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Pac-12 Football Odds and Picks: The Gamble-Tron, Season Preview

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This is the next installment in our series of stories previewing the 2022 Washington State Cougars football season. Other installments can be found here.


Hello, and welcome to the only part of the preview series that will make you precisely 0% smarter regarding the upcoming Cougar football season! We’re happy you’re back. And when I say “you’re” I mean all one of you (thanks for the click, mom).

You might be wondering how the heck I get the inspiration to write thousands of words every week, all of which essentially amount to bupkis. Well, aside from the fact that I enjoy interacting with the - seemingly ever-decreasing - audience of fellow degenerates in the comments section, placing bets - fake or otherwise - on these games gives me a real rooting interest in the outcome.

And if that weren’t motivation enough, I now have YouTube TV, on which I discovered a program called MTV Classics. What’s that? An MTV channel that plays /gasp MUSIC VIDEOS??!! On the night I began drafting this here column, the channel was playing nothing but 80s videos. First up was Billy Ocean’s Caribbean Queen, “Now we’re shaaaaaring the same dream! And our hearrrts can beat as one!” Now that’s in your head. You’re welcome.

Anyhoo, the hits kept coming, and they inspired us to bring back something we included in coaching hire rankings series during the summer of 2021. You may recall that series as the thing that we did before the “experts” at The Athletic wrote theirs, and whose rankings were somehow very similar to ours! But I digress, and we shall move onward and upward.

So, without further ado, here now are your 100% rock-solid lead pipe gambling cinches of the 2022 college football season. We hope you enjoy reading as much as we enjoy writing this nonsense.

First, we’ll start out with some WSU-specific bets followed by a few VERY OFFICIAL AND DEFINITELY NOT FABRICATED PROPS.

WSU and Pac-12 Prop Bets

Cougar tight end total receptions - Over / Under 19.5

Things just haven’t been the same for Coug tight ends since Mackey Award winner Andrei Lintz caught 88 passes out of the slot in 2012. Wait, you’re saying that didn’t happen? Oh. I could have sworn Lintz would dominate everyone, given Leach’s comments during the previous spring. So yeah, WSU is starting over at the position, and while there’s some talent there, the transition probably won’t be overly smooth. On the positive side, Cam Ward is used to having a tight end in the pattern, and I have a feeling Eric Morris will look to involve those guys early on. We shall see.

The Pick: Under

Ron Stone and Brennan Jackson total Tackles for Loss - Over / Under 22.5

We went out on a limb with Jackson last season, and it turned out to be full of carpenter ants, as #80 tallied just six TFL, good for fourth place on the WSU defense. Stone was the easy winner, tallying 11.5 with a team-leading five sacks. We think Stone will produce at least as many as he did in 2022, so Jackson is the wild card. Given the improved talent at defensive tackle, our thought is that Jackson will be a little more free to wreak havoc. At least that’s what we hope!

The Pick: Over

WSU quarterback sacks surrendered - Over / Under 25.5

Before looking forward, let’s look back. Here are the amounts of sacks that opposing defenses collected on WSU QBs over the past five full seasons: 29 (2016); 44 (2017); 13 (2018); 19 (2019); 31 (2021). As part-time blogger and noted grammar taskmaster Jeff Nusser is fond of saying, sacks are a quarterback-driven statistic. The staggering decrease between Luke Falk in 2017 (THROW THE GODDAMN BALL AWAY FFS!! - sorry, I had another 2017 night terror) and Gardner Minshew in 2018 provides solid evidence of that theory’s veracity. So, what kind of QB is Cam Ward? Does he scramble around and run into sacks like Russell Wilson, or does he go through his reads, move in the pocket and get the ball out like Aaron Rodgers? Time will tell, but there’s no question that in 2022’s case, the offensive line will be the team’s biggest liability. That doesn’t help!

The Pick: Over

Dean Janikowski field goal makes from 50+ yards - Over / Under 1.5

I know what you’re thinking, once again, “Hey dumbass, Janikowski was 1st-Team All-Conference in 2021. Of course he’ll get that!” Well, dear reader (singular is on purpose) let’s have a look at Janikowski’s first season in Pullman. While he was 14-17, 12 of those 14 makes came inside 40 yards. Between 40 and 49 yards, he was just 2-4, with a long of 41. He didn’t even try a kick from 50+! I bet that’s rare! The hope for us is that Dean-o tries far fewer kicks between 20 and 29 yards because WSU instead scores touchdowns from that close in, and that a full offseason in the strength and conditioning program has done that right leg some favors.

The Pick: Over (this is going against my gut)

Current Pac-12 Coaches who become Former Pac-12 Coaches by 2023 - Over / Under 2.5

It feels like that Pac-12 has been relatively stable in terms of hiring and firing coaches over the years, especially when compared to looney bins like the SEC. Beginning with the coaches at the helm in 2016, the conference has averaged a turnover of fewer than three positions per season. The highest turnover occurred prior to 2018, when five of 12 jobs changed hands. So who could be spending his last year in the conference?

  • Justin Wilcox: Wilcox hasn’t done much of anything at Cal, but leveraged Oregon’s interest into a new $28.5 million contract. And given Cal’s frugal ways, there’s no way he’s getting the axe.
  • Chip Kelly: While Kelly got a contract extension, it seems like that marriage isn’t exactly a model of stability, and UCLA may be looking for a fresh face when it makes its 4-8 B1G debut.
  • Karl Dorrell: Things are going rather poorly in Boulder, in case you hadn’t heard. The only thing in Dorrell’s favor is that Colorado would owe him $8 million if he’s shown the door, and like most Pac-12 schools, it would take some very creative accounting to come up with that cash.
  • David Shaw: Shaw makes a ton of money. Stanford has been bad-to-awful for multiple seasons. Nobody on The Farm seems to care.
  • Herm Edwards: How has this not happened already? When will the NCAA hammer come down? How much kompromat does Herm have on Michael Crow?

The only other distant possibilities for turnover are Kyle Whittingham retiring, Dan Lanning getting an SEC job (PLEASE GOD THAT WOULD BE HILARIOUS), and Kalen DeBoer realizing that the color purple makes him as sick as it does the rest of us.

The Pick: Under

A Pac-12 team will make the CFP - Yes +LOL / No -Eleventy Billion

Utah is pretty good. USC is overrated. Oregon is talented nearly everywhere but also has Bo Nix. The conference’s only legitimate hope is, as always, a Jimmy Lake(less) Washington team. While the Huskies have three Heisman candidates at quarterback alone, I just can’t pull the trigger.

The Pick: Really?

Ted Robinson mispronunciations of Cougar names - Over / Under all of them

If you offered me $10 million to guess Ted’s age within five years, I’d have felt very safe throwing something like 78 out there. Turns out he’s only 65! You’d never know it, given the fact that he kept saying “Gardner Minshaw” well into 2018. And I’m pretty sure he had a different pronunciation of “Borghi” for every season Max was at WSU. So while the Pac-12 Networks may go the way of his fellow dinosaurs pretty soon, old Ted will be somewhere, extolling the virtues of Renard Ball and head coach Jack Decker. Oh, and dear lord, if you’re really up there, a time will come when Ted has to flail his way through Djouvensky Schlenbaker. I would pay to hear this.

The Pick: Over

Pac-12 Season Totals

Ok, time to get serious. And by “serious” I mean it’s that segment of the article where we do 30 seconds of research instead of 15. Now that the prelims are over, it’s time to forecast the season totals for each conference team. We had a rather Husky-like 5-7 card in 2021, so this year can’t be a lot worse. Can it?

All odds are courtesy of DraftKings, which is obviously the best place to get your odds and place a bet or six. Hell, they aren’t called DraftPaupers are they?!

Washington State Cougars: 5.5 (Over +105 / Under -125)

Nearly every place you look will have WSU’s total at 5.5, with the juice on the under. We’d love to take the value play here, but no freaking way. The only time we’ve missed on this pick was 2019, so we’re still on a heater with the Cougs.

“Hey dumbass, you’ve been wrong about WSU in five of the last six seasons.”

Exactly! We take the Under and the Cougs win more games! The only time that didn’t happen, WSU still went bowling despite a horrific defense. So yeah, we ain’t stopping now.

If the 2022 Cougs were a song...

The Pick: Under

California Golden Bears: 5.5 (Over -120 / Under +100)

Cal has a schedule that is ripe for a fast start, as only a game at the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is almost a certain loss. Even with that, a 5-1 start is not outside the realm of possible. Bet then things get...dicey. Dicey as Aaron “pants on fire” Rodgers’ bowels in hour two of a post-ayahuasca hit. That said, Stanford is still there toward the end of the season, and Cal is often a tricky team to read. But yeah, that offense will still probably stink. Operation Fade Cal rolls on.

The Pick: Under

Oregon Ducks: 8.5 (Over -135 / Under +115)

Ok, we know Oregon is losing the opener. And it has a very real chance of losing to Utah in November. Outside of that, are there really two more losses on that schedule? Yes, I know that they have a yawning gap at quarterback. And yes, they lose a top five NFL Draft pick. But they’ve recruited rather well of late, and the talent is there to advance to the Pac-12 Title game without a big sweat.

If the 2022 Ducks were a song...

The Pick: Over

Oregon State Beavers: 6.5 (Over +115 / Under -135)

This is the year for the Beavs! They finally ended the bowl drought in 2021, and have a solid defense and running game returning. That said, the quarterback is still a limiting factor. Oh, and have you seen that opening run of games? While they can start 3-2 and be ok, there’s also a real chance that they start 1-4, and whatever optimism Beaver Believers had will be long gone. The guess here is that there is, once again, no such thing as offseason momentum.

If the 2022 Beavers were a song...

The Pick: Under

Stanford Cardinal: 4.5 (Over +110 / Under -130)

Hoo boy. We’ve written in this space for a few years now that the mighty Trees are a shell of their former selves, as David Shaw hasn’t been able to maintain the program identity that he and Jim Harbaugh built and maintained for nearly a decade. Even so, seeing such a low total on Stanford is jarring. On the plus side, the Cardinal do have a quarterback who is well regarded, especially in NFL circles. They also have, um, really searching here, a good medical school? But seriously, if this were almost anywhere else, David Shaw would be collecting his buyout while coaching defensive backs for the Chargers or something.

If the 2022 Cardinal were a song...

The Pick: Under (this is our shakiest pick, because something tells us Stanford will be better than advertised)

Washington Huskies: 7.5 (Over +130 / Under +110)

This is probably the easiest play in the history of the Gamble-Tron series. I mean, have you seen that schedule?! Washington will be favored in at least 9-10 games (Oregon and maybe UCLA excepted), and was far better than its 4-8 record in 2021 would indicate. Now that the boil in the head coaching position has been lanced, the Don James 2.0 era is on the way back.

If the 2022 Huskies were a song...

The Pick: Over (LOCK OF THE CENTURY OF THE YEAR)

Arizona Wildcats: 2.5 (Over -145 / Under +125)

After a year in which the Wildcats were the third worst team in their own state, things are looking up in 2022, as Jedd Fisch reeled in a good recruiting class and WSU transfer Jayden de Laura will start at quarterback. Then again, are the getting better? And even if the Wildcats are vastly improved, an opening salvo of the San Diego State Aztecs and Mississippi State Bulldogs may make it seem like the Cats are in for more of the same. Hell, even their FCS matchup is gonna be a dogfight, as North Dakota State visits.

The guess here is that they’ll somehow prevail in one of those three, then beat two of Cal, Colorado, ASU and/or (gulp) WSU. The best possible scenario would be to watch de Laura semi-plant another flag in the middle of Husky Stadium.

If the 2022 Wildcats were a song...

The Pick: Over

Arizona State Sun Devils: 6 (Over +105 / Under -125)

While Arizona may be bringing a lot of young talent, the opposite is happening in Tempe, as the rats are jumping from the sinking ship as fast as humanly possible. The Herm Edwards career arc at ASU has been hilarious, particularly for those of us who play the long game. The people who mocked his hiring, only to reverse course and self-flagellate when things started to turn around, probably should have stuck with our theory that any success Herm had was little more than a dead cat bounce.

So now, amid a recruiting scandal that somehow hasn’t led to his ouster, along with seemingly 80% of the roster departing, ASU still has a win total of 6? Not buyin’ it.

If the 2022 Sun Devils were a song...

The Pick: Under

Colorado Buffaloes: 3 (Over +115 / Under -135)

A team bereft of talent? With Karl Dorrell(llllllll) at the helm? And a nonconference schedule consisting of TCU, Air Force and Minnesota? You could put the juice at -200 and it wouldn’t change my mind.

If the 2022 Buffs were a song...

The Pick: Under (#2 Lock of the Century of the Year)

UCLA Bruins: 8.5 (Over -105 / Under -115)

Big hat tip to Charles Kelly and the leadership in the athletic department, as they managed to schedule two nonconference games against teams from Alabama, with neither of those teams being the Crimson Tide or Auburn Tigers. A rare feat indeed! But seriously that’s embarrassing.

The Bruins lost their share of skill players, but return the quarterback and star running back. And did I mention that their schedule is a joke? They may be favored in at least nine games, and they face only one stiff road test in Eugene. If Kelly doesn’t get nine wins out of these guys, he should be fired. For real. Then again, once UCLA finds itself going 5-7 every year in the Big Ten, I guess it can comfort itself in the fact that it gets to fly charter after all those Ls.

If the 2022 Bruins were a song...(Ok this is more applicable for 2024 but we’re sticking with it)

The Pick: Over

USC Trojans: 9.5 (Over +100 / Under -120)

Like Chris Rock once said, I’m tired. Tired tired tired of picking these clowns to win 10+ games, only to watch them go 5-7. I know, they finally fired Clay Helton and brought in a proven conference champ in Lincoln Riley. And yeah, they have star transfers such as Caleb Williams and Jordan Addison. But there are three games the Trojans will likely be 50/50 at best to win, and we are all aware of how many USC seasons have died in Corvallis. The guess here is that they beat one of Utah, UCLA and Notre Dame, but somehow kick away a game they’re supposed to win. That might even happen more than once.

If the 2022 Trojans were a song...

The Pick: Under

Utah Utes: 9 (Over -125 / Under +105)

Let’s see. The total is 9, and there may be two games all season in which Utah is an underdog (it’s currently a short favorite in the week one game at the Florida Gators). The Utes might, might be a slight dog at UCLA (where they’ve won three straight), and who knows what the lineups will look like when they venture into Eugene in late November?

Even though it lost some top end production in the form of guys like Britain Covey and Devin Lloyd, Utah has a solid quarterback, a solid running back, good tight ends, and what will certainly be a good set of linemen returning. Tough to see the Utes losing four games. Then again, it was tough to see them frittering away five different double-digit leads in the Rose Bowl. And yet...

If the 2022 Utes were a song:

The Pick: Over

Other Quick-Hitter totals from around the country

Air Force Falcons: 8.5 (Over -140 / Under +120)

The mighty Falcons are one of the few teams that will likely be favored in every game this season. That’s all we need to hear.

The Pick: Over

Alabama Crimson Tide: 10.5 (Over -300 / Under +235)

That juice would have to get to at least 500 before I thought twice.

The Pick: Over

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: 3.5 (Over +125 / Under -145)

Looking forward to Ga Tech introducing its new head coach Deion Sanders about six months from now.

The Pick: Under

Indiana Hoosiers: 4 (Over -120 / Under +100)

Even money on IU winning three or fewer? You don’t have to convince me.

The Pick: Under

Kansas Jayhawks: 2.5 (Over -135 / Under + 115)

A Kansas total of more than 1? Juiced to the Over? And 98% of the DraftKings handle is on the Jayhawks getting three or more wins? I FEEL LIKE I’M TAKING CRAZY PILLS!

The Pick: Under

Michigan Wolverines: 9.5 (Over -125 / Under +105)

Reeeeeally hard to find more than two losses on that slate.

The Pick: Over

Mississippi State Bulldogs: 6.5 (Over -125 / Under +145)

Will Rogers might throw for 6,000 yards, but man, that schedule is Run DMC-level tricky.

The Pick: Under

Nevada Wolfpack: 4.5 (Over +110 / Under -130)

This is an absolute guaranteed winner. Nevada lost a ton of people (to include a couple studs now at WSU), and former Coug assistant Ken Wilson has some serious rebuilding to do.

The Pick: Under

Ohio State Buckeyes: 10.5 (Over -270 / Under +215)

Do yourself a favor. Instead of paying such a huge vig on this total, along with Alabama’s, parlay both and get something closer to -150 or better. There is now way either of these teams is losing more than a game apiece.

The Pick: Over

Vanderbilt Commodores: 2.5 (Over +100 / Under -120)

ANCHOR THE F*** DOWN

The Pick: Over

So that does it for our preview edition. Happy gambling, and as always:

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.

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