Handicapping the Pac 12


Handicapping the Pac 12

Last week I outlined some general strategies for handicapping the SEC and the Big 10. I'm continuing that series today with a look at the Pac 12 to get you ready for Thursday Night's California-Oregon game on ESPN...and a busy weekend across the conference as a whole.

I characterized the SEC conference as a power and speed league...the closest thing you have to the NFL at the college level. The Big 10 was more of a "beef" league...with size ruling the day rather than speed as a general rule. Sure, you have some fast players in the Big 10...but the depth of speed and high impact football just isn't there in the same way.

The Pac 12 is a unique bird. It's very much a "finesse" league that often devolves into arena football. Even though a lot of the players are big on the weight scale...they don't play to their weight in football terms. I'm not sure if the West coast lifestyle is more laid back...or reaching 300 pounds by eating Wisconsin beef makes you stronger than getting to 300 pounds on sprouts and tofu. But...it's just not that hard to push around Pac 12 defenses no matter how big the defensive linemen are. And, Pac 12 offenses have trouble pushing people around even if the blockers are huge.

Maybe it's best to call the Pac 12 a "schematic" league. Coaches try to spread opposing defenses out...then work toward the openings. It generally works very well...so you have a lot of shootouts where both offenses put points on the board. USC beating Arizona 48-41 last week fit the mold to a tee, even if that was a bit extreme.

So, how do you handicap within a league like this? Here are some thoughts:

  • Reward the extremes. If a team DOES play strong defense, bet them as a dog or small favorite. If a team DOES run the ball well in power formations, ask them to cover some spreads for you. If two extreme offenses get together, bet the Over. If two of the weaker offenses get together, bet the Under (there never seems to be enough offense across the whole league in any given year...and the laggards get left behind).
  • Pay attention to travel. This league has more travel than any other major conference because it's historically been spread out from the Canadian border to the Mexican border. This past year it headed East into Mountain country with the additions of Colorado and Utah. Bet against jet lagged teams. Starting this year, bet against tired teams who have to play on the road at altitude in the second half of the season. If the style is run-and-gun arena football...whoever gets tired first is going to lose.
  • Look for depth to thrive in the final month of the season. This brand of play wears teams out over 12 weeks of action. There are usually 1-2 Pac 10 teams each season who play well for the first couple of months before running out of gas. Vegas never sees these teams until it's too late, so you need to take advantage. Start looking at fourth quarter play in October to see who might wear down in November. The early signs of eventual fatigue are about to show themselves.

Here's the Pac 12 schedule for the week:

California at Oregon on ESPN

Arizona State at Utah
Colorado at Stanford
Arizona at Oregon State
Washington State at UCLA

Southern Cal has a bye this week because they play Cal next Thursday Night on ESPN. Washington has a bye this week after a 4-1 start overall that sees them 2-0 in Pac 12 play.

You regulars know that I can't get specific about certain games or teams here in my web articles. I have to protect my plays for my clients. I can tell you that I have a Thursday Night MoneyMaker up right now at the website that features my top release this evening. It's either in Cal-Oregon or Western Kentucky-Middle Tennessee. You'll have to sign up to find out! The cost for this bankroll builder is just $25.

I also have great rates for the rest of the season. If you have any questions about which program best suits your individual needs, call my handicapping office at 1-877-766-8946.

I'm off to a great start in 2011...and THE KING OF LAS VEGAS is just getting warmed up! I hope you join me each and every day this weekend for the very best in football and baseball analysis. The only handicapper with a star on the Vegas "Walk of Fame" is just a few clicks away!


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