Stanford Cardinal Odds to win the College Football National Championship with Expert Betting Predictions
Last year Stanford won 10 games, but they lost to their two best opponents - Washington and Colorado - and they lost to the former by 38 points. They have been an elite team for a long time now, but they didn't seem to be of the same caliber last year. So now they have to turn the corner. And they have the tools to do just that. This year could be good, and it feels like next year they could really be dangerous. While long-time rivals Oregon are wallowing in the pits of despair, Stanford looks to stay at or near the top of the conference.
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2016 in a Nutshell
They won their first three, including a win over USC before they made their QB change and found their mojo in a big way. But then they got blown out twice in a row - at Washington and, less forgivably, at home to Washington State. They bounced back to beat Notre Dame - hardly an accomplishment last year - but then lost to Colorado at home. They won their last six, but it's hard to know if it is a coincidence or not that they also didn't play anyone in their last six. It wasn't a great year by any measure, and it was one that they need desperately to move well beyond this year.
Key Additions and Departures
The headline, of course, is that Christian McCaffrey is no longer in Palo Alto. It's important to remember, though, that injuries got in the way of McCaffrey being himself for much of last year, so the team got a head start on transitioning away from him. He went eighth overall in the draft but was the second of two Stanford draft picks off the board - DE Solomon Thomas went just down the road to San Francisco with the third pick. Those two are massive losses, but so much of the rest of the team is back. Safety is the only other position with real concerns. There is talent waiting to step up in places that are needed, and there are a lot of returning starters. This is a team in good shape.
What they need most is for Keller Chryst to take a step forward at quarterback in his senior year. He was not the starter at the beginning of the year last year, but he really played well once he did get the chance. If he can prove that it was no fluke then the upside is significant for this year for the team. They have some strong young talent in the pipeline behind him, but ideally they wouldn't rely on them this year.
The recruiting class was very small but very impressive - three of the 14 new players are five-stars, including two offensive tackles. They have the luxury of seeing who is ready to step up because there is no one that they absolutely need to rely on.
Stanford Cardinal Schedule Analysis
The Cardinal open the season very early - they play Rice on Aug. 26 in Australia. The travel could be disruptive, but the experience will be fun, and it's not like they have to worry about the opponent. That game will be the first or what should be a minimum of 10 wins. It's the other two games that will define this season, though. Their second game is at USC, and on Nov. 10 they host Washington. Win one of those games and they could easily be heading to the Pac-12 Championship Game. Win both and they could be headed to the playoff. It's an ideal schedule for a team looking to do big things - lots of straightforward games, and a couple of chances for statement wins.
2017-18 Stanford Cardinal Betting Odds and Trends
Stanford is +8000 to win the national title at BetOnline . That puts them behind 20 other teams. I get why they aren't viewed as a truly elite team, but there is nice value in this price because you can see a route to the playoff here - they win these two games and they are likely in very good shape. In other words, they are deservedly long shots, but not as long as this price suggests. At +650 they are the third choice to win the Pac-12 but well behind USC at +110 and Washington at +250. Again, there is some nice value there - though winning the conference could mean beating USC twice, and that's a tough task. Stanford is favored by 31.5 on their vacation Down Under .
The team was 7-6 ATS last year, so they essentially just broke even for supporters. They went "under" the total in eight of 13 games, so there were more profits to be had there.
2017-18 Stanford Cardinal Predictions and College Football Picks
I can paint a picture of how it could turn out well for this team, and I almost believe it. I don't think they will beat USC, but they could certainly beat Washington at home. That would be enough to win the division and get a second shot at USC. You can do a lot worse than this team if you are looking for a futures bet on a long shot.
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