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2017 Pac-12 Predictions and Picks

2017 Pac-12 Conference Predictions and Picks

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Always considered a top conference in college football, the Pac-12 is on the rise. Last season, Washington won the conference and was part of the College Football Playoff. In addition to the Huskies were other teams who did very well and made a mark on the 2016 college football season. It was a bizarre season in many ways, first with Washington getting back into the national picture for the first time in years. We also saw Colorado finally able to make an impact in this conference after coming over from the Big 12. In 2016, they were Pac-12-South champions, falling to UW in the title game.

After a rough start to the season, Southern Cal caught fire, winning 9 straight to end the year in 2016-17. They beat Washington and finished the year with a bowl win over equally-hot Penn State. They stand as a favorite to do big things this season. Washington lost a little, but should still be tough. Stanford has been a big part of this conversation in recent seasons and could be so again in 2017. Other contenders include UCLA, Oregon, and Washington State.

So what needs to happen for a team to win the Pac-12? The conference is split into two divisions—the North and the South. The teams with the best conference records from each division play in the Pac-12 title game in Santa Clara at the end of the regular season. Whoever wins that game is considered Pac-12 champ. So when picking a team, look at the division and schedules to gauge how realistic it is for the team you select. Here are the odds to win the Pac-12 Championship in 2017:

Betting Odds to Win the Pac-12
USC wins Pac-12 Champ +113
Field wins Pac-12 Championship -133
Washington wins Pac-12 Champ +295
Field wins Pac-12 Championship -355
Stanford wins Pac-12 Champ +1075
Field wins Pac-12 Championship -1650
UCLA wins Pac-12 Champ +1250
Field wins Pac-12 Championship -2000
Oregon wins Pac-12 Champ +1250
Field wins Pac-12 Championship -2000
Washington State wins Pac-12 Champ +1250
Field wins Pac-12 Championship -2000

About the Odds: You see teams listed with their odds to win the Pac-12 Championship this season. With each team is a "Field" bet, which would mean you are betting on every other team but the one with listed odds. For example, USC is the conference favorite, going off at just slightly better than even-money at +113. If you chose the "Field" at -133, you'd win if any other team besides USC won the Pac-12. And the same applies to all teams listed for this wager. Also, you've probably noticed not all teams are included in the odds. Those teams are all considered long-shots and odds on those teams will be posted a little closer to the beginning of the college football season. These are early odds to win the Pac-12, not quite a complete list. And if things happen, such as key injuries and suspensions, these odds can move. If you like a team and the odds are attractive, getting an early jump could be a good move.

Examining the Contenders:

USC Trojans: Things didn't look good after they opened 2016 with a lopsided loss to 'Bama, while losing 3 of their first 4 games of the season. Nine straight wins and the rise of 2017 Heisman frontrunner QB Sam Darnold has the Trojans sitting pretty as resounding Pac-12 favorites this season. They are deep on both sides of the ball and there might not have been more than a precious few teams that were better than the Trojans at the end of last season. The schedule is favorable, with most big tests in-conference coming at home. It's going to be tough to deny the Trojans the title this season.

Washington Huskies: After a hallmark season that saw the Huskies win the Pac-12 and get to the College Football Playoff, the Huskies return a lot of talent and should be in the mix. They have some tough road tests in the conference, but the schedule looks favorable in an overall sense. They lost a burner in John Ross, along with several standouts in the secondary. But dynamic QB Jake Browning and a loaded offense returns and whoever they have to replace those gems in the secondary will benefit from the most-dominant defensive front in the conference. The Huskies should be a factor.

Stanford Cardinal: Considering how well they ended the season with six straight wins, along with 16 starters returning should result in the Cardinal being a big factor in the Pac-12 North. We see head coach David Shaw getting this group closer to its peak state of a few years ago. They will need to rely on a strong run-game and a lot of firepower on defense, as Keller Chryst is still rounding into shape at quarterback and coming off an injury in last season's bowl game. With some growth on offense and some better QB play, the Cardinal are in there with a shot.

UCLA Bruins: Last season was one they'd like to forget, as the Bruins labored through injuries and inconsistent play to post an awful 4-8 record. The problems were many, but losing Josh Rosen didn't help. He should be a lot better this season and with added experience, the offensive line should be appreciably better, both in protecting Rosen and in springing loose some nice runs. They were awful in both areas last season. With a revamped offensive coaching staff, maybe they can get more out of the guys around Rosen and get the Bruins back into the black.

Oregon Ducks: It might not take hold this season, but Oregon could be headed in the right direction with some nice talent and a revamped coaching staff led by Willie Taggart. Look for Taggart to max out this offense's potential with a high-tempo approach that could have opposing defenses gasping for air. We like QB Justin Herbert's potential and we really like the fact that he will be playing behind one of the better and more-experienced lines in the conference. Jim Leavitt comes in to commandeer a defense that has fallen on hard times and with some progress on that side of the ball, the Ducks could make a splash in 2017.

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Washington State Cougars: It seems like after a 7-2 record in-conference and with the return of gun-slinging quarterback Luke Falk, the Cougs would be getting more respect. Either way, they carry some appeal at these odds. They're a program heading in the right direction under coach Mike Leach. They should put up a lot of points and the defense should be solid. A cause for concern, however, is a schedule where they face just about every good team in the Pac-12. If they make it, they will certainly have earned it.

Lootmeister's Pick to Win the Pac-12 Conference: USC Trojans. Granted, it's a chalky play, but if their play over the last few months of last season was any indication, the Trojans are the class of the conference and might even have a say in the national discussion by season's end. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and make college football prop bets by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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  • 2016/2017 College Football Predictions - Odds for each team to win the college football playoff along with predictions of teams that have a legit shot of winning it all, including a longshot pick.
  • 2016 Heisman Trophy Futures - DeShaun Watson, Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fourntte are the obvious pre-season choices to win the trophy this season. Anything can happen though! Loot takes a look at some lesser names that offer tremendous wagering value.

MISC.

  • College Football Conferences - List of all NCAA football conferences including the teams that make up each conference.
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