5 Wins (-130)
Even amidst some offseason chaos, I dare anyone to find three losses on Oregon's regular season schedule.
It's incredibly fortuitous throughout. Their toughest tests in the conference -- UCLA and Utah -- will both come at home. They'll also draw ranked Brigham Young at home. They won't play USC at all.
While Mario Cristobal did leave the Ducks for Miami (FL), Dan Lanning might provide some punch coming over as the former defensive coordinator for Georgia. They'll play that same Georgia squad in the opener and likely lose as 17.5-point underdogs.
He'll have a calming force on offense for at least a year. Productive veteran Bo Nix is coming over from Auburn for the 2022 campaign. Nix completed 61.0% of his passes with 15 total touchdowns to just 3 interceptions before an ankle injury ended his season in early November.
With top-45 marks on both offense and defense in SP+ projections, they're only projected to face five bowl teams in 2022, and four of them will be at home. This bet cashes if the Ducks can just go 2-2 in those four contests.
Colorado Buffaloes Under 3.5 Wins (-200)
My alma mater isn't winning four games this year.
After Mel Tucker left Colorado at the alter for Michigan State, the Buffs have been in a tailspin where they won just four games last year. Two were by a field goal, and one was against FCS opponent Northern Colorado.
This year, CU has taken the path less traveled and will likely pay for it. With no FCS schools on the schedule, they'll be underdogs in all three out-of-conference games, including to in-state rival Air Force.
Colorado will also turn to a new starter, Brendon Lewis, at quarterback with one of the worst offensive lines in Power 5.
While they might be able to dispatch Arizona, they'll have to find three more wins in the Pac-12 with the conference's worst overall SP+ ranking (100th) -- even behind the Wildcats.
Even at -200 odds here, the juice is worth the squeeze. It's entirely possible the Buffs don't win a single game in 2022.