Good morning! And Happy Mother’s Day to all Coug moms out there! Hopefully you’re reading this while waiting for your first or sixth mimosa at brunch!
And dads/kids (of the appropriate age, of course), there’s also good news for you. While y’all are sitting at your brunch table as mom is holding a mimosa in one hand and a Bloody Mary in the other, trying to figure out why you got her a bowling ball for Mother’s Day, you can be getting in on some sweet Pac-12 football season total action!
How so? Well, our friends at Draft Kings came out with the first set of odds for Pac-12 season totals this week, and we’re here to give you an initial look. I’d link it here but they aren’t paying me for this one, so no soup for Draft Kings!
Since the folks who set the odds almost always bring in a lot more scratch than they give out, you’ll probably look at every total and think, “Dan, that’s right where I’d peg that team’s number of wins! For anyone who needs an introduction or refresher, the numbers you see after a team’s over/under are based on a $100 bet. So if you see -120, that means that you have to bet $120 to win $100. That’s colloquially known as the vig, or “juice.” A minus sign next to the number also means that the odds-makers want you to pay more to make that bet. If you see +110, for example, that means that a $100 bet will win you $110.
One thing I noticed as I went through this process, holy cow is September 9th a big inter-conference day for the Pac-12! Among the games:
- Wisconsin at WSU
- Arizona at Mississippi State
- Oklahoma State at Arizona State
- Auburn at Cal
- Utah at Baylor
- Oregon at Texas Tech
- Nebraska at Colorado
- UCLA at San Diego State
So that’s three games against the Big 12, two against the SEC and two against the Big Ten. Yowza.
References to returning production are courtesy of ESPN’s Bill Connelly, and may not be totally accurate due to more transfer buffoonery.
Finally, as always, setting a team’s total at a whole number is a crime against humanity and I strenuously object.
Washington State Cougars: 6.5 (Over -120 / Under Even)
Before we get to 2023, let’s skip ahead to 2024! As I was peeking ahead a bit, I noticed that WSU has noon-conference dates with San Diego State in ‘24 and ‘25. Methinks the Cougs will have to look elsewhere to fill those non-conference slots.
Anyway, as far as next season, it looks an awful lot like last season, with WSU facing long odds to beat the teams at the top, and good odds to beat the dregs. It’s not likely they start anything better than 2-1 (Wisconsin shouldn’t be nearly as lousy this time around). The next two games might tell the tale, as WSU hosts Oregon State and goes to UCLA after an off week. Down the stretch is when WSU has a chance to get past the total, as it faces ASU, Stanford, Cal and Colorado in successive weeks. The Cougs need to be at seven wins by then, because the inevitable 48-17 Apple Cup loss looms afterward.
Early Lean: Over
Arizona Wildcats: 5 (Over -120 / Under Even)
The Wildcats would seem to be a team on the rise, having dramatically improved in 2022 and welcoming a solid recruiting class. However, they also lost some significant talent to the transfer portal, bring back just 42% production from a trash heap of a defense, and somehow didn’t part ways with their apology note-writing, knucklehead of a quarterback.
Early Lean: Under
Arizona State Sun Devils: 5 (Over +120 / Under -140)
While Colorado is running away with the roster turnover title, ASU is holding its own, which makes this a tricky team to forecast in its debut season under new, possibly pre-teen coach Kenny Dillingham. Like the Wildcats, ASU returns a paucity of production (109th-most in the country), and faces a tricky early season schedule. If we give them the benefit of the doubt against Fresno, Cal and Colorado, that gets them to four wins with tossups against WSU and Arizona. I have doubts.
Early Lean: Under
Cal Bears: 4.5 (Over +140 / Under -120)
Boy, rough time in the Bay Area for Justin Wilcox, as well as Jon Wilner’s candle-lit Wilcox basement shrine. Cal does return a decent amount of production, but the rub is that the producers weren’t very good! Cal has an interesting opener, as it heads to Denton, Texas to face the Mean Green, followed by a visit from...Auburn? Even if the Bears get past North Texas and Idaho, I have a hard time seeing three conference wins.
Early Lean: Under (oh boy, that’s three in a row!)
Colorado Buffaloes: 3 (Over -105 / Under -115)
See, Vegas people don’t know everything. A smart book would have the over at -150 or so, in order to rake in the vig. I mean...(courtesy of Yahoo)
Of all the bets on who will win the College Football Playoff, 8.1% are on Colorado. That ranks sixth, behind just Michigan, Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia and LSU. All of the first five teams have won national titles recently or came very close. Colorado has been to just three bowl games in the last 15 seasons and didn’t win any of them.
Further proof that a fool and his money are soon parted. How will the Deion Sanders experiment end? I have no idea. How will it not end? With a bowl game in 2023, let alone a national championship. But if you’re out there itching to lay down some cash on the Buffs to win it all, hit me up. I’ll gladly handle your cash.
The Buffs open with TCU and Nebraska. Can they get one of those? Maybe. They’ll beat Colorado State, but then the adventure begins. Needless to say, I don’t think Colorado will run through the Pac-12 enroute to the CFP, so I’ll just take the side that requires less juice.
Early Lean: Over
Oregon Ducks: 9.5 (Over Even / Under -120)
Oregon did suffer some attrition, especially on defense, but returns a solid quarterback and additional skill players. And the schedule sets up nicely, with a solid chance to start 5-0 before an off week. The path gets more perilous after that, as three of the next five games come against Washington, Utah and USC. Oregon should get at least one of those, so we’ll go for the value.
Early Lean: Over
Oregon State Beavers: 8 (Over -135 / Under +115)
The Beavs may be the most mysterious team in the league, as they bring back one of the Pac-12’s best running backs, and pair him with Clemson transfer/heretofore bust DJ Uiagalelei. There’s no question that Jonathan Smith has raised the bar significantly in Corvallis, but OSU lost a lot on the offensive line and secondary. OSU can definitely get to eight. But nine? That’s gonna be tough, so I’ll take the value once again.
Early Lean: Under
Stanford Cardinal: 3 (Over +100 / Under -120)
The Cardinal have been a solid money-maker for us, as the odds-makers overrated David Shaw’s teams for several years when anyone who looked a bit deeper saw serious flaws. But three games? 3??!! In a season that includes games against Hawaii, Sacramento State, Arizona, Colorado and Cal? This is a true rebuild on The Farm, and it seems like Stanford is, for the moment anyway, revisiting the Buddy Teevens era. If you’re a Stanford fan, that ain’t good.
Early Lean: Ahh hell, we’ll nudge over
UCLA Bruins: 8.5 (Over +110 / Under -130)
For the first time since 1996, Dorian Thompson-Robinson will not be behind center in Westwood. But at least he went out on a high note with that trash talk-infested gack-job in the Sun Bowl. Anyway, this year’s qb competition seems rather wide open, with a longtime backup (Garbers), G5 transfer (Schlee) and top flight recruit (Dante Moore) competing for the job. The odds-makers don’t seem as high on the Bruins as I am. You’re telling me that they can’t get to nine with a schedule that includes Coastal Carolina, something called NC Central, Colorado, San Diego State, WSU, Arizona, ASU, Cal and Stanford?
Early Lean: Over
USC Trojans: 9.5 (Over -155!!! / Under +135)
Great Odin’s Raven that is a lot of juice on the over! Especially with a schedule that includes Notre Dame, Washington, Oregon, Utah and UCLA. For years, I overrated USC, constantly picking them to exceed the inflated total, only to watch them stink. I finally changed course in 2022, so of course they won double digits. Even though Alex Grinch has proven himself to be a really bad defensive coordinator, there’s just too much talent on offense to see three losses, as USC should be no worse than 8-1 headed into its final three games. But goddamn that vig.
Early Lean: Over
Utah Utes: 8.5 (Over +125 / Under -145)
Any objective Utah fan - if one exists - will tell you that the late part of the Utes’ 2022 season contained a lot of incredible fortune. Utah needed a series of breaks to even find itself in the Pac-12 championship game (most notably a monumental Oregon choke job, which happened), then found itself in a hole to USC until Caleb Williams’ hamstring went through the wood chipper. Reality, in the form of Penn State, sent Utah crashing back to earth in the Rose Bowl, and Cam Rising’s knee crashed as well.
Of course this is the year that Utah is finally off WSU’s schedule, since it won’t be as potent as it has been in the last few seasons. Anyway, that juice on the under is almost as bad as USC’s over, and yet, it’s tempting! Utah returns a lot of production (16th-most), but that includes Cam Rising, whose rehab status is far from certain. The Utes will beat a bad Florida team, but that trip to Waco is much more perilous. The schedule also includes trips to USC and Washington, along with a home date against Oregon. Yeesh
Early Lean: Under
Washington Huskies: 9 (Over Even / Under -120)
I always boost Washington’s total for parody and jinx purposes, but that’s not the case here. In all seriousness, if Washington doesn’t exceed nine wins with all these returnees, this season is an abject failure. All we hear about is how Washington is the odds-on favorite to at least play for the conference title. Sure there are holes, particularly in the secondary, the offense is strong enough to win any shootout. If Washington isn’t 8-0 going in to the game at USC, something has gone wrong.
For real, this is the easiest money on the board.
Early Lean: Over
So there you have it, real honest to goodness college football talk in May! Before you know it, we’ll know the game times and telecast networks for the first few weeks, then we’ll have media day, and training camp will be ready to start. Let’s football!
Things were going so well! WSU struck first, and second, taking a 3-0 lead. Then everything went to hell and Cal scored two touchdowns, along with two 2-point conversions. Remember those 45 seconds when the Cougs were in the Top 25? Feels like 10 years ago.
This Week in Parenting
In keeping with the Mother’s Day theme, the mighty Dolphins football team staged a spring scrimmage for player moms on Friday, and Mrs. Kendall wasn’t about to miss it. The kiddo has been moved to outside linebacker at the moment, which seems more appropriate for him. Afterward, the players gave the moms a rose and card. The real winning moment came when the family got Chipotle afterward.
Before practice began the kiddo needed some new shoes, since his feet grow faster than crabgrass. When he came home, I thought I’d check out the new kicks, and my worst fears came true.
Yep, the 14 year-old’s new size 12 cleats fit the old man perfectly. This is fine. On the bright side, I can buy him shoes that I like and just wear them whenever I want! Then again, he’ll probably be wearing a size 14 by fall, which will mean another $150 donation to Dick’s Sporting Goods. Oy.
Last weekend, the 11 year-old and I were watching the Mariners when we noticed Julio Rodriguez’s rather garish red glove. The kiddo looked it up online and said, “Whoa. Julio had to pay $400 for that glove!” It was time for a little lesson in capitalism and sponsorship. No, son, you and I have to pay $400 for that glove. Whoever makes that thing pays Julio to use it.
As far as youth baseball, it was a mixed bag for the Rockies. The first game of the week came down to the last inning, but unfortunately our first baseman let an easy grounder go right between his legs, enabling the Dodgers to score the tying run before we reached the time limit, so it ended in a 1-1 final. Not a loss!
Before the game, at the behest of his son, one of the other team parents brought a wireless speaker to play some walkup music. I told the 11 year-old that we were going to play some Barry Manilow as he got set to bat. You know, something to get him really fired up. He was less amused than I was.
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