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Pac-12 North Division Season Win Total Picks For 2018

The Pac-12 is the final Power 5 conference I preview. It’s a tricky one but I think there are some opportunities with the season win totals. 

Here’s my outlook for each team with my season win total picks for each one. First the North Division: 

North 

Washington  10

Washington is -140 to win the Pac-12 this year and the fifth favorites to win the national championship at +1200. So they’re obviously pretty good. 

They return Jake Browning at quarterback and senior running back Myles Gaskin, who combined for more than 40 touchdowns together last season. They also return most of the starters on the offensive and defensive lines and those are always teams I love to bet. 

The defense returns nine starters in total from a unit that finished first in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (16.1 ppg) and total defense (298 ypg). We can expect some big spreads for Washington this year but that doesn’t seem to bother this team. The Huskies went 7-0 SU and 5-2 ATS at home last season and are 28-19 against the spread as a favorite over the last five campaigns. 

The Huskies open as underdogs, though, in Week 1 in one of the biggest games of the entire college season where they are 3.5-point pups vs Auburn in Atlanta. 

Pick: OVER 

Stanford 8.5

Bryce Love is the second favorite to win the Heisman at +800 and he should be the favorite, if you ask me. Love rushed for 2,118 yards and 19 TDs last season and this year he should have more help at QB with K.J. Costello likely starting from the beginning. 

The defense is in transition with only six returning starters so the Cardinal could suddenly become an OVER team after a 6-7 O/U season in 2017. 

The early schedule is absolutely brutal with San Diego State, USC, at Oregon and at Notre Dame all before October. The schedule is actually the biggest reason I have to go UNDER with these guys but they do tend to make a great underdog bet. Stanford is 8-3 ATS and 7-4 SU in that spot over the past five seasons. 

Pick: UNDER  

Oregon 8.5 

One thing we’ve come to rely on as bettors with the Ducks is the OVER at home. The OVER went 5-2 last year in Eugene and is 25-10 over the past five seasons there. 

We’re also used to seeing high totals in Ducks games and we’ll probably see more this year with the return of Justin Herbert at QB and a huge, talented offensive line. Jim Leavitt will take over as DC while Mario Cristobal takes the helm as head coach. 

This is a tough number but I think it’s set a half-game too high.  

Pick: UNDER  

California 6.5 

It’s been 12 years since Cal was a 10-win team and a contender in the Pac-12 but there is a lot of promise with this team this year. Ten of 11 starters return on offense, including the entire offensive line and QB Ross Bowers, who is expected to win the starting job over transfer Brandon McIlwain. 

The whole coaching staff is back for its second year, too. That’s good news for Cal bettors after the Bears went 8-4 against the spread last season, the second-best ATS record in the conference. The entire secondary is back on a defensive unit that made improvements in 2017 and went from allowing 43 points per game to 28.4 points per game. 

The schedule ain’t bad. The Bears open as 8.5-point favorites at home against UNC and face Oregon, UCLA, Washington and Stanford all at home. 

Pick: OVER  

Washington State 5.5 (-160 O)

Mike Leach has made this program into an outstanding road bet where the Cougs are 17-9-1 ATS over the past five seasons. What isn’t so outstanding is that the Cougs must replace QB Nick Falk with a QB who has never played in a college game before – either Gardner Minshew or Trey Tinsley. 

I tend not to worry much about Leach’s offenses even though he ranked last in the nation in rush attempts per game in five of his six seasons. The defense should be solid with loads of starting experience returning at linebacker and in the secondary. The Cougs have a new coordinator, though, in Tracy Claeys. 

The season will likely be determined through what might be the worst stretch of schedule in the Pac-12 when the Cougars are at USC, vs Utah, at Oregon State, vs Oregon and at Stanford beginning in late September. 

Pick: OVER

Oregon State

The Beavers are the biggest long shot at +25000 to win the Pac-12 this season and most sportsbooks don’t even have a season win total posted for them. 

Oregon State might not be much better this year after a 1-11 season in 2017 where the Beavs were underdogs 10 times and went just 3-8-1 against the spread. They have a new coach (Jonathan Smith) and a new offensive scheme, moving from spread option to an uptempo pro style. 

The pro-style offense probably suits six-foot-seven QB Jake Luton a little better but this has been the lowest-rated passing offense in the Pac-12 for three straight seasons. On the bright side, OSU can only go up as the worst offense in points scored (20.7) and the worst defense in points allowed (43.0) in the Pac-12 last season. 

Pick: 2-10 record

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