CFB Bets: Pac-12 needs an undefeated USC

The 2022 college football season have played out in both the best and worst way for the Pac-12. 

The good news for the Pac-12 is the two undefeated teams are both from Los Angeles. However, the bad news is those two teams, USC and UCLA are on track to leave the conference for the Big Ten in 2024.

The Pac-12 removed the divisions and gave the championship game to the top two team. It would mean everything for the conference to have the battle of LA have championship stakes.

While it still can, of course. 

No. 6 USC will take on its first ranked opponent in No. 20 Utah. Coming off a loss to UCLA in a high scoring contest, a matchup against the Trojans under the Saturday night lights will be the biggest home game of the season for the Utes. It’s why Utah is entering the game as a 3.5-point favorite. 

Having head coach Lincoln Riley and quarterback Caleb Williams come to USC from Oklahoma has worked wonders for the Trojans so far. 

“There’ll be several 6-0 teams; some that finish really well, some that finish okay, and some that don’t finish very good,” Riley explained during his weekly media conference. “So it’s great, but it is just a start. It’s not a guarantee of anything.”

Williams has thrown 14 touchdowns and one interception through six games. One quarterback that has been statistically comparable is Utah’s Cameron Rising, who has thrown for 13 touchdowns and three interceptions. 

The two offenses are evenly matched, as both teams are averaging 40 points per game. That means going over the combined point total of 65 is a bet worth taking. 

My Pick: If you’re a USC fan, take USC +3.5. If you’re not, take O65. If you want to feel dangerous, grab the Dangerwich and parlay both bets. 

Michael Duarte’s pick: Utah -3.5

Air Force at UNLV (+10)

It is quite a daring move for UNLV to have Air Force as the opponent for its homecoming week. The Rebels can certainly do it this year because their about-face has them among the top of the Mountain West Conference.

The Rebels have been the favorites in three straight matchups, right up until they got waxed on the road by San Jose State. This time around they are heavy underdogs against an Air Force team that has such a strong ground game that it’s in the running for a third straight rushing title.

This game features the top two scoring offenses in the Mountain West. UNLV averages 32.7 points per game and Air Force averages 31.8. The over/under is at 50. While both offense can put up points when they’re winning, the time-consuming ground game is feature for both teams.

My Pick: It’s been done by both teams multiple times that it is not unrealistic for both teams to pass the 50-point benchmark. Take O50 and UNLV +10 if you’re feeling like a Rebel.

My Top 25 picks

No. 10 Penn State at No. 5 Michigan (-7): Take O50.5 and enjoy the fireworks.

Auburn at No. 9 Ole Miss (-15): Unfortunately, Ole Miss can’t be counted to break the O/U55 by themselves. However, counting on the Rebels to dominate an Auburn team that is slightly better than the worst team in the conference shouldn’t be too much to ask.

No. 19 Kansas at Oklahoma (-9): Given how Kansas and Oklahoma have been playing this season, it would make sense to take Kansas moneyline. However, given how the Sooners have had the Jayhawks number lately and Kansas is likely without their starting quarterback, go with the legacy pick.

No. 3 Alabama at No. 6 Tennessee (+7): Armageddon approaches Knoxville. This has never been this good for Tennessee since the days of Peyton Manning. If it’s anything like Alabama’s road game at Texas, expect them to pull out a slight victory but not over by a touchdown.

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