2008 Pac-10 Conference Odds
Doc Rivers as usual fouled up Game 3 by underusing Leon Powe (despite throttling Black Mamba here), so we’re not discussing the NBA today. Let’s move back to the pigskin.
Thanks to VegasWatch, we now have our Pac-10 championship odds.
Well, that certainly isn’t terribly surprising. 2007 was a flux year for college football–USC was at its most vulnerable, Cal, ASU and Oregon all fielded pretty decent teams (well, how good the Sun Devils really were was debatable) and had the lead at various points of the season. Guess who stood at the end?
Now it’s 2008, and most of Cal and Oregon’s offensive weapons are gone, and ASU will probably hit the sophomore slump. And USC is returning pretty much its entire defensive unit. So it’s no surprise that the Trojans are overwhelming favorites to repeat this year, with only Ohio State and their own complacency standing between them and a national championship berth. At worst it seems like a Rose Bowl berth is in their future–the Trojans have lost four conference games the past two years and have still been sent to Pasadena as a consolation prize. It doesn’t hurt that three of the four biggest contenders in the Pac-10 (ASU, Cal, Oregon) will be coming to the Coliseum either.
If the Trojans somehow do stumble, then who’s left? Arizona State is the team with the second-best odds, but it’s hard to see the Sun Devils recapturing the same magic of last year. Texas, Oregon and USC had only one strategy last fall–annihilate Rudy Carpenter. I’d be really wary of laying any money on them.
Oregon at +600 is interesting because Dixon and Stewart are both gone, so there’s clearly something either the books or the public is liking here. I’d be hardpressed to see Oregon go away because Justin Roper showed strong signs in the Sun Bowl and Jeremiah Johnson was a capable backup. However their schedule is brutal at the most critical time of the year, with four road games (including trips to Los Angeles, Berkeley and Tempe) coming in six weeks.
UCLA at +800 is wishful thinking. I don’t know why they’re up here with 37 year old Ben Olson starting for them. Their defense will be as good as ever, but this is Norm Chow/Slick Rick inflation. The Bruins are at least a year away, although they might have the best chance of anyone to upset $C.
As for Cal…well…let’s put aside the optimism, the hopeless homerism we all wade in. How much of a chance does Cal have to win the Pac-10 title? 8:1 odds sounds about right? A little high? A little low?
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