Trojans, Ducks, Tide Top NCAA Football Win Totals
Powerhouses Southern Cal, Oregon and Alabama each have an over/under regular-season wins total of 10.5 at Bovada for the upcoming season, more than any other school - but it's the Trojans the book fears most among that trio.
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Something obviously has to give among USC and Oregon as they face off Nov. 3 in Los Angeles (and then likely again at the home stadium of whichever team wins that meeting in the Pac-12 Championship Game). Barring injury, Southern Cal should be favored in every regular-season game in 2012, while the Ducks are likely to only be dogs in that first USC meeting.
Both teams play 12 regular-season games and the wins prop doesn't include any conference championship game or a bowl. So obviously the loser of the Nov. 3 meeting couldn't afford another defeat to stay over the 10.5 number.
Bettors are leaning heavily on USC at -130 on the over. Southern Cal, led by Heisman favorite Matt Barkley, also is getting big action on playing in any BCS bowl, but the book isn't overly exposed because USC has short -450 odds there. That is by far the shortest odds of any school to play in a major bowl game.
The Ducks, who have to replace star running back LaMichael James and QB Darron Thomas, among others, are taking fairly even action on the over (-125) and under (-105). Oregon has won 12 games overall each of the past two seasons but actually was under that 10.5 number last year because two of the Ducks' 12 wins were postseason games. The Ducks are at -165 to play in a BCS bowl again and +135 to miss out.
As for Alabama, the Tide have won at least 11 regular-season games in three of the past four seasons on the way to two national titles. Their lean has been on the over, with both options at -115. Alabama is at -165 to play in any BCS bowl and the book is very exposed there. The Tide's chances of winning the SEC and automatically qualifying for any BCS bowl improved in most bettors' eyes with the dismissal of LSU star cornerback Tyrann Mathieu from the team.
The Tigers actually were voted No. 1 in the nation, with Alabama No. 2 in the preseason USA Today Coaches' Poll. But that vote was taken before Mathieu was booted. In the recently unveiled AP Poll, LSU is at No. 3 behind No. 1 USC and No. 2 Bama. The Tigers also had a wins total of 10.5 with Mathieu, but that's now down to 10. LSU still has shorter odds than Alabama of playing in any BCS bowl at -230. It helps LSU's cause that it hosts Alabama during the regular season.
The book is also exposed on the over wins for Penn State (5.5 at -130), Boise State (9.5 at -160), South Florida (7.5 at -165) and Oklahoma State (8.5 at -115). The Nittany Lions haven't finished under that total since 2004, but then again no school has ever undergone what PSU has with the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Plus Penn State lost its best player, running back Silas Redd, to USC. Boise State, meanwhile, has exceeded that 9.5 number easily in each of the past four seasons but those Broncos had Kellen Moore. College football's all-time winningest quarterback is now trying to make the roster of the Detroit Lions.
Schools other than Alabama the book is exposed on the any BCS bowl prop are Texas (yes at +175), Michigan (no at +115), Florida (yes at +600) and Clemson (yes at +225).
The defending ACC champion Tigers played in their first BCS bowl a season ago and it was a 70-33 embarrassment vs. West Virginia in the Orange Bowl. Last season also was the first time that the ACC got two teams in BCS bowls as Virginia Tech was an at-large pick for the Sugar Bowl, losing to Michigan. The only BCS conference yet to have two schools in major bowls in the same season is the Big East. That's highly unlikely to change in 2012.
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