Five Betting Tips for Handicapping Pac-12 Football
by Taylor Jordan - Strike Point Sports - 8/18/2011
The Pac 12 has gone under the knife. From last year’s league breakdown, no other BCS conference will have undergone the facelift that the former Pac-10 has.
You can thank the money-hungry power suits for this new mishmash conference, where location means nothing for a league and greenbacks overrule logic. For Colorado and Utah, the dollar bills shipped into a mix of Pacific Coast universities and resulted in the North and South divisions the league now boasts. But while those odd divisions create a new look for this league, having a league championship game will end up being the biggest thing to come out of this realignment.
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But hey, that’s another big game to bet on, so what do I care?
Here are five college football betting tips for handicapping the Pac-12 this year:
1. The North Is On Top
The make-up of the conference separates the northern schools from the southern ones, and this year the North Division happens to have the two most dominant teams together. Stanford or Oregon’s participation in the league title game could very well come down to their meeting in November. But with only one representing their half of the conference, who makes it out of the South?
The North is where the action is. And besides the two powerhouses, I like what Oregon State, Cal and Washington have going on. Look for the teams from up top to have repeated success in the crossover games with their Southern rivals.
2. Is This Dennis Erickson’s Last Stand?
Could this be Erickson’s final year at the helm of Tempe’s Sun Devils? Erickson has had plenty of chances to leave his mark on ASU and the conference. His 10-win season in 2007 offered glimpses, but he failed to back it up since then. In fact, Arizona State has totaled just 15 wins in the last three seasons.
To put it bluntly, Erickson is likely out the door with anything less than the top spot in the South division and a Pac 12 title game berth. There is too much available talent in Arizona and California for this program not to be a contender every season amongst its division foes. If Erickson can’t get it done, someone else will be given an opportunity to run the program and tap into the recruiting grounds to build up to where Arizona State should be.
Look for the motivation of keeping their coach around to lead Arizona State to a strong ATS season. But if they do lose some games early and if things start to go downhill, look to bet the other way on this team as the players will likely quit on this lame duck coach.
3. Can Arizona Live Up To Expectations?
By now this question should be considered rhetorically. Arizona, for all the good it has done under Mike Stoops, still finds itself on the outside looking in, both as a mainstay in the conference and something more than a novelty or flavor of the week in the general sense of the college football world.
Eights wins in each of ’08 and ‘09 are very worthy of praise considering Arizona’s football history. But in terms of expectations and what this program could have done over the last three seasons, you’d have to label the Wildcats as big time underachievers. Do not believe the hype with the Wildcats as a league sleeper, and look for whatever opportunities you can find to fade this team when they leave their home state.
4. Seattle Could Be Better Without Locker
UW finds themselves in a similar situation to Arizona, although they are trying to cope and find hope in the post-Jake Locker era. But for all Locker’s skills and playmaking abilities, he never led the Huskies to accomplish anything of note, and he will mainly remembered for staying one year too many, putting up a statistically horrible season, and guiding the team to a somewhat disappointing 7-6 campaign.
But Locker’s loss could actually benefit gamblers this year. Washington won’t have the expectations because they don’t have a superstar player to create hype. And people might overestimate the impact of his loss. The Washington Huskies football schedule is very difficult in the nonconference portion. But I think that we might be able to cash on them early in the year because a lot of squares are expecting them to take a step back, when I think Steve Sarkisian will continue to have this team moving forward.
5. Lack Of Rivalries Actually Creates A Rivalry
The Pac-12’s division breakdowns actually make sense. Granted, they are simple and separate the schools between the northern and southern parts of the West Coast. But what stands out is the lack of true rivals. Maybe this is because certain teams are up (see Stanford and Oregon) at the time their local adversaries are down (see California, Oregon State, even USC and UCLA). Either way, it doesn’t make for a whole lot of interest outside of the region, at least from the objective, East Coast-biased observer.
But count me as one for the intrigued, because I love all things Pac-12. Outside of Stanford and Oregon, there isn’t a lot of attention being paid to these clubs. But that could make them an undervalued commodity in the nonconference portion of the schedule. I am going to be hunting for some spots where Pac-12 teams are made underdogs or short favorites in the nonconference and I expect them to raise some eyebrows with their collective play.
Strike Point Sports is a professional handicapper for Doc’s Sports. They are renowned for their college football success over the last half-decade and have earned the nickname “Mr. Saturday” for their incredible college football picks. Strike Point Sports is looking forward to another incredible college and NFL season and you can check out their Insider’s Page here.
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