With just over a month remaining from now until the start of football season, Media Days are underway across the country, and training camps open in just weeks. As each team’s season starts, there’s no shortage of storylines, especially in the age of the accelerated transfer portal and now NIL (Name Image Likeness rule that allows payments to players).
Keeping all those things in mind, we’re going to jump in now to take a look at the win totals in the PAC-12 and see where the value remains.
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Washington Huskies UNDER 8.5 (+110 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
2nd-year head coach Jimmy Lake will get his first full crack at righting the ship for the Huskies, and he’ll have to do so with uncertainty out of the gates at his most important position: quarterback.
True freshman Sam Huard is competing for the job with returning quarterback Dylan Morris, who had a mediocre season in 2020 and does nothing great. Whoever gets the job will also be dealing with a WR core that’s in shambles, having lost 3 of their top 4 receivers to the transfer portal this offseason.
When it’s all said and done, no matter what, this Washington team will be a defense-first squad and be pounding the ball. While that points towards a lot of unders, it also points to trouble in a PAC-12 conference that is increasingly known for its pass-heavy run and gun attacks.
In addition to facing Michigan on the road early, the Huskies draw a much improved Colorado and Arizona State team from the South. Outside of the six games, they’ll likely be heavy favorites in, the remaining should be toss-ups, and without a clear #1 at quarterback, I look for the Huskies to stumble more often than not.
USC Trojans OVER 8.5 (+105 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
It’s now or never time for 6th-year head coach Clay Helton as the hot seat in Los Angeles is getting hotter and hotter. In one of the cities most likely to be able to cash-in (literally) on NIL, the Trojans are in must-win mode, and I think we see them respond accordingly.
After a great run during the shortened 2020 season that saw them end up in the PAC-12 title game, the Trojans return their gunslinger in Kedon Slovis and his top weapon in Drake London. They also will return eight starters on defense, including nearly 70% of their production on both sides of the ball. They were also able to land transfer running back Keontay Ingram from Texas, who should make an impact right away.
Add in the fact they avoid Washington and Oregon this year, should be favored in at least 10 of 12 games, and I like for the Trojans to once again compete for the South this season.
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TJ Perun is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from TJ, check out his archive and follow him @JohnnyCovers.
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