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BETTING

PAC-12 2023 Analysis, Odds & Best Bet 

Caleb Williams USC Trojan NCAA college football
Caleb Williams 13 of the USC Trojans throws a touchdown pass against the Tulane Green Wave in the second quarter of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on January 02 2023 at ATT Stadium Tom PenningtonGetty ImagesAFP

NCAAF Pick: USC to Win Pac-12 (+180) at BetRivers


The Utah Utes will be in search of their third consecutive Pac-12 championship when the season gets underway. However, Caleb Williams and the USC Trojans will be bent on avenging their conference championship loss from last season. 

Let’s check out the current college football futures odds to win the Pac-12 and focus on the five top contenders. 


Betting Edge

  • USC head coach, Lincoln Riley, isn’t even 40 years old and already has five double-digit win seasons in his first six, with 2020 being the only outlier in which his Sooners posted a 9-2 record.
  • Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. threw for more yards than any quarterback in college football last year except Western Kentucky’s Austin Reed. And like USC’s Caleb Williams, he will be back for another season trying to improve upon his 4,641 passing yards,31 touchdowns and 151.3 passer rating. 
  • The Oregon Ducks’ band is back together again with Bo Nix leading the charge surrounded by Bucky Irving (1,058 rushing yards, 5 TD’s) at tailback along with Troy Franklin (891 receiving yards, 9 TD’s) and transfers Tez Johnson (Troy), Traeshon Holden (Alabama), and Gary Bryant Jr. (USC) rounding out an impressive receiving corps. 
  • Utah quarterback Cameron Rising suffered a torn ACL in the Rose Bowl last season and he might not be up to speed when the season begins. That could spell trouble for a team that is in a conference brimming with talent. 
  • Dorian Thompson-Robinson has been a fixture at quarterback for UCLA over the last five seasons but this year he will be replaced by a highly-touted, yet unproven commodity in freshman Dante Moore. 

Odds to Win Pac-12 Championship  

All Pac-12 Conference odds are courtesy of BetRivers as of August 18th, 2023, and are subject to change.

Team Odds to Win Pac-12 Championship 
USC Trojans +180 
Oregon Ducks+360
Washington Huskies +360 
Utah Utes +550 
Oregon State Beavers +750 
UCLA Bruins+1000 
Washington State Cougars +4000 
Arizona State Sun Devils +9000 
Arizona Wildcats +10000
California Golden Bears +10000 
Colorado Buffaloes +10000 
Stanford Cardinal +10000 

Pac-12’s Fab Five 


USC Trojans

  • 2022 Conference Record: 8-1 
  • 2022 Overall Record: 11-3

The Trojans will have the luxury of welcoming their Heisman Trophy quarterback returning to the fold under the expert helmsmanship of high-profile coach, Lincoln Riley. It’s amazing how quickly the USC program turned around after Riley left Oklahoma and brought some very talented players along with him to the sun-splashed campus of USC.  

Riley transformed a 4-8 team in 2021 to a national championship contender in one season as the Trojans won the conference regular season but then got waxed by the Utes in the title game, and followed that up with a narrow loss to Tulane in the Cotton Bowl. 

Better Edition

I expect this year’s edition to be better because of the experience and the pair of humbling losses late in the season. Lincoln Riley isn’t even 40 years old and already has five double-digit win seasons in his first six, with 2020 being the only outlier in which his Sooners posted a 9-2 record.  

That is a stunning start to a head coaching career and there is little doubt he knows the only Achilles on last year’s team was a middling defense that was exposed by the elite teams. I expect a quantum leap on that side of the ball, making the Trojans the team to beat and a national championship contender


Washington Huskies

  • 2022 Conference Record: 7-2 
  • 2022 Overall Record: 11-2

Michael Penix Jr. threw for more yards than any quarterback in college football last year except Western Kentucky’s Austin Reed. And like USC’s Caleb Williams, he will be back for another season trying to improve upon his 4,641 passing yards, 31 touchdowns, and 151.3 passer rating.  

Not surprisingly, Washington boasted the No. 1 passing attack, averaging 369.8 yards per game, and was No. 7 in scoring, averaging 39.7 points per game. We should also point out that Washington’s impressive 2022 campaign came off the heels of a lackluster 4-8 season in 2021, identical to USC’s mark.  

Coincidence?

Not so coincidentally, it was Kalen DeBoer’s first season at Washington and his debut was nearly as impressive as Lincoln Riley’s. The similarities are striking between the coaches and the results they posted in their Pac-12 debut seasons. 

Not only will Penix be back but his two leading receivers will also return with Rome Odunze and his 1,145 yards on 75 catches and seven touchdowns coupled with Jalen McMillan’s 79 catches for 1,098 yards and his nine trips to the end zone. Mississippi State transfer tailback Dillon Johnson will bolster an already dangerous run game.  

This team has many of the same championship markings as does USC and if they can improve defensively, they are a viable threat to win the conference. 


Oregon Ducks 

  • 2022 Conference Record: 7-2 
  • 2022 Overall Record: 10-3

Bo Nix is another big arm in the Pac-12 and he will spend his senior season back in Eugene where he set personal career bests last year in passing yards (3,593), touchdowns (29), and passer rating (165.7).  

But a late-season ankle injury suffered against Washington saw any chances of a Heisman derailed, much like the team’s conference title aspirations. 

Flying V?

This year the Oregon Ducks’ band is back together again with Bo Nix leading the charge surrounded by Bucky Irving (1,058 rushing yards, 5 TDs) at tailback along with Troy Franklin (891 receiving yards, 9 TDs) and transfers Tez Johnson (Troy), Traeshon Holden (Alabama), and Gary Bryant Jr. (USC) rounding out an impressive receiving corps. 

The defense lost a huge piece of the puzzle in Christian Gonzalez who was selected No.15 overall by the New England Patriots. The defense is suspect but several portal transfers could mean an upgrade in production and Oregon will contend yet again. 


Utah Utes 

  • 2022 Conference Record: 7-2 
  • 2022 Overall Record: 10-4

The Pac-12 champs are back at it in search of a third consecutive conference crown and they will have Cameron Rising under center again. However, we should note that the senior signal caller suffered a torn ACL in the Rose Bowl last season and he might not be up to speed when the season begins. That could spell trouble for a team that is in a conference brimming with talent. 

Filling Voids

And let’s not forget that tight end, Dalton Kincaid, was the leading receiver on this Utes’ squad with 890 yards and eight touchdown receptions last year but he’s playing with the Buffalo Bills this season as their first-round pick. That’s a definite void that will be hard to fill despite the return of wideouts Devaughn Vele and Money Parks. 

However, if the Utes are committed to the running game then they should be fine with a stout offensive line and two explosive backs in Ja’Quinden Jackson, who averaged 6.8 yards per carry last season, and the always dangerous Micah Bernard.


UCLA Bruins 

  • 2022 Conference Record: 6-3 
  • 2022 Overall Record: 9-4

Bruins fans have seen Dorian Thompson-Robinson line up under center for the past three seasons but DTR is in the NFL this season, courtesy of the Browns’ fifth-round selection, and anyone taking over, including the uber-hyped freshman, Dante Moore, is an unknown commodity at this level. 

This offense has plenty of pieces that have come and gone entering this year but at least they will be able to count on TJ Harden and Keegan Jones as serviceable to quality replacements for last year’s steamroller, Zach Charbonnet, who had over 1300 rushing yards on a seven-yard per carry average and 14 trips inside the end zone. That’s a big void and one amongst many facing this team. 

Are They Better

I’m not sure if the defense has gotten much better either as they will be counting on high school recruits to fill many of the voids with little activity through the transfer portal to bolster this defensive unit. The Bruins were tied for 84th in points allowed last season (28.3 PPG) and it would be a reach to say this iteration will be much better than the last. 

NCAAF Pick: USC to Win Pac-12 (+180) at BetRivers 


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