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Pac-12 South Division Season Win Total Picks For 2018

The Pac-12 South season win totals suggest this division will be a little closer than the North

USC has the highest total at 8.5 wins while Utah is right behind at 7.5. There’s value in both teams this season and I explain below. 

This concludes my Power 5 conference previews for 2018 complete with season win total picks for every team. Check them all out here on my author page and use them to help you in your handicapping this season. 

South

USC 8.5 

No team was as good as USC last season while being such a horrible bet. The Trojans went just 4-10 against the spread and just 2-6 ATS at home despite winning the Pac-12 at 11-3 straight up. 

I expect USC to be a better bet this year. I think we’ll see lower point spreads because for the first time since 1980 the Trojans must replace their starting QB, leading rusher and leading receiver. At the same time, I think the offense will be just fine behind an experienced and talented offensive line that features five returning starters. Freshmen JT Daniels (reigning Gatorade National Player of the Year) and Jack Sears will duel it out to start at QB along with Matt Fink.  

The defense returns nearly all of the starting secondary and linebackers but USC must limit big plays this year and become more disciplined. The Trojans were 116th in the nation in penalties per game in 2017 (7.64). 

Pick: OVER  

Utah 7.5 (-140 U)

I love to bet Utah. The Utes were the Pac-12’s top bet at 9-3-1 against the spread last season and they make an incredible underdog wager at 55-23-1 ATS in that spot since 1995.  

We have come to expect Kyle Whittingham to get the most out of whatever players he has and I think the betting market is underestimating him again. The Utes return dual threat Tyler Huntley at QB and 1,000-yard rusher Zack Moss at running back. They’ll play behind an experienced, physical offensive line that played its best football down the final stretch last season once it jelled. That’s enough right there for me to take the OVER. 

This defensive line always makes you earn it and this is an experienced group at linebacker and in the secondary. Don’t sleep on Utah. At +1200 to win the Pac-12, I think they’re worth a wager and I like the OVER a lot here. 

Pick: OVER 

Arizona 7.5 (-160 O)

Quarterback Khalil Tate is among the faves at +1600 to win the Heisman Trophy and the Wildcats have high hopes as a result. There are three senior starting WRs returning also to a unit that was tops in the Pac-12 in scoring (41.3 ppg) and total offense (489.5 ypg).  

These guys are typically an awful bet, though, at just 23-36-2 against the spread over the last five seasons and just 112-141 ATS going back to 1995. It’s often due to a soft and undersized defense. The Cats return nine starters from a young unit last year so this is the wild card for bettors. 

I’m stuck on this one due to that wild-card factor. But I have to make a call, soo… 

Pick: UNDER

UCLA 5.5 

UCLA is hoping Chip Kelly can restore this program to greatness, though I don’t think that’s happening in Year 1. 

The Bruins lose star QB Josh Rosen to the NFL and the defense will transition to a 3-4 under new DC Jerry Azzinaro. I’m expecting serious growing pains, especially for a team that I felt was terrible at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball last season. 

The betting story on UCLA is usually that it’s a fade team on the road and play-on team at home. The Bruins went 0-6 SU and 1-5 ATS on the road last season and are just 55-71 ATS on the road since 1995. Things are much better at home where they are 76-61 ATS since ’95, though the number of -16.5 feels a little steep vs Cincinnati at home to open the season. 

Pick: UNDER 

Colorado 4.5 (-145 O)

A cushy defense and a stalled offense made the Buffs the worst bet in the Pac-12 last year at 3-9 ATS. 

Darrin Chiaverini takes over play-calling duties on offense and the defense, well, I don’t see much improving from a unit that allowed 208 rushing yards per game last season (109th). 

I really like Steven Montez at QB – a dual-threat guy who is exciting to watch. But if you can’t stop the run, it’s tough to get him on the field. 

A note for bettors – during Mike MacIntyre’s tenure, the Buffs tend to win when they’re favored (21-3 SU) and lose when they’re dogs (4-34 SU). Something to keep in mind if you fancy a moneyline parlay now and then. 

Pick: UNDER 

Arizona State 4.5

The Herm Edwards era begins at Arizona State. The Sun Devils will also have a new OC for the fourth straight year and a new DC implementing a completely new system. So expect some growing pains in Tempe. 

The area I think has the most promise is actually the defense with Danny Gonzales set to install a 3-3-5 system handed down from his mentor Rocky Long. I feel the 3-3-5 can work well in the Pac-12 but I don’t know how long it’s going to take. This unit was 124th against the pass last season (286.1 ypg). 

Two things I like for the Sun Devils is they have an experienced offensive line and a returning senior quarterback in Manny Wilkins. That might be enough to surprise some people if they can get through a nasty September sked that features a stretch of Michigan State, at San Diego State and at Washington. 

Pick: OVER   

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