Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:52 AM
Pac-12 Week 14 Best Bets, Odds, Predictions
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It's still only midway through the week, but we are on track to have all the Pac-12 games played this weekend, even if it means a Sunday date for Washington State and USC.
Thanks to Oregon inexplicably losing 41-38 at Oregon State, the Trojans are now left to carry the torch in all likelihood for the Pac-12 conference in any national title discussion.
Chances were slim to begin with that the Pac-12 gets any serious consideration on that level, but now with Oregon's loss, the Conference Championship is likely all that's attainable for any Pac-12 program.
Week 14 Pac-12 Schedule
Saturday, Dec. 5
- Stanford at Washington (FOX, 4:00 p.m. ET)
- Oregon at California (ESPN, 7:00 p.m. ET)
- Colorado at Arizona (FS1, 7:00 p.m. ET)
- Oregon State at Utah (ESPN, 10:30 p.m. ET)
- UCLA at Arizona State (10:30 p.m. ET)
Sunday, Dec. 6
- Washington State at USC (FS1, 7:30 p.m. ET)
That's still the first goal for every one of these programs when they begin any season though, and with Oregon dropping a game already, those rivals in the North Division can see a much clearer path to potentially get to that game.
You've got to take care of what's immediately on your plate first though, and some in the Pac-12 will be more enthused about that than others.
Pac-12 Odds - Week 14
- Stanford at Washington (-11.5, 51)
- Oregon (-10, 58) at California
- Colorado (-7, 59) at Arizona
- Oregon State at Utah (-10.5, 51.5)
- UCLA at Arizona State (-3, 55)
- Washington State at USC (-13.5, 66)
Subject to Change
On to the picks:
Pac-12 Best Bets - Week 14
The oddities in 2020 never seem to stop in sports these days, as somehow the Washington Huskies get to play their fourth straight home game to open up the shortened year, and are looking for their fourth straight win at the same time. Oregon's loss gives the Huskies claim to top spot in that North Division right now, and Washington is heavily favored to win this game and remain undefeated once again.
The problem there is that Washington's opponent next week just happens to be those Oregon Ducks, in Oregon I may add, for Washington's first road game of the season.
Hard not to at least be peaking at that game throughout this week if you're the Huskies knowing what lies on the other side of a victory in that game. They've still got to get to that point first though and Washington's shown more cracks in their game than a team who's smallest point spread this year was -9 a week ago.
The Huskies needed a huge comeback against Utah last week going down 21-0 at the half before ultimately winning 24-21. That came after a blowout win over Arizona where the Wildcats could do nothing against Washington until garbage time, but as -13 home chalk vs Oregon State in the season opener, Washington never even sniffed covering that number.
Off one draining comeback and the biggest game of the year on deck, I only want to fade Washington in that role, as Stanford is a program that doesn't tend to lie down late in rough seasons under head coach David Shaw.
The Cardinal have covered each of the past three meetings with Washington – all as underdogs – including winning twice SU at home, and doing so as +13.5 chalk last year.
I'm not convinced Washington is really as good as a line like this suggests, even if Oregon State was likely underrated in that season opener. Stanford's held their own in a much tougher schedule so far, and with no common foes this year, I'm left to compare Stanford at this number vs Oregon State at +13.5 in the opener.
Three games later, I can see a lot of similarities between the Cardinal and the Beavers, and Washington's softer schedule has really skewed some of their defensive numbers – like 30.77% opponent 3rd down conversion percentage – to where spreads like this pop up. And yet even with strong stats like that, this Huskies team has still had trouble cashing ATS tickets.
That road date with Oregon next week casts a big shadow, one that's too strong for Washington to win in this type of expected manner. Stanford's offense does enough to make this another uncomfortable win for the Huskies, if it's even a SU win at all.
Arizona State -3
The Sun Devils have been off for a month after experiencing numerous COVID issues within their program, as they've all had to wait this long to get that bad taste from blowing the season opener against USC out of their mouths. Arizona State had control of that game until the Trojans scored two TD's in the final three minutes to win 28-27.
That's a long time to stew over suffering a defeat like that, and while rust is definitely a concern for a team being off that long – it's unheard of really – ASU can only make the most of what they've got left in this wild and wacky campaign, and I do believe they make the most of it.
There was a lot to like from the Sun Devils for the first 55 minutes of that USC game, but since so much has gone on in college football since then, it's hard to get that recall working properly when handicapping this team.
Again, the long layoff could have guys going the other way and mailing in these final games to look forward to next year, but if it's up to Herm Edwards, he won't allow many of his guys to go that route.
This was supposed to be a building block year for the Sun Devils as it was, why not try to make the most of these final contests in games that are very winnable for ASU.
UCLA was a team that I believed were in a good spot last week, and while the 27-10 win over Arizona was a SU and ATS victory for the Bruins, it was far from easy from a spread standpoint. The Bruins are a work in progress themselves, and with three straight ATS covers the past three weeks, UCLA has taken some major steps forward as a program in limited action this year.
But I can't imagine that studying one single game film of a team is really all that effective if you're UCLA, because that opponent knows that's all you've got and can work off of that and all the formations/sets you see in that film any which way they'd like.
That really puts the Bruins at a disadvantage defensively in my view, and offensively, even if the Bruins go with the “stick to what we do best” approach, Arizona State's has likely spent ample time pouring over the multiple films the Bruins have put out in playing four games this year.
And then there is the showdown with USC on tap next week for UCLA, technically a home game for the Bruins.
Beating USC and potentially spoiling an undefeated year for the Trojans would really be the feather in UCLA's cap this year.
Tough to look past anyone when you're the listed underdog, but internally, UCLA knows where they stand in terms of the growth progress they expected to see from their team this year and they are probably happy with what's happened. But that brass ring to reach for would be beating USC next week.
That's the game I'm expecting UCLA to peak for, whereas Arizona State has to be excited and aiming to peak now as they simply return to the field. The home side has won each of the last four meetings between these two by at least a FG, and that trend should continue here.