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Pac-12 Football Odds and Picks: The Gamble-Tron, Week Three

Be careful when you see that bait!

Deckhand Monty Truitt reaches over the edge of a boat to grab a crab trap while guiding a fishing and crabbing tour with Randy’s Fishing in Monterey, California, on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017. Photo by Gabrielle Lurie/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Good day! And welcome to Week Three! for many school, including your Washington State Cougars, this is the final week to iron out the wrinkles before conference play begins. But there’s another adage that applies to our Cougs this week, the old trap game. WSU is coming off a marquee win, both for the school and the conference, last week at Wisconsin. Next week is the conference opener, at home, against one of the Pac-12 favorites in Oregon.

All that stands between the two is poor ol’ Colorado State, who can’t seem to get out of its own way. The Cougs are riding high, while the Rams have been little more than oversized road kill this season, having lost badly to the Michigan Wolverines on the road to open 2022. That’s understandable. But, uh, what happened next is not, as the Rams opened their home schedule in rather ignominious fashion, as Middle Tennessee went to Fort Collins and laid the smack down.

So, this week will be little more than cruise control for the Cougs, right? RIGHT??!! Maybe! Other schools who need to beware of the snare are Oklahoma (for opponent reasons), Texas (emotional game last week, G5 team this week), and Pitt (overtime loss last week, traveling to a G5 team this week who won this game in 2021), and Appalachian State (HUGE win last week, now facing Troy). Let’s be careful not to run into Admiral Akbar out there!

We wrote last week about the possible overreaction lines, and our hopes to take advantage. In true Gamble-Tron fashion, we didn’t. So, what were some of the annual first week plaudits that turned out to be fool’s gold? Let’s see.

  • Florida may contend in the SEC East! (nope)
  • Notre Dame is pretty good, despite the loss. (nope)
  • Arizona should be getting more respect! (nope)
  • Wisconsin is unbeatable at home and anyone who goes to Camp Randall and wins should be considered as a CFP contender! (ok that’s accurate)

Last Week: 6-6

Season Total: 24-16

Best Call of the Weekend

To the Twitter machine!

You know who didn’t need receivers? BYU DIDN’T NEED THEM (ok it did get a huge game from a guy who stepped in). You know what BYU does need? A kicker! But all’s well that ends well, and the second-rate Cougs came through to get me to .500 for the weekend.

Worst Call of the Weekend

Arizona Wildcats (+10.5)

This is a compelling matchup. Too bad it doesn’t start until 10:00 p.m. EDT! Mike Leach recruited Jayden de Laura to WSU but then left for Mississippi State and now takes on the aforementioned de Laura who went to WSU anyway for two seasons but is now at Arizona. Got all that? College football 2022, everyone! We liked what we saw out of the Cats last week, and we can’t resist taking double-digits plus that hook.

So, uh, de Laura didn’t look quite as good when the competition improved. He barely completed 50% of his passes, averaged under 4.9 YPA and threw three picks. Oh, and there was this.


Gut Punch of the Weekend

Fresno State (PK) over Oregon State

We really had co-champions this week, but we’ll go with the last-second loss. This will be remembered - by the 34 people who watched the end - for OSU’s last-play touchdown. But what it should be remembered for is Fresno’s kicker missing two field goals (one from 34 yards) and an extra point. Think any one of those going through would have changed things just a tad??!! Despite that, Fresno held a three-point lead with 70 seconds to go. The defense just had to stop one last OSU possession. Said possession didn’t even feature a 3rd down before the Beavs punched it in to win the game. Back pats all around, Bulldog defense.

All odds courtesy of our fine sponsors at DraftKings.

Colorado State Rams at Washington State Cougars (-16.5)

Fair amount of alarm bells ringing if you’re a Cougar fan. Coming back home after an emotional road win. Playing a bad team that is easy to overlook, especially with Oregon coming next (aka the old letdown/lookahead sandwich). Injuries on defense. Lackluster offensive production. But here’s the thing, if the offense doesn’t break out this weekend, there will be serious doubts as we head into the conference schedule. The call here is that the offense will pick up its share of the slack.

The Pick: Cougs

South Alabama Jaguars at UCLA Bruins (-15.5)

What an odd line, as UCLA closes out its tour of nonconference games against Alabama schools, none of whom are Alabama or Auburn. This line seems as curious as the Washington one. I mean, shouldn’t UCLA be favored by a lot more? I’d have guessed this line would be around 21. Seems to be another “somebody knows something” situation, and in what will surely be a disastrous flip, I’m running to the smell.

The Pick: U-S-A! U-S-A!

California Golden Bears at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-12)

Justin Wilcox is pretty good as an underdog (23-9 ATS with 13 outright wins). Notre Dame just lost its starting quarterback, and he wasn’t any good. Can’t imagine how it’ll go with the backup!

The Pick: Cal

BYU Cougars at Oregon Ducks (-3.5)

The most intriguing conference game of the weekend takes place in Eugene, where the Ducks took out their post-UGa beatdown frustrations on EWU, and now get a visit from 2-0 BYU. That BYU beat every Pac-12 team it faced in 2021, and had an impressive win over Baylor last Saturday. Classic lookahead game for the Ducks, because they’re surely preoccupied with the pending visit to Pullman. Man I wish this line was 3. Man I wish I had more faith in Bo Nix. The thought here is that the Oregon defense carries the day.

The Pick: Ducks

Colorado Buffaloes at Minnesota Golden Gophers (-27)

Colorado played a road game last week (which it lost badly) and heads back out this weekend to face a Minnesota team which poleaxed the Buffs 30-0 last season, In Boulder. I can’t believe I’m considering a bet where I lay nearly four full touchdowns on Captain Snake Oil, but here I go. That’s how bad it’s gotten under Karl Dorrell

The Pick: Gophers

Michigan State Spartans at Washington Huskies (-3)

Let’s see here, the 11th-ranked team from the Big Ten is facing a previously 4-8 Huskies team from the reeling Pac-12, and...the Huskies are favored? By a full field goal? This is the classic, “somebody knows something” game, and I’m siding with that somebody. Plus, Michigan State lost two key defensive players for the season in its opener. Yikes.

The Pick: Washington

San Diego State Aztecs at Utah Utes (-21)

I can’t be certain, but I get the feeling that the Utes were rather angry after their tough loss in Gainesville. Poor Southern Utah had to bear the brunt, as actual Utah hung 73 on the board. Now come the Aztecs, who got boatraced by Arizona and then beat Idaho State. The guess here is that the Utes are still on the rampage, especially since they’ll also be looking for payback after a 2021 loss in San Diego.

The Pick: Utah

Fresno State Bulldogs at USC Trojans (-12)

Tough spot for Fresno, as it poured a lot into the game last weekend, only to lose on the final snap. Meanwhile, USC continues to live off of a monumentally explosive offense and opportunistic defense, which has helped generate more than 50 points off of turnovers. One of those things feels a lot more sustainable than the other. I really don’t want to pick this game!

The Pick: Fresno / Over 74

Eastern Michigan Eagles at Arizona State Sun Devils (-20)

There was a year or two there where Eastern Michigan was actually...decent? That seems long gone. There was also a time when some folks thought Herm Edwards was a clear upgrade from Todd Graham. As we learned in Varsity Blues, things change. So, which things have changed more? Well, despite the talent exodus, we’d say that ASU is at least three touchdowns better than EMU.

The Pick: Devils

Way Too Many For the Road

New Mexico State Aggies at Wisconsin Badgers (-37)

Wisconsin is pissed off. New Mexico State is terrible. Not a great combo if you’re the Aggies.

The Pick: Badgers

South Carolina Gamecocks team total (Over / Under 14.5)

In case you weren’t tracking, Georgia’s defense is still pretty good! And in case you didn’t know, Spencer Rattler is South Carolina’s quarterback. That’s all we need to see.

The Pick: Under

UL-Monroe at Alabama Crimson Tide (-49.5)

Monroe, it ain’t personal. It’s business. Thos poor Bama players had their most murderous week of practice in months, and they’re ready to get rid of some serious frustration. You just happen to be in the way.

The Pick: Tide

Miami Hurricanes at Texas A&M Aggies (Total = 44.5)

Opened at 49, and has dropped a full 4.5! We don’t care. STILL TOO MANY POINTS.

The Pick: Under

Air Force Team Total (O/U 30.5)

The Falcons are rolling, and we’ve been on them every week. No reason to stop now.

The Pick: Over

Troy Trojans at Appalachian State Mountaineers (-13)

Like I mentioned, this could be a letdown spot for App St. Normally, yes. But this week? As the toast of the sport? With College GameDay on Campus? Not happening.

The Pick: Boone

Nevada Wolf Pack at Iowa Hawkeyes (-23)


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

Staff Picks