2019 Pac-12 championship odds, picks: A wide open race leads to plenty of possibilities
A healthy Khalil Tate is enough to at least give the Wildcats a long, hard look
Our deep dive into conference title odds rolls on this week to the Pac-12, a league known for wide-open races in recent years. Keeping in that spirit, the 2019 Pac-12 championship odds have plenty of interesting options on which to place your bets. FanDuel released the early odds for this year's championship and two favorites -- Oregon and Washington -- are tied at the top. Another four teams have 10-1 odds or better. So, yeah, the Pac-12 race could once again be anyone's game.
Let's take a look at the full slate of odds before we move on to the picks.
Best bet -- Arizona (10-1): Utah is the safer bet (see below), but the Wildcats have something (someone) the Utes don't: quarterback Khalil Tate. If you're going to take a flier on a team based on a player, Tate is a damn good one -- when he's healthy. And that's the catch. He was hampered by an ankle injury last season and simply wasn't the same guy from 2017. It didn't help that Arizona's offense put Tate in a square peg-round hole situation, but ultimately, both issues sort of fed into each other. As a senior, Tate has one more chance to recreate the magic from a couple of years ago.
Taking the Cats is indeed a risky move and the schedule is tough. Arizona gets both Washington and Oregon out of the Pac-12 North but gets Utah at home on Nov. 23. Still, when you start glancing over teams with potentially big returns, Arizona has a lot of upside since its most dynamic player, and perhaps the most entertaining player in the conference, has the ball on every offensive play.
Worst wager -- Stanford (30-1): Taking the Cardinal, on paper, may not seem like the worst idea if you're feeling frisky. After all, coach David Shaw is one of college football's best and led this program to at least nine wins in each of the past five seasons. That's good enough to at least be in the conversation for the Pac-12 North title (and the North has won all but one conference title game). However, Stanford has a lot of question marks outside of quarterback K.J. Costello. Namely, can it get back to running the ball when it was so poor in run blocking a year ago? And can the defense finally get back to its more punishing days? This team is 30-1 for a reason, but given how treacherous the first half of the season looks to be, I'd steer clear of any lingering temptation to pick the Cardinal.
Personal pick -- Utah (5-1): Oregon and Washington are, understandably, the favorites for a reason. You could pick your flavor since they have the same odds. However, Utah has an overall easier road to the Pac-12 title game. The Utes also have an experienced and underrated quarterback/running back tandem in Tyler Huntley and Zack Moss coming back. Injuries cut their seasons short a year ago and Utah still won nine games while earning a spot in the conference title game. And some key pieces on both sides of the ball are coming back. This team could low-key have some playoff buzz entering November.
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