PAC- 12 2011 Football Betting Preview & Odds
It is a whole new look for the recently expanded and re-named PCA-12 with the addition of Colorado from the Big 12 and Utah from the Mountain West. The growth of the conference to 12 teams sets the stage for a North and South Division as well as a first-ever PAC-12 football title game. This new alignment should not only increase the level of competition throughout the conference, but lead to a whole new level of interest from the betting public.
USC ‘s return to the title picture after one more year of NCAA sanctions will really enhance the new look of the conference, but without the traditional PAC-12 power in the mix, Oregon remains at the top of the heap for at least one more season. The Ducks have been opened by BetDSI as 5/4 favorites to win the North Division and 2/1 favorites to win the conference. The 2011 BCS runner-up returns seven starters on offense, including Darren Thomas as its starting quarterback and running back and Heisman Trophy candidate LaMichael James. The odds makers remain high on Oregon’s chances to return to this year’s title game as it is currently the fourth-favorite to win it all at 12/1. Head Coach Chip Kelly will have some holes to fill on a defense that returns just five starters from last season, but there is plenty of talent on the roster that is more than ready to step up and fill the void.
Right on Oregon’s tail in the North will be the Stanford Cardinal, who have been opened the second-favorites to win the division at 7/4 as well as the conference at 3/1. These two teams meet on Nov.12 in Palo Alto in a game that will undoubtedly have major implications in the PAC-12 title race, but in the BCS rankings as well. Back for one more crack at winning both titles is last year’s Heisman Trophy runner-up Andrew Luck. His 2010 numbers speak for themselves after completing an amazing 70.7 percent of his passes for 3,338 yards and 32 touchdowns. Also back to make Luck’s job that much easier will be RB Stepfan Taylor, who led the team in rushing last season with 1,023 yards and TE Coby Fleener, who is poised for a breakout season in this offensive scheme. The defense returns six starters including linebacker Chase Thomas and strong safety Delano Howell from a squad that was ranked 10th in the nation in points allowed.
Arizona State has been opened as the favorite to win the South Division at +190 and is the third-favorite to win the conference at 11/2. The Sun Devils return 21 of 24 starters from last year team that finished 6-6 overall. This wealth of experience has Head Coach Dennis Erickson foaming at the mouth to get right back at in 2011. Quarterback Brock Osweiler earned the starting job after taking over for Steven Threet midway through last season. Running back Cameron Marshall also returns and will be looking to build upon the team-high 787 rushing yards he gained in 2010. The key to Arizona State competing for the PAC-12 title this season will be improving a defense proved to be too inconsistent from one week to the next last year.
One of the newest members of the group is also one of the favorites to compete with the Sun Devils for the South Division title. The Utah Utes are the second-favorites in the South at +200 and the forth-favorites in the conference at 13/2. They posted a 10-3 record in their final season in the MWC and return seven starters on offense including QB Jordan Wynn and WR DeVonte Christopher. MLB Chaz Walker will be back to anchor a defense that has just five starters back from last season. The big showdown in the South will be Arizona State making the trip to Salt Lake City to face the Utes on Oct. 8.
The odds to win the conference for rest of the North Division list Oregon State at 16/1, Washington at 16/1, California at 20/1 and Washington State at 100/1. The South Division has Arizona at 8/1, UCLA at 18/1, and Colorado at 22/1.