Sportsbooks treated college football fans to conference futures odds this past week. Hooray! Let us give you the lowdown on the market to win the 2017 Pac-12 title.
Here’s all bettors need to know about the potential Pac-12 champion. One has to go back to the 2001 Oregon Ducks to find a regular-season champion that failed to own an average margin of victory of 10 points or more from the prior season. Since 2011, the Pac-12 Championship Game has determined the conference winner. Prior to that, there were a few seasons in this span with shared title-holders (2002, 2006, 2007) and a few vacated championships (USC, 2004-2005), but all in all one of the winners matched the aforementioned criteria. Serious investors know it takes time and a perfect blend of recruiting, coaching, and maturation to craft a Power-5 title winning team.
Here are the Pac-12 champion futures as offered at online sportsbook 5Dimes:
The Pac-12 winner will boil down to the two favorites: USC or Washington. The best bet is the Trojans, while the Huskies hold the best value. Let us explain.Best Bet: USC +115
USC finished 2016 one of the hottest teams in college football. It closed the season with nine straight wins, including a thrilling 52-49 last-second victory over Penn State in the Rose Bowl. The Trojans ended up No. 3 nationally in the final polls. Head coach Clay Helton returns 14 starters, including Heisman Trophy favorite Sam Darnold under center. The Rose Bowl Offensive MVP tossed 31 TDs and 3,086 yards in 2016.
USC’s schedule is set up for success with many of its toughest opponents traveling to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Trojans open the season with a three-game homestand vs. Western Michigan, Texas and rivals Stanford in their first conference clash of the year. Troy’s three toughest road games are at Washington State, Colorado and Notre Dame. They also host UCLA and Utah. Absent from the schedule are Washington and Oregon. Despite a 50-point blowout by Alabama in the opener, USC finished 2016 with a 10.2-point average margin of victory.
Best Value: Washington +280
The fact the Huskies and Trojans avoid each other in the regular season makes the likelihood they meet up in the Pac-12 title game high with Washington representing the North and USC the South. UW coach Chris Petersen is football genius, and he has something special brewing in Seattle. Last year, the team’s 24.1 average point differential more than doubled any other Pac-12 school. In fact, it ranked third nationally behind Michigan (26.3) and Alabama (25.8).
Petersen returns 13 starters, but will have to make up for the departure of his best playmaker WR John Ross. The current Cincinnati Bengals wideout reeled in 17 TDs on 81 catches last season. Defense makes this team tick, and the secondary will have a few new faces in its two-deep scheme.
Like USC, the Huskies’ schedule is favorable with a handful of walkovers. Their road games include Rutgers, Colorado, Oregon State, Arizona State and Stanford. Washington is at home for its toughest opponents, including UCLA, Oregon, Utah and rival Washington State.
The near 3-to-1 odds are a steal with the Huskies looking a good bet to play in the Pac-12 title game.
Realistic Long Shot: Washington State +1200
Two words: Luke Falk. The senior quarterback has put up huge numbers in Pullman under Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense. In 2016, Falk ranked fourth nationally with 4,468 yards passing and 38 touchdowns. He’s a 2018 first-round NFL QB prospect with plenty of game experience and a strong supporting cast. Leach returns 16 starters, nine on a much-improved defense. One slip up by the Huskies and the Cougars will win the North.Bet On College Football Futures At SBR's Top Sportsbooks